Increasing numbers of retailers in the city centre are complaining about the tactics of the "charity workers" who line the streets stopping shoppers in an effort to get them to sign up to standing orders for charitable donations
The workers, who are contracted and paid by a private agency, don tabards bearing a charity logo giving the impression that they are working directly for the charity itself. Many of them may well support the aims of the charities for which they are collecting but the public is often unaware that they are being paid and they may well swap their allegiances from day-to-day.
The ambush tactics whereby they line both sides of the street are also criticised since it does not give the public a chance to avoid them if they so chose. Some retailers feel that they depresses trade if they are too close to shop entrances as people are reluctant to invite the attention of the charity worker as they walk past them to enter a shop. Unlike Big Issue sellers they are not confined to any particular pitch (see KnowledgeBase for story - Perfect Pitch) and tend to work the same locations week after week. While the majority are perfectly pleasant in their demeanour a few hover dangerously close to harassment as they approach the public.
The most common complaint is that there are just too many of them. Because they are not selling any goods or services (they simply ask people to sign standing order mandates) they are not engaged in an illegal activity and so do not need to be licensed (unlike charity workers collecting money) and any code of conduct to limit their activity would have to be voluntary.
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