"Chuggers" at London Kings Cross

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Taunton

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Was surprised a few days ago at the extent of the "Charity" collectors inside Kings Cross. Given recent press stories, a surprisingly small percentage of their collections actually gets used fro charitable purposes.

One group had formed round the Virgin EC TVMs in the new west side concourse. They wore uniform jackets an identical red to the Virgin livery on the TVMs, which appeared no coincidence, and engaged in conversation those collecting tickets, as if they were Virgin staff. It only became apparent they weren't after several sentences, just as travellers have their wallets out putting their tickets away.

Then another group from a second organisation, bright yellow uniform this time, suddenly appeared at the gateline with cash collection buckets just as the inward flow from a train began to come through en masse, with their wallets out to put their seasons and tickets away after passing through the gates.

Given the extent to which "spotters" regularly recount being seen off the premises, sometimes on the basis of "it's too busy for you", this seems to be some organised and authorised affair. Does the station operator get a percentage of collections?
 
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Bald Rick

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From personal experience of charity collections at major stations in London (I've done a few myself), the charity needs permission of the station management, but does not pay to be there. In my case(s), permission had to be sought well in advance, and is rationed, if that's the right word, so that there aren't collections every day / week / whatever. There are also some strict rules to follow about what you can and can't do, as you might expect.

Also in my case, it was me and some friends rattling* buckets, so all the cash went directly to the charity concerned. If some charities elect to pay their bucket rattlers*, then that is their choice.

* rattling buckets being one of the things we weren't supposed to do, lest it drown out the PA.
 

Mojo

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From personal experience of charity collections at major stations in London (I've done a few myself), the charity needs permission of the station management, but does not pay to be there. In my case(s), permission had to be sought well in advance, and is rationed, if that's the right word, so that there aren't collections every day / week / whatever. There are also some strict rules to follow about what you can and can't do, as you might expect.
From the sounds of it the OP is talking about professionals such as those paid to collect subscriptions via direct debit rather than volunteers after loose change.
 

Bald Rick

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From the sounds of it the OP is talking about professionals such as those paid to collect subscriptions via direct debit rather than volunteers after loose change.

I wasn't sure to be fair, but there was a mention of cash collection buckets.
 

jon0844

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It's disappointing that Network Rail would give permission for chuggers to be on railway property.

I was early for a meeting recently at Farringdon (some 20 minutes) so hung around watching one chugger targeting young, white, females with the lamest of lines. He was almost trying to grab some of them to get them to stop. It was good that in all the time I was there he didn't get any to stop. And he was also just outside and clearly couldn't follow people in.

Nobody wants them inside a station where they can prey on people who may actually be standing around for a bit, and may get targeted.
 

Bodiddly

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Many of you seem badly equipped for life! For goodness sake just tell the chuggers to sod off if you don't want to be bothered by them!!!

Agree, I've had to do this on several occasions. A simple but firm 'no thank you' usually works unless they are that really annoying type that doesn't seem to understand the word no. An even firmer no usually works for them. I'm surprised the big charities still use this method of collecting donations given the bad press and I'm very surprised that Network Rail does not have a policy of refusing all charity collecting on their property. We are adults and we can make an informed choice whether we want to donate to charity or not.
Chuggers act on the weaknesses of particular people who are too kind natured, intimidated or scared to tell them where to go. Same can be said for telephone sales people, they are a particular menace. I have always thought that if a company has to resort to cold calling their product isn't that good. I had a quite large, mean looking hombre at my door last week trying to sell solar panels. I told him no and he flew into his sales patter. I tried stopping him, said no twice more and finally told him to leave the premises, which he did. I did think after that if I had been a little more intimidated by him he could have been a real pest.
 

Andrewlong

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I don't think it's clear whether we are talking about 'charity collectors' where you put money in a receptacle in return for a sticker etc eg poppy appeal, Guide Dogs, OR people approaching you to sign up to a Direct Debit commonly called 'chuggers'. I don't mind the former and ignore the latter.
 

jon0844

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Many of you seem badly equipped for life! For goodness sake just tell the chuggers to sod off if you don't want to be bothered by them!!!

Trust me, I don't have a problem with them in that respect - but I do get angry on behalf of those who are taken in (given you can often have to pay for over a year before a charity gets any money, and they'll also call you and use high pressure tactics to get you to increase your initial donation).

I get angry about phone scammers too, even though I just wind them up. I waste my time to waste their time, so they have just that little bit less time to con others. I should point out that when working from home, having some fun with people is like other people taking a fag break!

And to make it clear, I am not referring to poppy sellers or people collecting for local charities, of which most people will be volunteers.

I'm talking about chuggers - people working for agencies who get paid, even if they claim they don't (and use similar misleading explanations like the trainline to argue that they don't get any of your money).

