National Chugger Terror Day

We could have one I suppose. It happens less in Cork but holy fuck they’re everywhere in Dublin. I’ve noticed now that the slimey fuckers are doing the handshake thing to stop you. Clever trick. Mostly used by those African ladies in Gran Canaria to get hold of your hand so they can clamp a “friendship” bracelet on to your wrist and then demand a few quid off you for accepting their bracelet.

I mostly am polite and say “No thank you” but some of them are kind of aggressive. The chuggers I mean. I wonder what could be done to teach these people some manners?

So, how do you wreck a chugger’s day?

  • Give them time and not abuse?
  • Keep them talking for as long as possible so they don’t bother anyone else? Give them the wrong bank details?
  • Have multiple people over the day give them the same bank details so the bank will get iffy with them?
  • Follow them home and wait til they come out of their home and then get all pushy and aggressive with them trying to get their bank details? (In Michael Moore’s TV Nation show he started ringing the home number of the owner of a telesales company trying to tell him about the TV Nation show and he also set 10 car alarms off at 6am outside the house of a car alarm company CEO)

houston zoo
Photo owned by sirtrentalot (cc)

36 Responses to “National Chugger Terror Day”

  1. Adam says:

    I was offered a hug by a chugger the other day.

    Given that it’s going from polite request to talk to handshake to hug, logic dictates that they should be offering sex in return for “a moment of your time” within the next 12-18 months.

  2. TUG says:

    Is there day not already ruined considering the work they’re doing?

    Honestly, of all the part time jobs out there, it has to be one of the worst…

  3. Suzy says:

    Mobility Scooter versus Chugger – might start selling tickets to the next bout….

  4. 73man says:

    Particularly annoying when you return back up the same street ten minutes later. I usually just bark like a dog at them. You’ll never be bothered again… anyone.

  5. It’s the three in a row that annoy me … why the hell would I say yes to the last one when if told the first two that I’m not interested??? (Though they do seem to arrange them by attractiveness, from manky hippy upwards…)

  6. Tom Young says:

    I think this form of charity should be licenced and regulated. I wouldn’t do the work myself but I find it immensly annoying having these folks dotted about the streets. Additionally, the Vagrancy Act needs to be brought back into force. I heard a story recently of a beggar from Baggot St making 70 Euro an hour. Now, that’s exceptional money and tax free. The crowning glory of the story was that same said beggar is currently on vacation in Florida, no less.

  7. Emmet Ryan says:

    Wicklow St has the Chugger-Slalom, a true test of shopper’s will as you must weave the perfect line between at least three chuggers from the Grafton St end to Tower Records or vice versa. It requires timing to work out at a heartbeat’s notice when to make your move as chuggers target other victims and the speed to breeze past the chuggers before they can make any form of contact.

  8. @emmet the guys on Wicklow St are some of the worst in Dublin, but if it makes you feel better they have to stand all day in a street that smells of piss while looking in at BT and all the stuff rich people spend their money on rather thah giving to charity…

  9. TUG says:

    I’ve often found the rundown from the Central Bank to Merchant’s Arch to be hazardous enough, 3/4 on a bad day.

    What’s particularly annoying is when you have to cross the Liffey multiple times and find yourself on nodding terms by the end of the day!

  10. Conor Byrne says:

    Tom, you will be shocked to hear….it is regulated! My worst experience was when one of them said to me…under their breath…after I had made eye contact and said no thanks…”You should, it would make you feel good!”. Can you believe it….suffice to say I have never even considered donating to that charity since that day.

  11. Barry Hand says:

    Westmoreland St to Grafton St is like running the gauntlet

  12. Getting all serious for a minute if I may…
    …when you talk about wrecking a chuggers day you’re actually wrecking a charity’s day.

    Agreed, some of them are clearly over the top and probably out of line. If you want to teach them some manners complain directly to the charity and let them know that their representatives on earth are creating a bad impression. That should work.

    @ Tom Young – €70 an hour? So why don’t you give it a go then? As for the licencing and regualting – it’s already self-regulated by the participating charities and will fall under the soon-to-be charities legislation.

    Your best bet, if you don’t want to give, is just to say no or ignore them. If they’re too in your face or inappropriate complain to their supervisor or the charity they work for.

  13. Damien says:

    @Damian I understood that it’s one or two specialised “collection agencies” that do the chugging for various charities and these people on the streets arresting our attention and wallets are working for them? They get paid, the collection agency gets their cut and then the the remainder of the money ends up going to a “charity” who throw in all their own admin costs. Such as paying their directors 80-110k a year and giving them a BMW to drive.

