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Wednesday 8th December 2021

The uphill struggle of finding your first job: a chugger for a day

Chugger Work

The endless search for a first job, following the safety net of the educational system, is daunting for anyone. To make life that little bit more challenging, there are also misleading job advertisements swarming the internet. If you’ve spent hours looking for a job, as I have, you will eventually fall victim to their empty promises.

I have had my fair share of commission job horrors. One that still haunts me was in the summer of 2016, during a period of particular financial desperation. During this melancholy time of financial despair, I would have just about accepted anything in order to improve my financial situation. I lasted one day in this so called ‘job’. I was, in essence, a glorified beggar in a suit – more commonly known as a ‘chugger’. I was expected to stand on the streets of Nottingham and try to coax people into signing up to charities. On the one hand, it was heart-warming to see the generosity of the British public. But, on the other hand, in reality, innocent members of the public were giving away their bank details to complete strangers on the street, without a clear idea of where their money was actually going.

During this melancholy time of financial despair, I would have just about accepted anything in order to improve my financial situation.

If you’re a strategic liar, are annoyingly happy, and can sleep at night having robbed the elderly community of what little the government leave them with, then a commission based job could be the right career path for you! By definition, a commission based job is one which pays when you hit targets of units sold – this could be units of goods or services.

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I was mislead from the start. The job was advertised as a ‘£25k a year, plus bonuses’, but in reality there was no salary at all unless you got signatures. So basically, come rain or shine, you were begging. The ‘begging’ techniques that they used, and that they expected me to use, still make me cringe. Phrases like ‘Oh hey super mum?’ were encouraged – if you’ve got screaming children with you, the last thing you want is some weirdo dressed like corporation vomit yelling fake compliments and waving pieces of card at you. Especially when you know, for a fact, that you look like rubbish; with the darkening bags under your eyes and hair which hasn’t been washed in close to a month.

Innocent members of the public were giving away their bank details to complete strangers on the street, without a clear idea of where their money was actually going.

As a newbee to this greedy commission-job world, I was added to a social media group. On this group, when someone signed up a person over the age of 55, they would post about their success. One such post read, and I quote, ‘money bags were ringing’. As it was a commissioned based job, signing people like this was how they made their money. The older the person signing up, the more commission the chugger earned – elderly people are less likely to check their bank accounts and cancel the direct debits set up.

What really stings me is how it is deemed acceptable to coax people of particularly mature ages to hand over personal details to a complete stranger who’s suited and standing outside Boots in Nottingham? Frankly, it’s not in my book.

How is it acceptable to coax people of particularly mature ages to hand over personal details to a complete stranger?

Due to the loving nature of my friends and family, I know that they would probably stop and talk to these ‘beggars’ on the street. They would no doubt be lead to feel guilty for not paying for x, y, and z. As a result, they would probably sign up. This saddens me.

So, I guess my advice to the public would be: don’t stop and talk to these people. They will guilt trip you into handing over your bank account details, and they will run with them. You will end up having numerous direct debits coming out of your account, many of which you didn’t agree to. If you do want to give to a charity, I would suggest going directly through the charity’s website – that way there at least is some guarantee that the charity will actually receive the money.

Finally, my advice to the job hunter: avoid, avoid, avoid.

photo credit: Chris Brown

 

Cait Armstrong

Mouthy blogger

Recent Cardiff grad, undeniable tea lover, avid daydreamer and aspiring lawyer.

2 Comments
  1. Funnily enough I was about to write a blog on this subject- I actually failed an interview to become a fundraiser because I wasn’t ‘streetwise’ enough. Since then, I have been a little bit glad that I didn’t get the job, though, as I have had conversations with these people. I do feel bad for them- it’s bloody hard to make money, but that doesn’t excuse their tactics!

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