Grrr, carol "singers"

Was just upstairs about to put M down for a nap when I heard much bashing at the front door. I was expecting DH home any minute with a load of heavy equipment, so I thought it might be him needing help with it, so I ran downstairs. As I ran the doorbell was ringing furiously.

I opened the door to see a boy of about 9 or 10 standing there, holding out an (empty) bucket expectantly and saying "Merry Christmas" in a sullen tone of voice. An older teenage girl standing at the end of the drive called out to him "You have to sing, you know! Sing Jingle Bells or something!" He stuck out his lower lip and said "Awwww, no!" and looked at me expectantly again. I said "Nope, sorry, you're going to have to sing!" (trying to be jokey) at which point he turned round with his back to me, hid around the side of the house and SAID (not SUNG) "jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh" then reappeared at the door and held out the bucket. At this point I decided I would just give him 10p or something to minimise the amount of time I was stood there with the door open letting all the cold air in, so I told him to hang on and got my purse. When I got to the door I discovered I only had £1 and £2 coins in my purse. Against my better judgement I put a £1 in his bucket, which he looked at, made a snooty face as if to say "that's all?!" and walked off. As he walked off the woman/girl said "That's a good boy. Now let's go to the next house."

!!??!! I am so steamed. If I had had more time and not had M crying for a nap upstairs I would have gone after him and forced the little brat to say thank you or give it back. Also if I'd realised I didn;t have any small change I'd have got him a couple of cookies or something instead (hah, I would have loved to see his reaction to THAT!) It might have been cute if he'd been 3 or 4 years old but at that age? I think not.

I have nothing against legitimate carol singers, *especially* if they are collecting for charity but even if they are just out to make a bit of cash. But this really got my goat.

Grrr. I'm annoyed now.
Do you realise that it's actually illegal for people under 16 to collect money door-to-door, even if it's for charity?
Huh! How interesting. What about selling stuff? I remember when I was a kid, I'd sell magazines to my neighbors to raise money for the band or something. I never went soliciting door to door, as I didn't feel comfortable with that, just asking neighbors that I was friends with. But other kids were real salesmen and would go up and down the street knocking on doors.
Seriously? I had no idea. Hmm. If I'd known that I would have just said something like "sorry, do you realise this is illegal"... it's possible the girl with him was over 16, though, which would presumably make it OK (at least, when I was at school, a bunch of us used to go carol singing with a teacher each year and no-one ever said asnything about that being illegal...)

Interesting, thanks!
If you're collecting for charity you need to be over 16 (or accompanied by someone of that age) and with a licence. We used to collect for Christian Aid using the envelopes - we could help my mother put the envelopes through the doors but couldn't collect by ourselves till we were 16 and had a badge.

It's slightly different if you're selling a product, but even then I think you're supposed to be accompanied by an adult.

(The kids round here try this every year. Last year it was "Penny for the Guy" before Halloween. I make a point of not giving money at the door except to registered charities and licenced collectors - and even that's infrequent as I prefer direct debit. I *never* give money to kids. Sweets, yes. Money, no.)
I just said "not interested, thanks" and shut the door when a bunch of barely-tuneful kids turned up the other night. They don't seem have burnt the house down or anything.
You know, I must be really naive because the possibility of revenge for non-payment never even occurred to me until I told DH about the whole incident later and he said "Oh well, at least now the house won't get torched tonight."

Of course, the way the little snot looked at the £1 coin I then started to think it just *might* get torched because £1 didn't seem to be enough! Anyway, we are still here and not a smouldering ruin this morning so I guess it was OK. Sigh.