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Got Chugged?
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Got Chugged?

I have a really important question for you: do you know where the Congo is? Well there's a war happening there right now..

Insert glazed-over expression here.

No I'm not writing about the war in the Congo. I am however writing about charity salespeople or 'chuggers': a portmanteau of the words charity and mugger. I don't know about you, but I'm quite sick of going about my day, supermarket shopping, paying bills, or trying to get to uni and there's someone shaking my hand, asking how old I am and running off their spiel whilst shaking a picture of some country at me.

Usually I'm pretty good at saying 'no thanks' and walking on, but they're becoming resistant to this. Also the 'I'm busy on the phone' and 'I'm in the middle of having a conversation with my friend' don't work either. Trying to avoid them no longer works because they are simply everywhere.

Don't get me wrong I do donate to charity, but the ones I am familiar with. I choose when to give them money depending on my budget and financial situation. I also don't believe in giving these people a commission of any donation I choose to give. Also giving out bank or credit card details is never a good idea, and as these charities that employ salespeople are looking for a monthly commitment of donations, these are the details they're paid to get.

Now as this young guy was telling me about how they needed help to set up refugee camps because of the war I was left thinking 'why should I support this?'. To me, it sounded like he was asking me to send my money overseas to pick up the pieces because some idiots decided to fight and therefore drive people out of their country. To be honest, I just got pissed off and I felt like asking him if he'd been to the Congo and if he donated too. I needed something more personal than his sales pitch.

So the question I've been asking is how to get them to leave you alone after you've said no, without feeling guilty and looking like a bitch. Here's my top pick of suggestions I found:

- Tell them you have already made your charity donations this year. Maybe they will have a place on that list next year. It's nice, clear and you look like a good person.

-Tel them you really believe in their cause and when you die from cancer, suicide or some other confronting predicament, you shall leave your entire estate to them. Or better yet, mention your Aunt Maude is 'on her way out' and you'll let her know about their cause too.

-Declare that you're against emotional blackmail and that you refuse to support charities that employ such methods. A nice slap in the face when they get too pushy.

-Offer them a goat. Everyone wants a goat.

-Explain you would be glad to support them, but you need to run all donations past your accountant first. This gets a great reaction after you've just told them you're a uni student..

Since my run in with the chugger I have looked at the UNHCR website and done some research about what it is they do. Perhaps it's because I live in Australia, a comfortable and much desired home, that I do not think well towards other countries in need. In fact I tend to believe that countries should fix their own problems, and if they can't look after their own people, well perhaps they shouldn't have them. It's a harsh view but honest. You just can't fix everything.

Now online, you can make a minimum ten dollar one-off donation to UNHCR. For World Vision, you can donate at least two dollars once or a yearly, quarterly, half yearly or monthly donation of at least ten dollars. For UNICEF, you can make a one-off donation for any amount or a monthly minimum of ten dollars.

For me, having that information and being aware is much better than being guilted into committing to something long term which I have no idea about. This goes double for the guy who was 'educating' me, having no idea either. If you want my money make it personal, if you want my support make me aware. Do not however harass me when I'm on my way to pay my phone bill.

Street Talk

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