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Richard Downes - disability arts online
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Disability Arts Online

Chatting to A Chugger 3 - An Occasional Series / 21 February 2012

For me the biggest word that comes out of the social model is responsibility. We all need to be responsible for change. In what ways can we be responsible? This is for you to answer for yourself but one way I do it is to chat with chuggers. A chugger is someone who collects for charity out on the street. The word is a composite of charity and mugger. I think it works well. The more time you spend talking to them the less they collect. The less they collect the less they work, the less they work the more likely they are likely to end up doing unpaid work at Tesco’s.

Some are really happy to talk to you. Some think the more they talk to you the more likely they are to persuade you to drop the cash. Some are very cocky. Happy to spread the bullshit round – either that or believes in the product. These are the best to talk to. They collect nothing for the time and seconds spread to minutes, to half hours and longer. It’s a good thing to do and represents a strong test for your tolerance levels which incidentally is not included in the all work test.

The chat I had with this next chugger found someone barely forthcoming. She was standing on the corner by a local supermarket. She had this kind of clown, harlequin outfit on. I happened to have a digital camera in my pocket. I had specifically started carrying it for encounters with chuggers.

This was the chat:
“I think you are really colourful. Can I take your photo?”
“Thank you Sir”
“Who are you chugging for?”
“Disabled Children and Older People”
“Which organisation?”
“Families for Survival UK”
“Do you support people in the UK?”
“Yes and in other countries”
“Well I think you look great. Do you think it helps to chug if you dress up as something ridiculous?”
“I don’t know”.

 I found her answer to be very funny. I wonder if anyone else knows.

The first in a series called Chatting To A Chugger http://detrich.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/chatting-to-a-chugger/

The second can be found here: http://detrich.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/chatting-to-a-chugger-2/

I’m sure i have another one somewhere – maybe our conversation was too complex for me. I did mean to write it though!


Keywords: charities,chuggers,disability equality training,social model,tragedy model


richard downes

16 April 2012

leaning against a moorgate lamp post with a paper in my hand, a chugger disrupts my sunny reverie. This one from the red cross. Our conversation was very short.

Have you heard of the red cross


I am very passionate about it and beleive in collecting for them

do you

yes, have you heard about them


would you contribute?

i'm already a supporter

that's great, great, goodbye.

see ya sucker

of course i'm not a supporter but i've learned thatthis is one way of getting rid of the chugger quickly. thing is..... should i be a supporter? are there charities that its ok to like?

richard downes

14 March 2012

we all shot pudsey bear lives here


richard downes

14 March 2012


a brilliant historic video that encapsulates the arguments against charity. Thanks to Alan Holdsworth for bringing it to our attention. I have posted this on we all shot pudsey bear facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/46564848880/

richard downes

29 February 2012

even the guardians getting involved now


my contribution to their debate:

this has been a matter of debate for quite a while now. I have discussed it myself from a tangential angle at my blog on disability arts online http://disabilityartsonline.org/Rich-Downes?item=1192&itemoffset=1 and within my own chatting to a chugger series at my personal blog at www.detrich.wordpress.com

it seems that one of our primary concerns might be the chuggers lack of interest in what they themselves are struggling to sell as well as their lack of knowledge about perpetuating the inequalities that their paymasters have promoted. There is something seriously wrong with charities, who deny people the opportunity to speak for themselves. We need to be more aware of their history in living parasitically on the backs of the people they laughingly purport to support

tony heaton

22 February 2012

I spoke to one collecting for Scope, asked him if he knew how much the CEO of Scope earned and that he wasn't a disabled person and didn't he think that was morally wrong?- he was shocked when i told him and talked about how few disabled people actually work in charities like these. i asked him if he had done any research on Scope before signing up and if ethically he was comfortable with his role after our discussion. i also suggested he look at Guide dogs for the blind and the reserves held by these kind of charities, their non-disabled leaders and senior managers and the continuing oppression of disabled people by the perpetuation of the charity model by unthinking people like him... he looked more than a bit crestfallen and said in his defence that he thought he was helping.... lets keep talking to them!

Joe McConnell

22 February 2012

As I am often taken for a sub-D2 in the social (marketing) scale of things, I hardly ever get approached by these people. I share your aversion to chuggers, but feel far more anger to the bright young charity executives that send them out to chug in the first place. The chuggers maybe are not innocent participants in all of this. But it says a lot about the organisations that send them out with the mission of playing and perpetuating the charity-tragedy game.

Deborah Caulfield

22 February 2012

Chugger is an excellent name for thesepoor misguided unfortunates. I hadn't it before.

I applaud your taking the time to talk to one. I usually steer a wide birth, which is difficult. They seem to see me as a likely do-gooder, for some reason I can't fathom, coming straight for me with a determination that would normally receive my total admiration.

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