Saturday, 18 June 2011

Passing by the Other Side, a Beginner's Guide

Summer's here and with summer comes the chugger (a portmanteau word derived from 'charity' and 'mugger' and one of the best neologisms of the last decade). It is possible your area is not effected by this modern phenomenon in which case you are bless├ęd indeed. For your information they are young people who approach you in the street on behalf of charity and are remarkably persistent. They're not volunteers and they're not employed by the charity in question. They work for agencies paid for by said charity and they are very irritating. They've spread to the telephone now. Just the other day I had a call from a well known national help and advice charity wanting a direct debit off me. So I am now in the position of being able to say that the Samaritans have called me wanting help.

The flesh and blood ones have calmed down a bit this year, or at least they have in this part of the world. Last summer it was impossible to make your way down Northumberland Street without being pursued by one or more of them. They would even approach you if you were sitting down and deep in conversation and you had to be distinctly rude to them to get them to go away which I dislike doing.

I did however find one foolproof method of getting shot of them. The theory was as follows. I was frequently approached while returning from a shop at the supermarket and at the top of my bag would be a loaf of their cheapest bread. On being approached I would invite the chugger to regard my somewhat scruffy attire, elderly shoes and finally the cheap dry bread and invite them to conclude that I do not have any disposable income to put to their convenience. Abashed and confused, I reckoned, they would fall away sadder but wiser chuggers.

That was the theory.

You see, I'd had a bad day and so when I was approached by an earnest young man my carefully worked out plan collapsed and instead of calmly taking him to task I whipped the loaf out of the bag and waved it at him while saying 'Cheap bread! Cheap bread!' in an urgent voice.

Well, it worked, I'll say that, but on the whole I'd rather not discuss the incident any more.

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