Thursday, 5 August 2010

Stalking for Charity

Before I start, let me point out that I am most definitely in favour of charity giving. I have regular donations to charities that are particularly close to my heart (the British Heart Foundation, for example) and always sponsor friends in their various charity activities. Why anyone would choose to run the marathon is beyond me, but you've got to admire their dedication. 

However, what I am not in favour of is being stalked down the high street usually by young 20-somethings, sporting a branded t-shirt and a clipboard. You'll notice that they hunt in packs, with some targeting people walking one way, and the rest targeting those going in the opposite direction. This means, of course, that if you need to come back on yourself, you're likely to be harassed twice, instead of just once. 

I understand that everyone has a job to do and that this is being done in a good cause. But the simple fact is, I can't support every charity in existence and making a bee-line for me on the street is not going to embarrass me into signing up. I either already support the charity, or have decided not to. No one is convincing me mid-shop. Of course, some clipboard sporters are perfectly pleasant when I say I am not interested (I do not try to avoid eye contact and hurry past them in an attempt to avoid a conversation - although I've been told that this approach does also work). What I find more irritating is rudeness. Some recent comebacks have included:

"Everyone can spare £2 a month - even you"
"You look like you can afford to give to charity"
"You'll regret this"

Quite frankly, shouting at me is not going to induce me to sign up. I'm sure it makes the clipboard gang feel better, but, if anything, it gives me a worse impression of the charity. 

There is hardly a high street that I've been to recently that hasn't featured one charity or another recruiting for new members. So, I can only assume that this strategy must be successful - otherwise it wouldn't still be going. But I won't be handing over my details anytime soon.

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