Friday, 31 December 2010

Give us yer feckin' money.

Our government, in the shape (if geometry permits the existence of such a shape) of Frankie Maudlin, evidently believes that the word 'philanthropy' means 'emotional blackmail'.

The astoundingly idiotic idea of guilt-tripping us into giving to the generic term 'charity' whenever we engage in any financial transaction and pretending the money will really go to charity rather than Frankie Maudlin's expense account has already been covered by Snowolf, AlJahom, Subrosa and others.

So all I can add is a future conversation at a till somewhere.

Till operator (Drone): Would you like to give your change to charity?

Leg-iron (for it is me): Which one?

Drone: Huh?

LI: Which charity? Some I support, some I don't. So which one are you collecting for?

Drone: Well... no. It just goes to charity.

LI: Charity? You mean it goes to some woman named Charity? What am I paying her for? I hope she's good at it, whatever it is.

Drone (with silly giggle): No, it goes to charity. Good causes. You know.

LI: If I knew, I wouldn't be asking. So, specifically, which good causes are you collecting for?

Drone: I'm not collecting, I'm just asking.

LI: You are asking for money for some nebulous entity called charity. That's collecting.

Drone (getting properly sullen): Look, if you don't want to...

LI (who is not going to let this game end so easily): I didn't say I didn't want to. I'm only trying to clarify what I'm supporting before I part with the cash.

Drone: I don't know. The government gets the money.

LI: Right. So it's a tax then and nothing to do with charity at all. You're a tax collecter looking for voluntary tax payments.

Drone: No, it's for charity.

LI: Who told you that? The government?

Drone: um.... yes.

LI: And who gets the money? The government?

Drone: (blushes and stares at till)

LI: So you are a sucker who thinks you are collecting for a mysterious thing called 'charity' but doesn't know what it is you're asking me to support, on the word of the people who have asked you to collect the money but who haven't told you why they want it. Is that a fair assessment of the situation?

Drone: Here's your change.

LI: Thank you. Have a nice day.


I do give to charity. Every November I actively seek out poppy sellers because I want to give them money. That is a good cause. I always put money in the RNLI box. That is a good cause. I have a monthly direct-debit to the cancer charity that helped my niece when she went through leukaemia treatment. She survived, if anyone is interested, and will be declared 'clear' next March. I feel my small monthly contribution is not enough repayment, but can't currently afford to increase it.

What I will not do is give money to a government department calling itself 'charity' with no actual definition of what they plan to fund. For all I know I'd be funding ASH or that hideous Shenker bloke or the Salty Men or the Fatbusters or the Climatologists or more likely, Frankie Maudlin's retirement fund.

Every time I am asked I will say 'NO' and I will say it without a trace of guilt, but with immense pride. I am proud to deny funding to the scum who want to control my life and at the same time, I will continue to be philanthropic (as funds allow) towards causes I believe in and trust.

So if you are ever behind me in a supermarket queue, expect a delay. I will either take the time to count out the exact change, to the penny, or some variant of that conversation above will take place.

Charity used to mean something, It used to be about people helping people.

When my last boss took early retirement (like he had a choice, the whole department was made redundant) he said this in his goodbye speech:

"When I started in science, we were chasing knowledge. Now it feels as if we are just chasing money."

Many charities could say the same. Many are no longer concerned with their original objectives to anything like the extent they are concerned with chief executive pay and perks. They are businesses with a mission statement and corporate policy, hiding from the taxman under 'We are charity' pleas. I am already paying for this shit through my taxes. I am not paying more.

I leave you with an appropriate Alan Price tune, which has more connection with the real soul of charity than filth like ASH or the RSPCA could ever understand.

This man should be hailed as a prophet.


subrosa said...

After reading this I've now got my 'line' ready.

A N Other: "Will you donate to charity"

Me: What's her surname?

A N O: Eh?

Me: Never mind. What do you want me to donate? Clothes? Heinz beans? I've plenty of both lying around.

A N O: Forget it.

I've plenty time to irritate those who beg from me. Two charities who have never begged receive an annual donation from me plus one of yours, the RBL.

Pleased to hear your niece is doing so well. A few charities do wonderful work.