Personally, I find it even worse that chuggers now come to your home.
 
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PeterC

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Chuggers act on the weaknesses of particular people who are too kind natured, intimidated or scared to tell them where to go. Same can be said for telephone sales people, they are a particular menace.
I just stick to the rule of avoiding eye contact and walking on.
 

LowLevel

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Where I used to work on a station we had charity collections from time to time. The rules were that we let them set up a stand, but passengers had to come to them, they couldn't approach them, and they weren't allowed on the platforms. Any infringement resulted in an instant boot. It always worked well enough.
 

Julia

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Bucket-rattlers I don't mind too much - and they are not allowed to *ask* for cash in any case under begging laws. I'm also not bothered by those who have stalls to stand by, if you're interested you can go up to them, if not, just keep going.

The ones I do really want to see chucked out are the sort with clipboards trying to sign people up on direct debits who roam around looking for victims; I met a group on the concourse at KGX last time I was there collecting "for Syria" - they never mentioned which charity - heavy emotional blackmail speech, kept moving around so that they were always in your way, took seven "no"s before getting the message. It was obvious that they had been trained in how to extract as much as possible from people. Sadly it was late in the evening and few staff around; that may not have been a coincidence...
 

jon0844

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They're just trying to make as much money for themselves as possible - and from the motivational training they get before starting work, it's clear they are trying to compete with each other. Hence why some will have their favoured tactics, which invariably seem to mean targeting very specific demographics, and why they can become quite aggressive at times.

If they were volunteers and all the money went to the charity, it wouldn't be so bad (but then they wouldn't be so pushy) but they don't want people to know how long it will take for the charity to see a penny OR that once you're signed up it absolutely isn't the last you'll hear of it.

In fact, you'll be bombarded with calls for more money from then on.

I know some charities claim that they need to use such tactics in order to raise funds, but I don't believe in it at all. As such, such charities won't get my money at all.

There are so many charities that I can't give to them all, so of late most of my donations have been for local things.
 

route:oxford

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Chuggers act on the weaknesses of particular people who are too kind natured, intimidated or scared to tell them where to go.

And charities act on the weaknesses of particular directors, managers or press officers who are too kind natured, intimidated or scared to decline their demands to have access to private premises.

I'm aware of one case where a polite refusal by a building trade firm ended up with threats by an officer of the national charity to denounce the firm on social media...
 

jon0844

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And charities act on the weaknesses of particular directors, managers or press officers who are too kind natured, intimidated or scared to decline their demands to have access to private premises.

I'm aware of one case where a polite refusal by a building trade firm ended up with threats by an officer of the national charity to denounce the firm on social media...

Doesn't surprise me at all. And don't get me started on the money many charities 'waste' on salaries!
 

NX

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I "love" - read hate, the ones who's line is "would you like to help kids with cancer".

Of bloody course i would, but I'll donate via my own steam at home via the official charity website !

That was within a large South Western Network Rail managed station, with a proper stall.

NX
 

jon0844

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A good way to get rid of a chugger (besides not making eye contact and totally ignoring everything they say to you even as they follow alongside - which is fun in itself) is to say the opposite.

So you do think people should live on the street, that kids should be abused or that you actually eat dogs, or whatever. Pretty much like telling religious people that you worship Satan.

I should point out that I have respect for just about everyone in life, but when someone wants to try and rip me off then the gloves are off.
 

FordFocus

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Don't mind popping a few coins into a charity cash bucket, "thank you" and my day moves on.

Chuggers and Direct Debits are something that I'm wary of having been a victim to banking fraud. I walked 200 yards through a high street recently last weekend and was stopped by 3 seperate charities. "I already donate" is my usual response.
 

ainsworth74

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Don't mind popping a few coins into a charity cash bucket, "thank you" and my day moves on.

Chuggers and Direct Debits are something that I'm wary of having been a victim to banking fraud. I walked 200 yards through a high street recently last weekend and was stopped by 3 seperate charities. "I already donate" is my usual response.

Same for me. I'll happily throw some change into a cash bucket for charity but if you want my bank details it is never going to happen. If I want to get that serious with a charity then I'll be making the first move and it won't be by talking to some random person in the street.
 

scotsman

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From the sounds of it the OP is talking about professionals such as those paid to collect subscriptions via direct debit rather than volunteers after loose change.

Trust me, I don't have a problem with them in that respect - but I do get angry on behalf of those who are taken in (given you can often have to pay for over a year before a charity gets any money, and they'll also call you and use high pressure tactics to get you to increase your initial donation).
...
I'm talking about chuggers - people working for agencies who get paid, even if they claim they don't (and use similar misleading explanations like the trainline to argue that they don't get any of your money).

