An unexpected couple of weeks

              Sayonara Mother Fuckers!

Jaysus, it's been bloody ages since I last posted on this site. To make a long story short the ads featured on this blog are no longer assessable because the dastardly bastards known as Google have cut me off from their precious Adsense. Basically I was on vacation for two weeks and was banned for "neglecting to produce any Shit-Hot posts". Ah well, ads or not this blog will continue to stay alive and prosper without the watchful eye of those Google commies. I will also attempt to post a topic everyday without the intent of making money.

        Chugging on the streets of Dublin

Let me make it perfectly clear that the term "Chugger" does not mean (in my case) someone who throws back a large quantity of alcohol to impress a crowd of drunken idiots. A chugger is actually a combination of a charity collector and a mugger. Whatever city you are in, you are nearly 99% likely of being stopped by a street fundraiser who will attempt to butter you up for the purpose of taking your bank details. Usually I would totally ignore them and briskly walk away thinking of how irritating and pathetic these people are. I have always considered these guys as scammers and actors who pry on vulnerable people and milk them of their hard earned cash. Not once have I tried to place myself inside a chugger's shoes and grasp what they actually go through... That was until I put my dignity to the side and became a full time charity fundraiser in Dublin.

Up until three weeks ago I have been desperately looking for a summer job. I handed out over 60 CVs and have applied for a countless number of positions across the web. Anyway, one morning while browsing I stumbled upon a fundraising job and out of sheer curiosity I ventured forth and opened the page. In the description it outlined that I would be working five days a week with a minimum wage of €350 + commission. Very much intrigued by the prospect of earning this much I filled in the application and was contacted for an interview the very next day.

During my interview I was led into a spacious conference room with around eight other candidates. A woman then asked us to describe the person to our left and talk about a charity of our choice. This was a basic strategy to reveal what kind of people we were and to see if we had the necessary social and persuasion credentials to fit the bill. I thought I did dreadful during the interview, but as fate disclosed I got the job. 

My first day seemed to go swimmingly. I used the training I learned in my induction to try and convince people that this particular charity was worth every cent of their money. For the most effective way of stopping someone you have to catch their eye at a distance and approach them using a ridiculously amount of energy and affection. We were advised to talk to people like they were our best friend and then use an informative, yet devious dialogue to render their heart strings. If the particular person showed even the slightest bit of concern or interest we had to put our acting skills to the test and persuade them fork over their bank account details. Usually you have to make three sales a day but since it was my first day on the job one sign up kept them happy.

At first I didn't really mind flagging people down and I kept myself entertained by coming up with all sorts of  things to get folks to stop and talk. One was introducing myself as Sarah; another was asking random girls to marry me and the most effective way was by mistaking people as celebrities. The majority of people who actually did stop were really nice and even if they weren't interested in donating anything they would talk to me about their lives and plans for the day. Those who didn't stop just completely ignored me and some even went to the extent of telling me to go fuck myself. I didn't take any negativity to heart though as I can completely understand how annoying it could be for someone who just wanted to walk down a street without being pounced upon.

After a couple of days on the streets I finally began to grasp the true meaning of what it was really like to be a chugger. I started to get annoyed with our "don't take no for an answer" policy. If a person stated that they didn't have their account details in their possession we were to follow them to their banks to retrieve an account statement.  If their bank was closed we had to ask the individual if they would ring someone who knew their payment details. If that wasn't conniving enough, we were instructed not to tell the donor that they would be signing up to a five year contract. A donation of 12 to 21 euros a month for five years would surely be a serious toll on anyone, especially in the economic mess Ireland is in at the moment.

Street fundraising is also a very unstable and stressful job, especially for someone who has to support a family or pay college fees. In the charity I was working for we had to get at least three sign-ups a day or else we would get the sack. There were guys in black suits monitoring us from time to time and if we didn't look motivated or up to scratch then they would approach us and tell us to go home indefinitely. After just one week of chugging, six out of the eight new people got fired. It was just me and one other dude left. One poor lad actually came all the way in just to be told to go home. We were later told that he was caught handing a CV into some store in town. I knew in my heart that my time was nigh and that any day now someone would catch me off guard and fire me on the spot. When I began to seriously think about this possibility I have to admit that I wasn't worried in the slightest. I was fed up with hassling people who were trying to go about their day and was sick of eating my lunch sitting on the edge of a dirty street. Yesterday morning I rang the head office explaining that this job wasn't for me. They didn't even ask for an explanation and coolly responded that I have to return any mandates and t-shirts that belonged to the company.

I will be seriously glad to leave that job behind me once and for all. If I learned anything from my short time working as a chugger it would be that a business is a business and a charity is a charity. Combining the two only gives a good cause a bad reputation.