Anonymous said...

Still you were a bit hard on the drone. They cant tell you to piss off can they.

TheFatBigot said...

Thank you for a splendid year's entertainment and information Mr Iron. My very best to you and yours for as good a 2011 as officialdom allows you.

Anonymous said...

This one is a non starter for me as well.
Poppies, lifeboat and direct debit for cancer are also my choices and have been for years.

I remember being stopped (arm grabbed) in a High street years ago by a piece of shit that wanted me to donate to the 'right not to work' cause. Use your imagination for the outcome.

JuliaM said...

This charity giving at till scheme could be the next plastic shopping bags fiasco.

Remember the schemes to make you pay, or not provide you with bags? All gone. Now everyone (except M&S) provides bags, or has them available.

Jones said...

You can give to a nebulous entity called 'charity' then you can offset the contribution against tax.

For the children.

Just trying to help (crouches behind bullet-proof shield).

Bucko said...

I'm looking forward to having that conversation myself on many occasions.
(No I'm not a checkout assistant)

moriarty said...

Remember the schemes to make you pay, or not provide you with bags? All gone...

Gone for the moment - then some politician will mumble something about how 'the voluntary alternative has failed' and start drafting a law that will force everyone into approved behaviour.

wrong target again said...

If the checkout operator didn't ask you then she would get a written warning. Next time she would be sacked. So it's pointless having a go at her.
It's why they always ask if you have a royalty card or if you want a hand with your packing. They hate saying it but if the alternative is the dole then they will say it with a big smile and take all your clever shit with a pinch of salt. Forced to leave their real feelings back in the locker room when they signed onto the till.

Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

It's totally shocking isn't it?

I refuse point blank at all chuggers and tell every single one of them they can have my cash if they opt out of all government funding via my taxes. Probably unfair for some of them but it's the principle that I'm fighting for.

RNLI and the poppy sellers however I do give to.

I have a cask strength 12 year old Laphroaig raised in your honour today Leggy!

Happy New Year!

Bucko said...

WTA - Maybe checkout operators should question what they are forced to ask rather than letting the shit that rolls down to them, keep going to us.
If customers do not complain to staff, no body knows there is a problem.
Every time a jobsworth comes out with rubbish, be it charity, over 25 to buy booze or whatever, the customer should kick up a stink. It's the only way things can change.

wrong target again said...


If you ever worked in any customer service sector then you would know it's totally pointless complaining to the front line worker. Be it a call centre , checkout worker or whatever. They have jackshit say in what they have to say or do. If they carry your complaints to management then they're noted as a moaning bastard and will mysteriously get the worst shifts etc.
Customers should stop dumping the stress on helpless staff who have no control. Customers should ask to talk to the manager and complain. If they get no satisfaction then complain to their MP. The charity thing is coming from a government think tank and would be law if implemented. WTF use is it to complain to the monkey ? Or in leggies words 'the drone'. My missus works on a till and would be keen to meet leggy sometime to sort him out. I wouldn't argue with her ;)

Bucko said...

WTA - I have worked in, and run pubs for years. I have also worked in a call centre and my Mrs has worked on a checkout.
It is far from pointless complaining to the front line worker, that is part of their job as first point of contact.
They should carry complaints to the management, thats how the management discover something is wrong.
If customers have stress then its the staff who are there to sort it out first and management second if its still unresolved.
I would suggest the most pointless course of action is complaining to an MP.
If your Mrs cannot deal with customer complaints, maybe a change of career is required. My pub staff were all trained to deal with complaints and welcomed the opportunity to do so as it helped us improve our business.

microdave said...

@ wta & Bucko - I spent 20 years "On the front line". There are 2 sides to this: Yes, it certainly isn't easy getting through to senior management, as there is invariably a "bullshit filter" at some stage in the chain of command. However it's no good trying once and giving up.

But I can understand some poor sod on minimum wage not wanting to make a rod to beat his or her own back. That is the main problem - too many folk are either scared of the consequences, or simply want an easy life. It's why we have such shit government in this country.

