Saturday 20 January 2018

Curbing chuggers is good news but cold-callers may soon be bigger pest

Take a walk. Take a hike. Run along. Get lost. There are a million ways to travel by foot through the naked city. Before leaving the house, however, the prudent urban pedestrian must prepare him or herself like a foot-solider going into battle. The pavements and shopping precincts of the modern metropolis abound with pitfalls, booby-traps and nefarious foes. One of the most unpleasant aggressors in this theatre of combat is the chugger - or charity mugger.

For many years, it has appeared as if the right of the individual citizen to stroll down the street, unimpeded and unharassed, has been usurped by the asserted right of pushy 'charity workers' to conduct what amount to shakedowns, often including demands for bank details. Consequently, even the most easy-going ambler must adhere to a mental checklist of chugger-dodging manoeuvres.

Maintaining a brisk and purposeful pace? Check. Avoiding eye-contact with clipboard-wielders? Check. Keeping your phone handy in case you need to fake an important call? Check. When all else fails, and it invariably does, there is no option but to fight fire with fire. Chuggers are brass-necked loudmouths and the only language most of them seem to understand is the bluntly colloquial. Take a walk. Take a hike. Run along. Get lost.

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