Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Charity Case

It's 3:30PM on a balmy Friday afternoon. Philip and I are in Kingston for our second time today. Now before you ask why, I will say that we aren't wildly in love with our hometown. No, you see we are here to film for our debut video for our YouTube channel.

We reach the section of the High Street by the Bentalls Centre and then we are approached by a man in a blue top. I could tell he was one of those people who pound the streets trying to get citizens to give money to charity. I had two reasons to believe this. First, I have previously been lured in by these people and ended up giving money to a charity. Second, he was wearing a Battersea Dogs and Cats Home T-shirt and he was holding a clip board.

"Oh wow cool camera" said the man, who we got to quickly know as Waleed. I could tell he was good at his job. His opening gambit was impressive. Philip was drawn in by this conversation wizard, the fool. Philip and Waleed then proceeded to discuss cameras and the fact Philip wanted to be a film director despite the fact he is studying geography at University. Waleed certainly had his game face on. He had struck quickly and found Philip to be easy prey. Someone he felt he could get to sign up to charity, quite possibly because he was walking around a Greater London borough with a video camera nonchalantly in hand.

 Waleed then posed a question that rapidly drew the conversation round to his advantage. "Do either of you like dogs or cats?" This was a tricky situation. It would appear rude to say I hated dogs and cats in front of someone on behalf of the premiere dog and cat charity in the country, yet I didn't want to lie to Waleed. I responded with a casual "I only like declawed cats". As I said, casual. Philip though said he prefered cats, he clearly felt it important to appeal to Waleed's cat side, even though Waleed told us straight after that he wasn't exactly a fan of either even though he had a dog. At least I had offered a semi-humorous response.

When Waleed went in for the kill to see if either of us would pay £2.10 a week to help the charity, I instantly went on the defensive. "I don't think I'd be able to afford it as I already give £5 a month to Unicef", plus let's be honest, £2.10 is the price of a pint of lager. As a student, I need to think about my lager based finance before agreeing to fund the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Waleed then turned to Philip to see if he would stump up the noble fund in the name of innocent dogs and cats around the country.

It was at this point that I knew Philip wouldn't stump up the cash yet I felt it best to help Waleed. At the age of 18, he was already the Head of Direct Marketing. He had already achieved adulthood despite being two years younger than me. Philip then feigned a phone call, yet the minute that had ended we both decided to work on Philip to get him to save the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. It's not often a man can say he saved an age old charity and pilar of British life. Yet Philip didn't seem to want to take up this opportunity.

He posited to Waleed that he didn't want to give out his card details to a man in the street. This is a relatively sound point, yet Waleed assured Philip that the information he needed was still not enough for anyone bar a registered charity to break into his account. This didn't seem to convince my friend though. Then, within a flash, our friend David had turned up and it soon began to become a 3 on 1 situation. Waleed, David and I were all ganging up on Philip to get him to donate to charity.

Philip, however, reiterated his paranoia in having his credit card hacked into by giving out his details on the street despite the fact it is far more risky to give out your details on the internet in order to purchase products. He still wouldn't hand over the two small details that could allow the charity to take a weekly £2.10 from his account, two details that wouldn't be enough for Joe Bloggs to hack into his account. I assured Philip that I had given out my details on the street to Unicef before and that all was fine. He still woudn't pass over his details though.

After much discussion and probably wasting Waleed's precious time, we walked away. We had failed. Philip didn't buckle under the pressure and refused to give to charity. As much as it dissapointed me that he didn't want to give to charity, I could only admire his sheer stubborn quality in sticking to his guns. I guess you can call that an adult quality.

We then went back to Philip's house to edit our video and it was then that Philip offered us a more startling revelation. He told us his Dad didn't trust wireless internet because "anyone can hack in" despite the fact that you can security protect your network by using a password.

Suddenly, his worry that his credit card could be accessed illegally by someone due to giving out just two details to a licensed charity worker seemed a hell of a lot more sane and a lot less paranoid.

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