It’s not enough that we have to deal with them in the city; now charity muggers have started showing up in my local shopping centre on Centre Road. I encountered them yesterday on my day off — two of them were promoting the Fred Hollows Foundation.

Now, I think that the FHF is as worthy as any charity. And most of the other charities promoted by the chuggers are too. ACF, Amnesty et al.

But I’m sorry, I won’t deal with them. I won’t have my time wasted like that when I’m heading somewhere.

(I tried to politely say this to one of them, but I fear it came out a bit ranty. I think he thought I was a crazy old man.)

Thing is, chuggers are like spam. They don’t stop you dead in your tracks, but they do slow you down. They’re not scalable — the more of them there are, the more irritating they become. And yet someone must be signing up, otherwise they wouldn’t persist.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

18 replies on “Chuggers”

I’m afraid I am as short with chuggers as I am to telemarketers. I don’t slow down, look them in the eye and say “no thanks”.

If only there was a Do-Not-Call register for chuggers and people who invade my personal space.

I do like Vlado says: No eye contact, just keep walking. Then just smile as you go past, look at them and say ‘no thanks’.

Bonus if you have 4 kids hanging off you, like I sometimes do, then you can just talk over them “No (insert kid’s name), we don’t do that!” and keep walking :)

Yeah, I don’t get those people. I see loads of them here on the outskirts of the university. They mostly talk to students, who are almost guaranteed to have very little cash on hand…

I see you’ve been inspired by my earlier post, Daniel. Yes…I find such people to be annoying too. The religious ones irritate me the most – probably because I’m an atheist and it’s hard enough having religion in the world without it accosting you in the street as well.

Daniel, lucky you don’t live in North Melbourne, I think their training ground is Errol Street. The problem is, while you are trying to avoid them (head down, no eye contact) you inevitably fall over a begger who needs your spare change. So when you do finally see a friend you actually miss them becuase you are too busy avoiding all the people constantly asking for money. I’m like you, I only give to a charity of my choosing, when I am ready, not when I am in rush to go somewhere!

Alexio, a charity collector standing on a street corner trying to get you to donate.

John, ditto. Best strategy. Don’t let them waste your time.

Reuben, sorry, but no. I don’t recall your post. It should be obvious that I was inspired by being accosted twice yesterday. If I’m inspired by someone else’s blog post I invariably link back to it.

Astrid, I don’t frequent Errol St very often, but will be on my guard the next time I’m up there!

“I see you’ve been inspired by my earlier post, Daniel.” wtf?
Anyone else read ‘Reuben – Infant solipsism, a case study.’

I have found the best method for me to say “no” or “no thanks” to someone I don’t wish to speak to on the street is to use the Spanish gesture for “no thanks”. This is a pointed index finger waving back and forth with nothing said. This way I do not ingage in any unwanted conversation and no one will hear my American accent or even know if I speak English and understand what is being begged for. It makes it easy for me to be polite and just keep walking. This worked very well when I was in Paris where the beggars will follow and pester you for money. They really go for it when they think you are a rich, naive American with pockets full of money.

Oh Jed I so agree. In Florence my friend and I were bothered with kids literally tearing at us with their fingers begging. We found out later that the little buggers had lifted some cash from my friends pocket.

I love the idea of the wagging finger. Excellent and shall be employed the next time I see them. Yes, it really is bad, agreed Daniel. Quite annoying, even if for a good cause.

The only thing worse than a chugger is a Fitness First person in a tracksuit, or those people in shopping centre walkways like Melbourne Central trying to get you to sign up to a credit card. As mentioned previously, avoid all eye contact. I do feel for them, as they’re only trying to do a job, but there’s better jobs than that!

I love the ones who think it’s a GREAT idea to accost people on the concourse levels of Spencer St Station and Flagstaff …. at peak hour. How stupid can you be? One tried to stop me once and I think my expression said it all: “You’ve got to be effin’ kidding, right?” Funnily enough, that one didn’t persist for very long.

Thanks CHOPS,you are worse than a “charity mugger”.Just spent half an hour on google looking up “solipsism” and am still no wiser than when I started.

I was accosted by a chugger from Amnesty last month. She asked what I knew about Amnesty, and I outright lied to her and said “Enough to donate on a monthly basis”.

Before I knew what was happening, she actually hugged me, right there in the middle of the street.

I admire the idea that Amnesty has, in promoting human rights for all, but some of the things they come up with (i.e. their stance on the use of tasers by law enforcement personnel) are just plain silly. But I lied to a chugger in order to get her to go away and got a hug in return. Does this mean I’m going to burn in hell?

I know its annoying being stopped on your street when your trying to go about your business and yes there are to many in the major cities but get a life!!! Were lucky that “chuggers” are your worst problem!!!

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