Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Collectee Species and How to Spot Them.

So here we go again. The highlight of any Salvationist’s calendar, the Red Shield Annual Appeal is here once more. I’ve decided this year, as an aid to new and old Collectors alike, I would put together a guide outlining the various types of people that the Collector is likely to come into contact with during the collecting period. Below is the result of 7 years worth of collecting experience. This list is by no means exhaustive and, in the name of collaborative research, I would appreciate any other species that you may have come into contact with over the years (this offer is open to Salvationist and Non-Salvationist alike – although there are many of you who have not had the Annual Appeal experience, we have all had various opportunities that have allowed us to observe the human being when faced with the dilemma of whether to give generously or not). Thank you.

The Joyful Giver
Fortunately one of the most common species of Collectee. Found in most environments, the Joyful Giver is pleasant and approachable, often expressing gratitude for the opportunity to give. A good source of refreshment and emotional nourishment for the Collector.
Favourite Saying: “Oh no – thank you

The Absentee
The Absentee is a difficult species to find, namely because they are simply not at home. Unlike most other species, the Absentee cannot be blamed for not giving. It is usually expected in this situation for the Collector to leave an envelope and a “We Missed You” leaflet in the hope that the Absentee will send some money by post upon their return.
Favourite Saying: “I do enjoy the south of France this time of year” (NB – all Absentees can be found in the South of France)

The “Absentee”
Not to be confused with the Absentee, the “Absentee” can usually be spotted by the open windows and blaring television as well as the 3 cars in the driveway. Other tell-tale signs are the ruffling of the net curtains at the front of the house and the hushed whispers of “shut up it’s the Salvation Army”. Often the most frustrating species of Collectee, the “Absentee” divides into two main sub-categories. The Stealth-“Absentee” can be tricky to spot unless you know what you’re looking for. Those oddly shaped bulges in the front room furniture are most likely to be “Absentees” in disguise (the more experienced Stealth-“Absentee” will have fashioned full bodysuits appropriately configured to match the design of the sofa. The less experienced, on the other hand, may choose to hide beneath the cushions). Also, listen out for the very faint sound of a less experienced Stealth-“Absentee” crawling on their stomach past the front door (the more experienced can do this in complete silence).

The other sub-category is the Blatant-“Absentee” who will usually work on the assumption that the Collector is some form of socially rejected idiot. The Blatant-“Absentee” will make no attempts to act as if no one is in but will simply insist that such is the case through the letter box.
Favourite Saying: “Go away, we’re not in”

The Deliberate Absentee
Almost identical to the Absentee, only the truly experienced Collector can determine the Deliberate Absentee from its non-deliberate cousin. The Deliberate Absentee has a keen eye for the Collector and will maintain to be away from the house by the time the Collector reaches the front door. The Collector should look for signs that the Absentee has left in a hurry. The biggest giveaways are doors left unlocked, the smell of gas from an oven that has not been turned off and skid marks in the driveway that are still smoking.
Favourite Saying: “Right kids, get your coats on. We’re off to see Grandma…Because I said so that’s why”

The Reluctant Giver
A distant cousin of the Joyful Giver, the Reluctant Giver has no desire to give but will feel guilty if s/he does not. Often feeling pressure from a spouse or offspring, the Reluctant Giver will hand over the money but will rarely do so without communicating (in various levels of subtlety) the inconvenience the Collector has caused. Aspires to be an Excuse Finder.
Favourite Saying: “What? Oh. Um. (Thinks. Sighs.) Hang on a minute”

The War Vet
Often among the favourite Collectee species, the War Vet will usually be the most pleased to encounter the Collector. This species will almost always be in their 70’s or 80’s and will have vivid memories of the work of the Salvation Army during the war. Not content without sharing a story or two, the War Vet often provides a major boost to the jaded Collector who can’t remember why they’re collecting in the first place.
Favourite Saying: “Of course in those days…”

The Excuse Finder
Slightly evolved from the Reluctant Giver, this particular species isn’t so worried about feeling guilty by not giving but more concerned about looking selfish by not giving without a good reason. Will often scan the porch area under the pretence of looking for some spare change but will be using that time to think of an adequate excuse. May sometimes morph into a Reluctant Giver depending on mood or company.
Favourite Saying: “Oh. Um. Well I don’t… er…we’re just about to have…um…I gave to a charity yesterday and erm…I’ve got children and they might er…I’m a bit strapped for um…I can’t quite get to the er…you know…sorry.”

