Saturday, October 14, 2006

Life before death

I was involved in a street collection this morning, not something I do very often but much less awful in reality than in the imagination. The Christian Aid collection had me rattling my tinny (can't call it a plasticky) and occasionally adding the words "Life before death" to call attention to myself. The "pitch" I had chosen from those allocated to my church was outside the betting shop - I had wondered if anyone would be there before 11am, but I needn't have worried.

As it turned out, I finished the hour with more in my can than any of the other collectors I met. The betting shop is a great pitch, and the best contributors are not the sleek passer-by from the nearby car park but the patently obviously desperate, the old, the ordinary. Two well-dressed young women passed with no more than a faint smile, while an elderly man, coming out of the shop, said "Ah've nae change - Ah'll be back" - and returned, ten minutes later, to put something in the can. I also give honourable mention to the man who, in response to a rattle from me, said "I'm a good Jewish boy" - but gave me a contribution nonetheless. On the down side, I saw the spectacle of the enormous men - there were several - who would heave themselves from their cars, march into the pub next door, reappear to place a bet and stuff themselves back into the driving seat to leave - all without sparing me a glance.

Life before death is a great slogan - but I wonder what the people we were collecting for would think of our lifestyles?


  1. Anonymous7:58 PM

    I agree with your observations entirely. Over the years I have collected for the Order of St John in Angus and Dundee. It is always those most able to afford something who manage to walk by. The record for me was Boots corner in Dundee, 45 minutes without a penny in the can.

    By the way, officially the rule now is that you should not ask for donations by importuning (???) the passersby!

  2. Mmm. I knew about that ruling - but I couldn't help wondering how well-defined "importuning" was! Smiling broadly and shaking my can seemed more natural than standing baw-faced - I don't do baw faced, really. A
    nd as for "Life before death" - an explanation of my presence!