real life

"Dear charity muggers: Back the hell off and let me shop in peace."

I’m sorry.

Before I say anything else, let me reiterate that again.

I’m sorry.

Writing this piece probably knocks me down a few pegs on the ‘Best Human of The Year’ leaderboard. I understand this. Writing this post will definitely dent my status more than stealing a packet of Butter Menthols in year nine or scribbling ‘MICHELLE WAS HERE’ on a school toilet cubicle ever did.

So yes, I’m apologetic. But.

I’ve begun walking through shopping centres and stifling very bad swear words under my breath. I feel tension whenever I set foot near an unassuming escalator. Smiley, waving strangers now terrify me to my very core. Sometimes I have nightmares about screaming “I PROMISE I HAVE DONATED TO OTHER CHARITIES THIS YEAR” to a long queue of judgemental charity muggers, all shaking their heads while holding stupid clipboards and promotional signs.

I’m so fed up with charity muggers and the pressure to donate to every need over Christmas time.

Listen: While we’re all in a complaining mood, can we also please discuss small talk at Christmas time? (Post continues…)

I realise that the people who heckle me as I walk to go buy a latte are paid to be there. I know they’re just doing their jobs. I know that said jobs are making the world a better place. I just… wish… they weren’t so… intrusive and irritating while they made the world a better place.

I’m at my wit’s end when it comes to being manipulated – and it is manipulation – into donating to a charity I am unfamiliar with and don’t have time to research.

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“Hey, what’s your name!”

“Cool skirt, can I ask you something?”

“Where are you off to so fast?”

“You look like you’re in a hurry, can I chat to you for a sec?”

“Excuse me, can I ask you how old you are?”

“Gym clothes! Are you a gym instructor?”

Last year, I actually pretended to be on a very important phone call to dodge the charity dude doing cartwheels in my direction, but while I was mid-sentence a real phone call started ringing through my phone. Charity mugger dude looked disappointed. He looked hurt. I felt like I was going to melt on the spot like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Don’t get me wrong: I DO donate to charities. (I feel like that shouldn’t even be a point I need to clarify but here we are.) I really do. I just don’t enjoy being pressured and cajoled into talking to strangers in a shopping centre.

Nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable while going about their day, even if the reason is charitable. When I began discussing this with a friend, she shared that two years ago a charity mugger asked her “Do you not care about sick children?” when she tried to walk away.

Ugh.

I’m over it.

So here’s a memo to charity muggers coming for my money: If I’m not giving to you, it doesn’t mean I’m not giving it all. It just means I’m not giving to you, and in turn not validating the pressure tactics you employ to get my money.

Merry Christmas.

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