The Copper Handler
An expert in slight of hand, the Copper Handler specialises in making a gift of 15p seem quite substantial by paying it in single pennies. This species thrives off envelope giving, preferring to unload his/her copper into an envelope in private and then return with a rather hefty package to present to the Collector. Collection boxes will occasionally throw the Copper Handler off guard but will hardly ever deter them completely. In the event of a collection box, this Collectee likes to hide their donation with their hand as it goes in. This clever trick gives the impression that many pounds worth of coins are being dropped into the box when it is, in fact, no more than the aforementioned 15p.
Favourite Saying: “Deidra, do we have any shrapnel for the Sally Army?” (NB – all Copper Handlers have a wife named Deidra)

The Instant Refuser
Never usually prepared to hear what the Collector has to say, the Instant Refuser works on instinct. S/he sees the collection box and reacts immediately, refusing to be duped by clever words. The Instant Refuser species may well be soon going into decline as there are far too few female members to keep this breed alive.
Favourite Saying: “No thanks mate, not today”

The House Sitter
A sub-species of the Excuse Finder, the House Sitter deserves a special mention for the spectacular quality of excuse that is employed upon the request for cash. The House Sitter, whilst performing the most impressive of apologetic looks will insist that they are unable to give anything as the homeowner is currently away. One can only assume, therefore, that there is a distinct language barrier between the Collector and the House Sitter. In the House Sitter’s language “Hello, I’m collecting on behalf on the Salvation Army” is loosely translated into “Hi, I’m going round door to door collecting council tax”. In such a scenario, it is usually best to apologise and then explain (slowly and using hand gestures where possible) that you’re not selling home insurance but are simply after loose change.

The Exclusive
Belonging to the Joyful Giver family, this sub-species only gives to the Salvation Army and wants you to know that they only give to the Salvation Army.
Favourite Saying: “I only give to the Salvation Army”

Friday, September 15, 2006

Schools, Jobs and Giant Dogs - Intrigued?

Ok so it's been a while. So just to keep you up to speed, this is what I've been up to the past month:

1) SWSCA. Had a great time at South Western School of Christian Arts helping Claire Brine out with the drama. Although it involved a heavy amount of pride swallowing, it was nice to be able to assist in the drama option as opposed to leading it. Claire and I do things very differently and I learnt a lot from her that week. It was also nice being able to relax and meet some new people. The kids at this school were amazing. I've never known such a close and yet completely inclusive group. The staff team were really cool as well and I had a lot of fun (incase you doubt me, here's a photo of me discovering that peppers can be used rather effectively as fake tongues - this is my impression of Gene Simmons in a sulk):

2) New Job. Woo hoo! New job. My final day at Wesley Owen is on Monday and I start my new job, working in schools with a schools youth ministry in Chelmsford on Monday week. At this point I should give a certain amount of credit to Matt White who found me the job, recommended me to the job and was even kind enough to go to my interview and answer all their questions for me (you think I'm joking). I'm looking forward to starting although I have just over a week before my first day and I still have absolutely no idea where I'm going to live. I could maybe be a little more organised than I am right now.

3) Town Show. Last weekend proved to be a really positive experience for Enfield Corps as we took part in the town show. We made a lot of good contacts and relationships were formed and we're hoping people will start coming through our doors as a result. I did, however, have to spend the weekend inside a giant dog outfit cuddling kids. Patch the Dog went down really well at the show and a lot of people wanted their photos taken (and not just little kids either. Had I known how excited teenage girls get at the sight of giant cuddly animals I'd have spent most of secondary school in costume). It's fair to say that Patch was probably the star of the show, which is fine when you're not actually in Patch the star of the show. I started off doing an hour-long parade through Enfield inside the creature (a trial not helped by my decision that it would be really funny to have a giant dog street-dancing to band marches) and by the end of it I genuinely looked like I'd just been swimming. My clothes were drenched. It was probably not my most attractive moment (although red faced, sweaty and breathless whilst crawling out of a man-sized dog does work for some). But my matyr-like sacrifice wasn't for nothing. It was a really good weekend and hopefully some seeds have been sown.

So there you go. That's been my month. I'll try and keep this better updated from now on although I'm not sure I'm going to have that much internet access once I move (and am living in the streets due to my incompetence in finding accomodation). But I'll try.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Some Kind of Relevant Title...

Sorry for the lack of posting recently. I've just come back from South Western Summer School (or SWSCA - South Western School of Christian Arts - to its friends). I will post about it soon but for now, here's a funny Whose Line clip that I found on YouTube (YouTube by the way is a flippin' goldmine for Whose Line clips - check it out).