WHAT’S worse than being stopped in the street by a charity beggar? I’ll tell you what’s worse, when one of the pushy little so-and-so’s turns up at your front door and refuses to budge.
It’s bad enough making eye contact with these hired hands who hop around from foot to foot like they’re busting for a pee, and if they’re not wearing a jester’s hat then they’re the whitest man in England sporting blond dreadlocks as they tilt their head from side to side like an over enthusiastic puppy who’s just been told he’s going for walkies.
Maybe I’m just being an old grouch but there’s as much chance of me passing on my bank details to a complete stranger in the street as there is of responding to an email from a deposed Nigerian prince who needs to store millions of dollars in my account for a few days but will let me keep a percentage for my troubles.
Walking down Penny Street or negotiating Horseshoe Corner can be like the assault course on Gladiators on really bad days. When I clock them lined up like Wigan Warriors’ forward line I feel like turning round and going home.
By the time I’ve reached the third or fourth one of these people, who more often than not are agency workers who’ll be touting some other charity in some other town next week, I find my manners have deserted me.
I’ve gone from a curt ‘no thanks’ to ‘I already donate to your charity’ and finally, a ruse that a mate of mine once told me to give timeshare touts the brush-off on holiday, ‘I’ve just been made redundant and diagnosed with terminal cancer’. Never fails that one. Oh, and ‘**** off’ works a treat, too.
But what do you do when a grinning charity beggar knocks on your front door? Our kids saw him walking up the drive ‘Who’s that, dad?’ and he spotted my half-full glass of wine on the windowsill so that was my ‘I’m just on my way out, mate’ excuse screwed.
Before I’d managed to open the door fully my new best friend was already into his comedy routine at about 200 words a minute – presumably he talks so fast so that his prey can’t get a ‘no thanks’ in edgeways.
See the Lancaster Guardian (22-04-11) for full story.