We are walking through a busy Camden High road, too wrapped up in each other to notice the people funneling around the chugger so it is we find ourselves face to face with the garroulous scottish one.
"You ever heard of Battersea Dogs Home?"
"Are you english?"
I am english. Its just sometimes that when people ask me direct yes no questions i alternate my answers. Its fun to see how long it takes people to cotton on that i'm playing with them. never thought i'd get the chance to do it with a chugger but it might be usefull to bear it mind in future.
"Then i'm sorry but i can't ask you for money"
"I can only take account details from people resident here?"
Better stop this now before he gets to playing the yes no game with me. But what a great discovery.
Weeks latter I'm in a pub watching the football and relating this tale to one of the bar staff. he is well impressed but finds it a little dubious. Money is money. His australian assistant confirms this. It has happened to her too. Suddenly we are engaged with the thought of developing two armies of anti-chuggers. The yes no army that plays them along and sees how far they can go and the phoney foreign accent army who wish to spend less time with them.
Can we recruit you?
For me the biggest word that comes out of the social model is responsibility. We all need to be responsible for change. In what ways can we be responsible? This is for you to answer for yourself but one way I do it is to chat with chuggers. A chugger is someone who collects for charity out on the street. The word is a composite of charity and mugger. I think it works well. The more time you spend talking to them the less they collect. The less they collect the less they work, the less they work the more likely they are likely to end up doing unpaid work at Tesco’s.
Some are really happy to talk to you. Some think the more they talk to you the more likely they are to persuade you to drop the cash. Some are very cocky. Happy to spread the bullshit round – either that or believes in the product. These are the best to talk to. They collect nothing for the time and seconds spread to minutes, to half hours and longer. It’s a good thing to do and represents a strong test for your tolerance levels which incidentally is not included in the all work test.
The chat I had with this next chugger found someone barely forthcoming. She was standing on the corner by a local supermarket. She had this kind of clown, harlequin outfit on. I happened to have a digital camera in my pocket. I had specifically started carrying it for encounters with chuggers.
This was the chat:
“I think you are really colourful. Can I take your photo?”
“Thank you Sir”
“Who are you chugging for?”
“Disabled Children and Older People”
“Families for Survival UK”
“Do you support people in the UK?”
“Yes and in other countries”
“Well I think you look great. Do you think it helps to chug if you dress up as something ridiculous?”
“I don’t know”.
I found her answer to be very funny. I wonder if anyone else knows.
The first in a series called Chatting To A Chugger http://detrich.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/chatting-to-a-chugger/
The second can be found here: http://detrich.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/chatting-to-a-chugger-2/
I’m sure i have another one somewhere – maybe our conversation was too complex for me. I did mean to write it though!