Whenever someone rattles a tin under my chin on my way out of Morrison’s, which they do on a regular basis, I always put in at least £1.
Okay, so Bill Gates I’m not, but then I don’t have his bank balance, but my view is that if one of my fellow citizens is prepared to stand by a drafty door all day only to be ignored by nine out of ten of the shoppers as they scuttle by with their heavily laden trolleys, well a quid isn’t exactly going to break the Parrot domestic budget and might make them feel that their effort is worthwhile.
But if folk can ignore a collection at the supermarket, you’d think it would impossible to do at the very place where charity begins, ie at home. Oh, but they can.
As she has done before, she recklessly agreed to do one of those envelope collections in our neighbourhood, this time for Barnados. The easy bit was last week, stuffing them through letterboxes. This week the hard part, actually getting them filled and filed.
On a wet Tuesday evening she has been on the knocker and the excuses she’s heard. “I think my wife has taken the envelope to work,” was probably the most ludicrous while, “We’ve had a bereavement in the family,” (while not looking particularly upset) was the lamest.
But the most bizarre are the ones she can see through the window watching telly (and no it wasn’t while the England/Sweden game was on) just totally ignore the knock on the door. Drawbridge up and sod off.
I did suggest that she should tap on the window, point upwards and shout, “Your roof’s on fire!” or “There’s a meteorite headed your way!” but I doubt if even that would get them to acknowledge her or stick their hands in their pockets.
And even when they do, you wonder whether it was worth it. Emptying the envelopes reveals a fiver here, a two pound or one pound coin there, but mostly a depressing mound of shrapnel at about 25p per household by my reckoning.
Now I know what you’re thinking — people give what they afford — but most of the houses visited tonight are valued at around £300k, and I don’t buy the argument that they have done so by ignoring the collector at Morrison’s doorway 300,000 times.
All of which is a gloomy indictment on our fellow man and makes Mrs P wonder if there’s any point in trudging the streets in the rain. Next time I think she’ll just say, “No chance, just take this fifty quid,” and save her legs.