If and when I get asked this question I will most certainly ask a few more details, but I'm not going to deliberately make life difficult for the checkout operator. The next port of call will be the Customer Help desk, and they will invite me to fill out a standard form. This will be totally ignored, or get a "reading from the script" reply. It's difficult to go much further as an individual, although if they get thousands of similar complaints it usually works.

It's a complete waste of time complaining to the store manager - I have tried this many times, he invariably shrugs his shoulders and claims it is out of his hands. See my point about the bullshit filter...

I have exchanged a number of emails with my MP - on closer examination it's obvious that these are largely cut 'n paste jobs, and probably composed by an assistant.

Would setting up my own charity, donating to it, and claiming the tax back work?

Prodicus said...

If you're a picky giver like our gracious host and me, try

I use it give to my chosen genuine charities (almost) every time I shop online. If you fear it's a scam, check these comments :

Scroll down to Lesley Pinnell. That's my experience, too.

wrong target again said...


Your businesses are obviously well run. It must depend on who you work for I suppose. I've also worked in call centres and used to dread having to try and put a customer complaint to management. My last solution to a customer complaint , after listening to filthy language and abuse, was to call for a manager. They were always busy surfing the internet or brown nosing around the front desk. Their face would cloud over with a thunderous look as I transferred the customer through to them. Then after the call was finished there would be an audit of the call to see where I went wrong. Having to call the manager was a failure you see. A weakness on my part in having to call in the cavalry.
A checkout operator in a large supermarket needs to log on, follow the script,log off and not get noticed. One who has to resort to management for assistance too often is seen as weak and is watched carefully.

Leg-iron said...

SR - Neice is doing well. She was diagnosed at 15, went through chemo and total hair loss which is not something 15-year-old girls deal with easily. Especially not when visited by the short uncle who always looks in desperate need of a haircut! Which reminds me, as soon as this holiday nonsense is over, I have to visit the local shearing shed again.

Leg-iron said...

Anon 3:02 - possibly too harsh but who's likely to be taking the flak for this? The invisible managers?

Small shops must be looking forward to this new lunatic idea. They won't have to order their staff to comply.

It'll make the small shops a much more pleasant shopping experience than the supermarkets, even if they do cost a bit more.

Bucko said...

WTA - ""Your businesses are obviously well run."" Thanks, but I suppose there is a big difference between pubs and supermarkets wrt interaction between customers and staff. Maybe that wasn't the best example.

Microdaves point, ""But I can understand some poor sod on minimum wage not wanting to make a rod to beat his or her own back."", is true.

I shared your experience with call centre managers. The last thing mine wanted to do was to talk to a customer, however, they did always deal with problems I passed them after I had wrapped up the call. I must admit, it's not something I would like to do again.

I'm off home now. Have a good new year.

Leg-iron said...

JuliaM - Some good came out of that bag nonsense. For 10p I can now buy a robust carrier bag that won't fall apart when loaded.

The bags are back at the tills but for some reason, they are now only big enough to hold one loaf of bread.

So, as you'd expect, everyone uses loads of them.

Leg-iron said...

Jones - actually, you raise an interesting point.

I'm self-employed so I fill out a tax form every year. I can reclaim tax on charitable donations but I have to be able to prove them, so I do have to show where the money went. Donations to poppy-sellers and RNLI boxes can't be accounted for.

So, if the till receipt or cashpoint receipt shows the donation, I could reclaim the tax on it but I would have to keep every single receipt.

If you give a little bit at every financial transaction, anywhere, that will add up to a fair wad of cash over the course of a year.

If you fill out returns, you could reclaim the tax.

If you're on PAYE and never fill out returns, you won't.

Sneaky, eh?

The best answer is for absolutely everyone to keep all receipts and request a tax return at the end of the year.

The tax office would be inundated with forms reclaiming small amounts. Then the civil service might have a word with Frankly Maudlin behind closed doors.

Gareth said...

Some of the bags are now biodegradable. Or at least degrade a lot quicker than old fashioned ones.

Leg-iron said...

WTA - As I said to Anon earlier, yes it's possibly harsh but I'm not going to start shouting, swearing and threatening. I'm too old to start a fight.

But who is going to get the brunt of this, really? I have shopped in supermarkets for many years and have yet to identify anyone as a manager. Maybe they are there but I can't tell who they are. Neither can anyone else.

