I think a very important thing to say at the outset – as obvious as it seems – is that charity is good. The concept of giving your excess wealth to those less fortunate or to causes that could better the world in some way? It fucking rules. It’s dope. A big “hell yeah” to charity from me. Charity muggers, however? They suck ass.

If you’re an even mildly socially anxious person, seeing one lock eyes with you on the horizon is the beginning of a good minute of excruciating discomfort as you try to simultaneously walk normally, remember where your eyes are usually pointed when you’re not thinking about it, and plan what you’re going to say as you brush the charity mugger off.

I live just off a street in Brisbane that has at least three charity muggers on it every day. To go to the shops I have to pass them, to get to the train station I have to pass them, to go the pub I have to pass them. Do they know I’ve donated before? Of course not, because the people are different every day, and they are absolutely frothing at the mouth to stop me walking by any means necessary, and they are very reluctant to take no for answer.

It’s difficult to fault the individuals: a lot of them work on commission and have targets, so there’s a very strong impetus for the charity mugger to do whatever it takes to get you to fork over your credit card details. They’re clearly also trained to do all the awful things they do to get your attention. Additionally, it’s almost universally for a good cause. Is getting tens of thousands of extra dollars a week towards cancer research worth briefly inconveniencing people? My brain says ‘yes’, but my heart says ‘please leave me alone, I’m very shy’.

One Brisbane man is sick to death of it, and he’s asking the council to crack down on that shit. In a petition to Brisbane City Council titled ‘Reduce the high concentration of charity collectors on CBD streets‘, Ryan Donohue says that the city needs to cut down on the number of charity muggers and more stringently regulate their behaviour:

Residents draw to the attention of Brisbane Council the surge in charity collectors, or “Chuggers” in the Central Brisbane District which has left workers, shoppers and visitors feeling uncomfortable walking in certain areas without being, what can be perceived as, ‘accosted’. Residents also draw attention to the safety concerns regarding the impact to pedestrian flow on busy footways such as Adelaide, Queen and Edward streets by these charity collectors.

We ask that Council make a legislative change to limit the concentration of charity collectors and adopt guidelines around specific behaviour of individual charity collectors to ensure that residents and visitors have the right to go about their business without being accosted.

He’s not wrong about there being a bunch of them. If you regularly walk from Roma Street to Queen St Mall or vice versa, you quickly learn the insanely circuitous route you have to take to avoid having a backpacker with a lanyard and a clipboard try get you to stop by pretending to like your terrible tattoos (last part might be specific to me).

So far the petition has around 1,300 signatures, with a cut-off date on January 1, so if that’s something you feel strongly about, you can check it out right here.

Image: Snatch