Personally, I find it even worse that chuggers now come to your home.

The people you describe work for 'Multi-Level Marketing companies' (better known as pyramid schemes), and only get paid commission. They're promised promotion if they do well, but it's rare - everyone in the hierarchy takes their cut of the commission, with those at the bottom getting the least.

They're alarmingly common. Here's all the 'businesses' registered at just one address.
 

SodTheDrummer

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Vile creatures the lot of them.. There's quite often a bunch of them at Piccadilly, and trying to walk up Market Street avoiding them, the 'homeless', Big Issue sellers etc is nigh on impossible...

I just tell them I don't give money to any charities at all, which stumps them..
 

HMS Ark Royal

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I had an experience a few years ago where two groups where at Hull station at the same time. The first group was the Royal British Legion and the other was some charity to do with giving orphans a holiday. As it was near the season, I stopped at the RBL stand to talk to the lady and two gentlemen for a few minutes and to put in a donation and get a poppy. Heading off to the platforms, I was stopped and asked to make a donation for the holiday fun and I refused. They got quite aggressive towards me, pushing me somewhat around, and demanded to know why I had given money to "the old guys"

"Because they actually did something when they were your age (they were about 18-25)... And if you touch me again, I shall go to the BTP and report you"

"Look, we just want your money... Don't you care about kids?" *reaches for my wallet*

"Excuse me, Sir, but are you okay?" - cue the chuggers jumping at the sound of the BTP officer that had sneakily snuck up on them from behind!

I rarely give money to charities chugging in stations, but I always do for the RBL, the Sally Army and Help for Heroes
 

Dr_Paul

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I've seen over the years quite a few charity collectors at Waterloo on the concourse, but these have been volunteers of the charity, standing quietly with a collecting pail, not chuggers noisily approaching people. I've not seen chuggers actually inside a station, although they sometimes haunt the surrounding streets.

Annoying as chuggers are, I'm not actually rude to them because, as I have discovered when talking to some of them, they're doing a pretty thankless job only because they can't get a better one. 'Wouldn't you like a proper job?', I asked one in the local high street. 'Oh yes!', she replied. She had recently finished a degree course and this was the only work she could find.

An unemployed pal of mine ended up working in a call-centre phoning up people on behalf of a charity, begging them to make a regular payment through direct debit. Like chuggers, he was paid a low basic wage, topped up upon results. He didn't have his contract renewed after he started to recruit his colleagues to a union; that gives a clue to the type of firms that operate fund-raising schemes for charities.
 
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I just stick to the rule of avoiding eye contact and walking on.

That is my strategy - head up look ahead. Totally ignore. I once had one in Nottingham city centre, which is frequently infested with them who continued to walk with me, and eventuality moved his arm at block me. I threatened to report him with assault just so he would sod off. He even had some pre prepared tosh for that scenario. It is remarkable how well prepared they are.
 

Howardh

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That is my strategy - head up look ahead. Totally ignore. I once had one in Nottingham city centre, which is frequently infested with them who continued to walk with me, and eventuality moved his arm at block me. I threatened to report him with assault just so he would sod off. He even had some pre prepared tosh for that scenario. It is remarkable how well prepared they are.

Strange, but my only language suddenly turns to Letzeburgesch and for some reason I can't understand a word they say ;)

Used to work a treat when resorts were infested by time share sharks!
 

Andyh82

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"Chuggers" at railway stations are particularly annoying as if you are waiting for a train you can't get rid of them, and some are quite persistent.

At least in the street you can just carry on walking.
 

HMS Ark Royal

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Saw some on the other side of the ticket barriers at Leeds a while ago... Passed through in the morning and then they'd gone that afternoon whilst passing through to York - turns out they'd been done for fare evading by buying child singles
 

Julia

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Annoying as chuggers are, I'm not actually rude to them because, as I have discovered when talking to some of them, they're doing a pretty thankless job only because they can't get a better one. 'Wouldn't you like a proper job?', I asked one in the local high street. 'Oh yes!', she replied. She had recently finished a degree course and this was the only work she could find.

...which is the inevitable outcome of a system which says if you are fit and able and can't find better, you either work for the exploitative sods who run these outfits or you can go hang.
 

HowardGWR

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It seems that we have in our own midst, the equivalent of the young people who come on the line from New Delhi. I don't know what they sell because I put the phone down before they start, usually. When they do, I too feel the unfairness of putting them down when they are just struggling to earn a 'dime'.

Edit: In the end, would they not have been better advised to get an artisan qualification? (I ask myself). My son is has a good degree in Science but has only worked in a bar, which he now manages. I am proud of him that he never drew a cent in dole, but .......
 
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