Friday, 12 October 2012


Charity may well begin here
So I was happily sitting at home there with the kids enjoying a messy supper when for the third night in a row some arse ruined my chaos asking me about money.

The phone rang. Well, I thought, who could this be ruining this idyllic scene of a three-year-old throwing beans over his brothers?

“Hello, is that Mr Hassled?

“No, there is no such person. My wife is Mrs Hassled but I am Mr Rantparrot.  Modern marriage and all that. She refused to take my name you see, choosing instead to take my money.”

“Ah, I would like to speak to you about helping those less fortunate than yourself.

”I am pretty unfortunate,” I said. "You will have to go some to beat me."

Now I don't want to target any particular charity as they all work from the same template with these calls, but this is how the conversation went.

"No seriously, there are those that are desperate for your help. You can help.  

“Is that right? I can’t feed my own children, what makes you think I can help anyone else?

"As we speak, my demonic one is pursuing my shy one around the kitchen with a chip covered in tomato sauce insisting it’s his chopped off finger. Things have got messy. How can I help?”

She told me that for as little as £5 a month I can help do earth shattering things all over the world.

She added: "There is a recession on Mr Hassled and all charities are feeling the squeeze." She added while they continued to strive to bring some hope into the lives of children/the poor/the deprived/the...list goes on

“Oh,” I replied.

“As I said It’s Mr Rantparrot not Mr Hassled. You would remember that if you could lift your eyes from your script and imagine you are dealing with a real person with his own frailties, worries and financial concerns.

“I know there is a recession on, it started here in this house a long time ago. I have no issue with you trying to raise money but I do take issue with it being asked for while I am watching my kids fight.

"I take further issue with the fact that at some point my wife or I were kind enough to give to a charity and leave our details only to have that generosity abused by people constantly calling for more."

“But Mr Hass…Rantparrot, it is important we get the message out there by any means possible.”

“You seem to be taking the old maxim charity begins at home to mean it begins here and only here. It doesn’t.  Can I go now?. I said”

“You must understand how much these people struggle and how much a simple direct debit from you can help,” she was sounding desperate now.

“I do understand, I sympathise, I give to charities in all manner of ways. It is not for you to tell me what I need to understand. I will be the judge of that. Do you fully understand the issue or do you just fully understand your script. Do not tell me what I need to understand.

“We give when we can, we do not give when are bullied.

“How much do you give every month?”

She wasn’t so keen on letting me know.

“That’s my business sir.”

“But do you give to this particular charity?”

“That’s my business sir,” she repeated.

“Then the charities I give to is my business as well and if I give to you then you will know about it and have an unfair advantage.

“As we have established, charity begins at home, I am at home and dispensing charity and first aid on a minute by minute basis. Why just now I am trying to reattach a bloodied finger that is actually a chip onto the finger of small child whose imagination is such that he now believes he has chopped off his sixth finger.

"Now I am going to hang up. I know that by telling you this I have nullified the effectiveness of the hanging up, but none the less…”

Drought, famine and disease take a horrendous toll around the world, especially among the young and the vulnerable. Mental health, poverty and deprivation should be higher up everyone's agenda.

I do not and will not belittle the efforts of charity fundraisers but, for crying out loud, leave me a little peace at home.

I do what I can and give what I can afford. I am intelligent enough to understand the maths and do not need to be called at home with dramatic and emotional demands for money. Stop it.

I have every sympathy with charities whose revenues are down. I have even more sympathy with the people they are trying to help and will help when I can. I do not need prompted, it makes me cross.

I have asked several times for this cold calling to end. It hasn’t. As far as I am concerned, I am now allowed to be as rude as I want when they try again.

You have been warned. 

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