You know that feeling as you walk down the street. You see them from a distance in their matching t-shirts (or rain coats). Gesticulating for your attention. Trying to catch your eye. Jumping out in front of you (so much so yesterday I thought one old man was going to have a heart attack on the spot). You quicken your pace, look away, prepare the ‘I’m sorry, no time’ comment to avoid getting collared.
I’ve employed a few tactics before – ‘I’m sorry I work for charity’, ‘I’m already giving to a few charities’.
Until you see one of them mocking the mum on her phone. Until you realise they are actually scaring a couple of people with their enthusiasm/aggression.
And then I want them to stop me. I try to make eye contact. I want the see how they try and sell it to me.
But most of all as they ask me to sign up “It’s only 3 euro a month – you won’t notice it” I want to ask “and do you give to what you’re asking me to give to?”
I suspect not…
But I’d be happy to be proved wrong.
And it occurs to me that it would perhaps serve that famous charity whose founder walked these streets of Dublin to employ people who already support their work, who believe in their cause. At least then they would ask with credibility. They would communicate with passion and belief . They would demonstrate the values of that famous charity to those they meet.
Instead somehow the chuggers stir up in me the very opposite of charity…