OUR SAY: Be careful in shopping centres

HAVE you ever been in this situation?

You're at a shopping centre, or a mall, with a long list of things to get done and not enough time to fit it all in.

You're minding your own business when some hyperactive young person leaps in your way, wearing a Red Cross or Doctors San Borders t-shirt, trying to get your attention.

Then come those dreaded "open" questions such as "Do you want to look ten years younger?" or, my favourite, "Do you want to help starving children in Africa?", to which of course, we all have to say "yes".

You know these people. Some call them charity workers. I call them what they are. A pain in the butt. The official term for these invaders of my private space is "Chugger", made up from the words charity and mugger'. The truth is that often these marketing companies offer free flights to people in return for them selling donations.

A recent investigation in the UK by the BBC discovered that the fees charged by these collection companies are so high that the charity pays more money to get your signature than most people donate in the first year.