Monday, 14 February 2011

It Must Be Funny In A Rich Man's World

I like to think I’m a pretty ethical sort of Dad. I try to buy FairTrade and shop in local, independent retailers, I believe strongly in equality unlike some oddballs, and I give to charity when I can. 
But I have a problem. Chuggers.

What on earth makes any charity think I’ll be more interested in their cause if they employ some smiley young student to step in front of me while I’m walking down the high street?

I find it extremely off-putting but usually feel terrible afterwards. The result is the charity in question makes me feel awful and doesn’t get any money from me. It’s a lose-lose situation.

But it must work otherwise they wouldn’t keep doing it.

It’s not often I think ‘what a great idea Lord Foulkes is proposing’ but have a look at this.

Cracking down on chuggers during the age of austerity probably seems a bit harsh. As this article suggests, charities are up against it.

In which case, if you have the means you could consider doing what Toby Ord is doing. An interesting idea but I’d be terrified of miscalculating and not being able to meet one of those crucial payments - the subscription to the mountain bike magazine or the allotment waiting list deposit. (What’s that? Hang on. Ah. Wife Features says I’ve to worry instead about something called The Mortgage. Okily-dokily.)

These stories about charity contrast nicely with the FT’s astounding How To Spend It supplement. It’s a glossy pull out that appears from time to time and explains which yacht or art collection you should be adding to your grotesque pile of fripperies. I also noticed in the most recent edition a gem of an advert featuring a familiar face from Nairn.

I’ve always been intrigued by the ‘need’ for money. There surely comes a point when you struggle to spend it? I remember one year my income halved; I was busier with work than before and I ended up with a much better quality of life. I guess if you have a specialist skill and the market is willing to find the cash to secure your services you’d find it difficult to say no, or at least ask them not to pay so much.

I note that there are 14,000 people in Scotland paying the new 50p rate of income tax.

That’s 14,000 people in a country of 5 million each earning more than £150k. I just know if I ended up in that salary bracket I’d use my wages to buy very expensive cheese for my Maclean’s oatcakes. Or maybe I’d wake up one morning with a sports car in the driveway, a yacht in the harbour and an urge to jauntily knot a cashmere pullover around my shoulders.

Until that day I plan to keep donating what I can when I can, keep ducking the chuggers and learn more about this newfangled thing called a mortgage.

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