    You might as well say that not paying your car tax is wrecking a charity’s day as somewhere down the line a charity gets some tiny help from the Government.

  14. Catherine says:

    They’re paid well enough, too – €13 an hour (Concern – who recruit directly via their website), which is well above the going rate for your run of the mill temp job. So that’s €104 per day per chugger – can they really be making that back in signups?

  15. @Damien Could you not find any more urban myths to throw in there 😉

    Chuggers fall into two categories – in house teams, such as Concern, who are employed directly by the charities; and agency teams. What you tend to find is that the agency chuggers are more in your face.

    The reason that charities use street fundraising is that it makes financial sense for them. And with agency teams, the risk is entirely with the agency – they commit to recruiting X number of new supporters at a cost of €Y. The charity pays a set fee and ends up with (typically) 500 new supporters on direct debit. I don’t know what the current rates are like, but the last time I looked it was around €150 per new supporter – it may sound expensive, but the return to the charity is likely to several times that.

    So yes, the chuggers are paid (feck all to be honest) and the agencies are making money. But the charities are getting a worthwhile return – otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it.

    As for admin costs, these vary from charity to charity, but typically fall between 5-10% (often for large, established charities, especially overseas ones) and 20-25%

    And what would you rather have – a chunk of money going on proper administration? Or no proper management, systems, oversight or accountability of often very large sums of money?

    Salaries vary widely – small charities wouldn’t pay particularly well, but some of the bigger ones would pay a decent salary to their staff – and so they should. €80-€110k for a CEO of a large charity wouldn’t be unusual – but when you consider the likes of Trocaire and Concern have turnovers in the €50-€80 million range, then it puts it in context. What would you expect a CEO of an equivalent sized commercial organisation to earn? Or what about a civil servant in charge of that sort of budget or that number of staff?

    And lets see if you can find me a (real and reputable) charity that gives it director a BMW to drive…

  16. @ Catherine – yes they can. Sign up rates vary, but I think anything between 2 and 4 sign-ups per day would be typical. Even at the lower end, that’s two donors giving probably €12+ per month. The key factor is their lifetime value – how long they’ll continue giving. If you take a (conservative) 2 year lifetime that’s €288 each or €576 total – a return of over 5:1

    And doesn’t take into account additional gifts or increased direct debits

  17. Damien says:

    So you mean I was right on everything except the BMW? Big difference to me including every urban myth and being wrong on just one point.

    I assume since you know I’m wrong you can list the car models that the directors of Amnesty Ireland, Concern, Trocaire, Bernados and all the rest drive? So what’s a real and reputable charity?

    Glad you brought up the ole nugget of equivalent pay scales for businesses and charities. You demand people give those “people” on the street leeway when they harass you because they’re a charity yet you then ask for equivalency when it comes to pay? Some are more equal than others…

  18. Conor Byrne says:

    @Damien…the remainder of the money ends up going to a “charity” who throw in all their own admin costs..

    Thats a bit unfair and a sweeping statement that isnt true Damien. Im not a fan of on street collections….and this is the reason why….they give charities a bad reputation. But to say that they make no return for a charity because all the money goes on admin just isnt true. Most fundraising has costs to it. People like to think that there shouldnt be costs associated with fundraising but there are.

  19. @Damien
    I have no idea what any directors of charities drive, but I can guarantee you no charity gives it’s director a BMW.

    A real and reputable charity? – fairly self explanatory, one that hasn’t just been set up as a con or scam

    I never argued for equivalency of pay, nor would I. My point was that, for instance, €80K a year for the CEO of a not for profit organisation turning over, say €50 million and employing 200-300 staff is an entirely fair and reasonable remuneration – probably too fair and reasonable if you ask me. If it was a commercial organisation, the CEO’s salary would be far, far higher.

    I know plenty of people working in the not-for-profit world who could quite easily double their salaries overnight if they decided to switch to the private sector.

  20. Alexia says:

    @Damian O’B You seem to know a lot about the chugging business. Have you or are you in any way associated with it agency-wise or on the charity side of it?

  21. Alexia says:

    And this only out of a matter of interest…

  22. @Alexia
    Sounds like a question on a US immigration form! 😉

    Actaully, I don’t like chugging as a technique (although I’ve seen the benefits it’s had for charities that use it) I’d probably be close to Conor’s views on it.

