We’ve all had it: you’re strutting down the street, minding your own beeswax, when a white man with dreadlocks and a tie-dye T-shirt jumps in front of your path, big grin plastered on his face, and proceeds to make you feel like an absolute bastard for not giving him any money. This is: the chugger, or charity mugger, and its job is to corner you and make you sign for things that probably don’t even exist, like sponsoring an endangered brachiosaurus or something. Thirty quid out your account every month, and all you get is a postcard.
Look, I’m not saying that giving to charity is bad – I definitely think you should do it – I just think you should do it on your own terms. When I’m on the street, I’m normally heading some place and I need to get there quickly because my time-management skills are dogshit, so I don’t need any distractions.
The people of Newcastle clearly share my disdain, because they have now introduced clearly marked boxes on the floor, outside of which the chuggers are not allowed to venture. So if you don’t fancy getting guilt-tripped into dropping a grand to ‘help the centipedes’ then you can just walk around them.
Of course, if you want to give some money to a ‘good’ cause, then all you have to do is enter the box – easy.
Additionally, they’re also only allowed to set up camp there two days a week, after complaints to the council from residents saying they felt like they were “running the gauntlet” through the city centre.
The full list of restrictions is as follows:
- Operate only within the two designated areas approximately 8ft by 3ft
- Only two agents at a time can operate in the site
- Fundraising is only allowed two days a week, Monday to Sunday,
- They can’t operate two days in a row
- Chugging can only be done between the hours of 10am and 4pm
- In December fundraising can only take place one day a week
- Only one organisation can fundraise per day on behalf of one charity
- Fundraisers must wear branded clothing
- Their clothing must be changed or covered during breaks or when they leave the site
Any chugger disobeying will be fined £100, which is coincidentally how much it is to protect a Venus flytrap every month.
Cabinet Member for Regulation, Coun Nick Kemp, said:
“Rather than banning it outright we have sought to take a proportionate response allowing fundraising in strictly designated areas and only on certain days.
“We believe this strikes the right balance and will put an end to the dark days when fundraisers would spread themselves out across Northumberland Street and accost people as they went about their daily business.
“We hope the public will agree with this approach while giving charities the chance to continue to raise money.”
So now you can hold onto your hard-earned cash and spend it on something really worthwhile, like one of those really cool belts that also has a bottle opener on it.