So the spleen vents are only going at one person, and that's the person who asks the question. If you think my use of sarcasm is bad, wait till you're facing Drunken Jock McStingy when he arrives at the till with his crate of Tennent's Super on which the price has just been increased due to another Government department's nannying.

He's already in a foul mood and he doesn't know that the edict to beg for charity comes from head office.

My quiet sarky comments will go unnoticed at other tills. When Drunken Jock explodes, you'll hear it in the next town.

I'm sure your wife could 'sort me out', not least because I have never hit a woman, but Drunken Jock is a different story.

Seriously, when this starts, little sarky buggers like me are the very least of your problems.

Leg-iron said...

Just a thought - How long before this 'option' is automatically added, like a service charge in a restaurant?

Every time you use money they take a little bit extra. And, just like NI, they won't call it 'tax'.

wrong target again said...

Bucko.. have a guid New Year yourself.


" My quiet sarky comments will go unnoticed at other tills. When Drunken Jock explodes, you'll hear it in the next town."

Ha ha too true. She sees a few of these guys already when she has to ask for their proof of age ( even when they look about 60).
Have a guid New Year !

Neal Asher said...

I can see this becoming one of those opt-out scenarios...

Anonymous said...

Great music clip - is there an easy way to search for others that have been included in your previous postings?

Agreed re charity deductions - it'll slow down every sale in shops that operate it and generate bad feelings too. Maybe a compulsory scheme will make more shoppers use self-service tills, where they are available.

Thanks Leg Iron for the blog, and Happy New Year to other readers.

Anonymous said...

They run a very sophisticated electronic version of "charity donation" by deception practice in San Francisco, California, USA.

What they do is they hard-wire all the credit/ATM card sliders at the grocery store check-out line so when you slide the card, the first question comes up is "Will you please donate $1 to ..." and usually it is American Cancer Society, which promulgates the anti-smoking SHS hysteria in its propaganda line.

If you try paying by cash and circumventing the electronic request, then the cashier is required by store policy to ask several questions (a teller actually told me this, they are required to ask questions and are even timed by computer to see how fast they roll through the process from start to finish in getting you through the line) - but they are required to ask you if you will donate $1 to whatever "charity" is in cahoots with the grocery store to extort money from you - where-as they try to make it embarassing, to say "no" being a heresy of course.

And usually you'll find many who will shout out loud - like those people at a religious big tent revival meeting shouting out "hallelujah" at the top of their lungs to get special notice - but sometimes there'll be a few who shout out loud, "I'll donate $2" (or $5, or more - the ones who really want to look politically correct and savvy/suave/smart/debonaire).

They have this racket down to a tee in California - and a lot of people probably accidentally hit the "yes" button on the card swipe machine not even realizing what just happened.

What a racket. I tell them all "no", every damn time.

dig deep - heavy troughing needs paying said...

I picked a charity at random - Oxfam - and checked their accounts for the last year. The salaries are eye watering for a charity set up to the help the poor. Total wages were £90m with the top salaries here..

£60-70K (12)
£70-80K (7)
£80-90K (7)
£90-100K (1)
£100-110K (4)
£110-120K (1)


Styx said...

Here in France, this nonsense has not yet been introduced; perhaps it isn't necessary since the Govt here, with its staggeringly overstaffed bureaucracy is highly adept at extracting money from the populace.

However, there is no way that I would ever say yes to any of these requests; I consider such schemes to be outrageous, and if I ran a business I would be extremely unhappy at being pressurised to being yet again an unpaid tax-collector.

Happy New Year LI

jones said...

Dig deep,

But isn't it worth it for the children?.

Anonymous said...

Our local RSPCA on the Wirral are begging locals to save their local centre from closure.This from a supposed'charity'with over £70 million in bank accounts,that we know of.
It is also the biggest killer of animals as it will not pay to keep them alive till rehomed.

Leg-iron said...

Gareth - Yep. Some of themn fall apart before you get the stuff home.

Leg-iron said...

Anon 17:37 - Try YouTube and search for 'Alan Price'. I recommend 'Justice' although he has a lot of good stuff on there.

opinions powered by