Don-8r: the alternative to Chuggers
June 24, 2011 9:12 AM   Subscribe

21-year-old inventor Tim Pryde has come up with an alternative to the much-circumnavigated "chuggers" (chuggers previously) ‒ solicitous-but-impossibly-cute robot "Don-8r".

I'm still not sure how I feel about being asked for money on the street for a cause I haven't researched in my own time, but I would put a coin in this guy and to hell with the cause.
posted by greenish (25 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by swift at 9:15 AM on June 24, 2011

posted by Think_Long at 9:17 AM on June 24, 2011

It's cute, and it might be effective because it's unusual. But as soon as there is one on every corner it'll be just as annoying as the humans it was designed to replace.
posted by COD at 9:24 AM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

Yeah but if you punch one in the face it's probably not assault, so that's an improvement.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:25 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best part, they're easier to loot than parking meters.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:27 AM on June 24, 2011

Yeah, when the novelty wears off, it'll just be another annoying machine. Chuggers, on the other hand, are just fine as far as I'm concerned. Smiling, saying "no thanks" and keeping walking suffices 90% of the time. They're raising money for a good cause, and you might even make a new friend - I met an ex of mine because she was raising money for Amnesty.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:30 AM on June 24, 2011

Young inventor invents invention-shaped toy with no real use or application. Can we have useful inventions now, please?
posted by Nomyte at 9:39 AM on June 24, 2011

Oh god. I work in fundraising (in direct marketing mainly) and it's hard to list all the things wrong about the idea of using this robot for face to face solicitation.

On the other hand, it's a cute robot and a gimmick, so it might have some initial success.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 9:43 AM on June 24, 2011

The robot has an advantage over the chugger because in the event of a possibly life-threatening situation, it will not resort to coercion.
posted by Meatafoecure at 9:46 AM on June 24, 2011

Homeless panhandlers will be able to stay home and relax because Don-8R does the work for you!

Oh, wait, that's not going to work..
posted by doctor_negative at 9:48 AM on June 24, 2011

So... it's an expensive donation jar which will wander into traffic of its own accord unless constantly tended to by a (presumably paid) human attendant?

Cute, though.
posted by Scientist at 9:51 AM on June 24, 2011

I have a feeling I'd be tempted to drop kick it after just a couple "hellos."
posted by crunchland at 9:54 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was a chugger my first summer out of high school. One day, I ran into an HRC canvasser who was going door to door, and we got to talking. I found out that he was making a 70% commission on all the donations he collected past $200/day, and since he was successful, that was quite a bit.

Don't know if it still works that way, but I've not been able to walk past the HRC building without shuddering a little.
posted by Vhanudux at 9:55 AM on June 24, 2011

What we need instead is something where I can fork over $X every month and in return the grinning canvassers with their clipboards and neon t-shirts will leave me the fuck alone. Seriously. I will pay cash.

(Sorry if this is anyone's living but I am in San Francisco where they're on every goddamn corner and I hate them.)
posted by eugenen at 10:14 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had chuggers real band once when I was camping.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:17 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you're making a robot, why only coins? RFID and a debit/credit slot!
posted by ODiV at 10:22 AM on June 24, 2011

Also, that thing, while cute, looks dangerously portable.
posted by ODiV at 10:23 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't know if it still works that way, but I've not been able to walk past the HRC building without shuddering a little.

There's so many other good reasons to dislike that do-nothing political-appointee-machine HRC - you can keep shuddering regardless of whether it's still or ever was that way. (and then go donate to Freedom to Marry and Lambda Legal who actually DO things)
posted by phearlez at 10:28 AM on June 24, 2011

I am more likely to be kind to small robots than to random people. I'm not really sure what that means, but damn does this prey on it.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:33 AM on June 24, 2011

Organizations that employ chuggers (human or robot) who block my way on the sidewalk and refuse to respect my right to be left alone do not get a damned penny from me. I'm no longer a member of the ACLU for this reason.
posted by brujita at 10:47 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

posted by cmoj at 11:13 AM on June 24, 2011


Exactly. F2F fundraising best practices are to ask for monthly donations through a credit or debit transfer. Asking for change is something I would fire a contractor for doing, unless it was part of a planned campaign (Salvation Army buckets or a United Way Toonie race, etc.).

Up here in Canada, Public Outreach Consultancy Inc. (the contractor who handles most nonprofit F2F fundraising in the country) wisely sends its people out without anything to hold change in or to store cheques in to avoid this situation.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 11:26 AM on June 24, 2011

Is it me, or are the chuggers around Tottenham Court Road not as bad as they used to be? Maybe I just look meaner these days...
posted by Leon at 11:33 AM on June 24, 2011

It looks like Homsar.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 12:22 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been sick of these people for years now. In San Francisco they have infiltrated almost every corner of the city where more than 5 people congregate at a time. I had taken to calling them "ambush activists," which rendered one speechless for 50 steps ("WELL HAVE A NICE DAYYY" he eventually threw after me) and another said "what?" as her face fell, so we'll see how they fare with the "chugger" moniker.
posted by rhizome at 3:43 PM on June 25, 2011

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