7 Reasons That Chugging Doesn’t Work On Me
Chugging: I hate it. Being chugged is a loathsome experience and I can’t help thinking ill of chuggers either. And their chuggery-pokery just doesn’t work on me. Here’s why.
1. It’s Always Me. Anyone who claims that they are always targeted by chuggers might come across as somewhat paranoid or persecutional. But, the fact is, that I am always targeted by chuggers. Literally, every last damned one of them will see me coming and try to stop me on the street. Other people seem to be able to walk along the street unmolested. My wife, for example, rarely gets stopped, but I can’t walk down a busy shopping street without having to fight off swarms (no idea what the collective noun for chuggers is. A horde? A phalanx? A menace?) of them. Do I have a kind face? Do I look gullible? Do I look like Danny Wallace? No, none of those things (well perhaps the second) but, despite this, Saturday afternoon shopping for me is like running the gauntlet, but with fewer Romans, and more laminated id cards on lanyards.
2. Time. The assumption that my time isn’t important is infuriating. They’re trying to steal my time. And I like time. I don’t have enough of it already, so I’m very protective of the time that I have. If I’m wandering around town with some friends looking relaxed and happy, then that’s because it’s time I’ve set aside for wandering around town with my friends looking relaxed and happy. It’s not an indicator that my time would be better spent talking to a chugger about cancer for ten minutes before we both agree that it’s probably a bad thing and I give them all my money via direct debit over the next five years. Nor is it an indicator that I’m not doing anything important. I am. The assumption that I’ve nothing better to do than talk (or, as they prefer; listen, nod and agree) with someone I don’t know about a cause that they’re interested in is just arrogant.
3. The Guilt-Trip. A woman signing people up to an environmental charity once said to me, as I rushed past her on the way to meet my wife for lunch, “Don’t you care about the environment?”. This was brilliant. I could reply “no”, and appear to be a borderline sociopath who cared not one whit about something fundamental to human existence, or I could reply “yes”, and leave myself open to her pitch. Because that’s what she wanted. She wanted use my innate sense of social responsibility and congenital niceness to trap me into a dialogue with her. I had to think on my feet. “Don’t you care about my wife?”, I replied. This worked. She just gazed at me, perplexed, which allowed me to continue my journey*. But why should I be made to feel guilty just because my agenda is different and I don’t want to stop and sign up to her cause?
4. Politeness. I’m a well-brought-up young man. And chugging attempts to ruthlessly exploit that to deprive me of time and money. I was raised to be nice to people. To stop and listen to them when they are talking to me and certainly not to ignore someone and walk away when they’re addressing me. But chugging forces me to do that. This makes me feel like a bad person. Not as bad as Hitler, obviously, but not as good as I would like to think I am, which is sort of a happy medium between Mother Theresa and the Pope. And by a happy medium, I don’t mean Derek Ocorah, he seems like a right misery. I hate having to interrupt people in order to go about my business. It makes me feel awful.
5. Passion. There’s no doubt that many chuggers are passionate about the causes they are trying to sign people up to. But that doesn’t mean that I’m passionate about that cause. And that doesn’t make me a bad person. If I don’t want to sign up to a lifetime of Red Cross junk mail, email or any other form of spam that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about medicine or disaster relief. What it does mean is that perhaps my money and time (both of which are finite resources) go to other – equally worthy – causes that I prefer. What I shouldn’t have to do is justify that decision to a stranger every time I go into town to buy some light bulbs or a new wok.**
6. It’s Cynical. Chuggers are earning money to sign people up to their causes. They’re not being paid commission, this is a myth. But no one would get paid a wage if they weren’t effectively raising money for the causes that they represent. So while they’re attempting to make me feel guilty for not signing up to (which they tend not to recognise is a wholly different thing to not caring about) their causes, they’re profiting from the transaction. Their attempts to sign me up aren’t wholly altruistic yet they’re represented as being so. It causes me to wonder whether they genuinely believe in what they’re trying to sign me up to, or whether they’re cynically attempting to exploit me to hit a performance target.
7. It Taints My View Of The Charity. In fact, it makes me think uncharitable thoughts about charitable causes. I love Amnesty International, I think it’s a brilliant organisation, but will they be getting any money from me? No. Because I’m the sort of person who won’t support organisations whose practices I disagree with. I’m not saying I definitely would have donated money to AI had they not attempted to sign me up twelve times one Wednesday afternoon (which, ironically, may be an infringement of my human rights), but I certainly won’t be doing so now. I won’t be signing up to any morally reprehensible pro-oppression organisations to spite Amnesty though, that would be taking things too far, and the WI seem to be getting on fine without my help, but Amnesty have insured that they won’t be getting any of my money. Their chugging has been counter-productive.
*I could have substituted any phrase for “my wife” as long as I’d answered the question with a question. It’s foolproof. “The Gruffalo”, “Mathematical Biology”, “my underpants”,”The Moon”,”Cheryl Cole”. All of those would have worked equally well and would have allowed me to make my escape. Try it yourself.
**Which is not very often, I don’t go through an abnormal amount of woks. I go through a regular amount of woks.