    I’ve never worked for a chugging agency in any way, but I have been involved on the charity side (peripherally).

    For the record and for full disclosure I do work in fundraising – I run a direct marketing / fundraising agency.

  23. Damien says:

    @Alexia er follow the link to his site. Damian is a decent guy who does decent work whom I’m respect (just in case people think I’m anti-Damian)

  24. Suzy says:

    The salaries of those running charitable organisations are not the things I worry about (given I work in the non profit sector myself I suppose you could say that I would say that! However I do agree that if I and others was in the private sector I would earn more and I have been offered more to move.)

    Fundraising however is a very different kettle of fish – the administration charge of those raising money for a non profit/charity needs to be transparent throughout the process. Also there must be more active regulation of the ways in which monies are collected and causes are advertised. The use of imagery/language re children and disabled people in particular would be something that I have issues with. (cf my posts on People in Need).

  25. Alexia says:

    @Damian O’B:

    Hehe.. no latex gloves, I promise. 🙂 Nah, I was just wondering since all the figures seem right.

    I’m a charity cynic to be honest. Militant chugging is probably the worst instantiation of charity work, giving volunteers working in their own time and neighbourhoods, a bad name.


    Yeah, I probably should have clicked through before commenting.

  26. roosta says:

    As far as the good Chuggers of Dublin are concerned I am constantly late for a bus.

  27. LizEMcG says:

    As Jimmy Carr once said “When it comes to charity a lot of people will stop at nothing”.

    We will be working with the Festina Lente foundation, I look forward to breaking down some views on charity support..

    Ps We will not be advising the use of chuggers! Can’t bear that method of fundraising…

  28. @Suzy – fully agree with you about transparency around fundraising, it’s absolutely vital for public trust and confidence.

    And the issue of imagery and language is also crucial – fundraising materials shouldn’t disempower (or worse, cause damage to) the very people they are intended to help.

    To be fair, a lot has been done in both these areas. More and more charities are publishing proper accounts and detailing fundraising and administration costs (although this is a more complicated area than it may seem at first glance) and the better charities are very particular about the use of images and language.

    Of course, what we really need is an Irish version of this crowd

  29. Tom Young says:

    @ Conor, thanks. I wasn’t aware it was regulated other than self-regulated.

    @ Damian, I won’t be trying it. I’d rather get a job in a bar or McDonalds (with the more obvious current language diffifulties than do that).

    In general terms, I know the expense of TV advertising, what chuggers get paid etc and frankly there are some grass roots charities like @ LizEMcG mentions which I would support.

    On an annual basis Trocaire boxes were sent in their original envelopes from our house back to the schools with an accompanying letter outlining the TV and advertising expenses which my parents had access too. I guess being born and living a period in Africa changes ones perspectives on charity as we know it and indeed certain ethnic groups from Africa.

    As for the Vagrancy Act, lets have it back please Dermo.


  30. Conor Byrne says:

    @Tom, sorry just to be clear you need permits for on street collections in that sense there is some regulation as to where and when and how charities collect funds

  31. @ Tom – I have a fair idea what Trócaire spend on their Lenten campaign – probably over €1 million in hard costs – but I also know how much they raise – typically €12 million plus. You might think it’s a lot to spend, but if they didn’t spend it, they wouldn’t raise the money. And that’s before you get to the educational role that a million and a half lenten boxes plays

  32. 73man says:

    I can vouch for Damian O’Brion’s charidee credentials. He is a thoroughly decent chap but spends far too long every day checking other Damiens’ websites.

  33. […] There have been some interesting exchanges on Damien Mulley’s Blog, the Intelligent Giving Blog and UK Fundraising recently about chugging that are worth […]

  34. Cian says:

    Here’s an idea: Ask them would they like to join your religion, start describing how your religion is great, and try to keep a straight face while you’re at it. And, of course, be very nice about it.

  35. James says:

    To all those people defending the chuggers by saying it is no big deal and just say “NO” you are missing the point. The point is that TAX and RATE PAYERS pay for these public ammenities and people should feel entitled to use them without being hassled constantly. Why should people feel intimidated that they have to cross the streets?

    The vagarancy laws should include anyone asking for money, and include charity workers. They are ruining the culture of the place and making it look like a street of beggars.

  36. Darren says:

    I believe chugging should be a capital offence. And yes, I would gladly push the button, flick the switch, pull the lever or push the syringe.