Please assure me I am not being fogeyishly intolerant in objecting to the charity chuggers who bother me in our local supermarket.

Waitrose no doubt thinks it is burnishing its reputation for care in the community, so to speak, by allowing these people to operate at the entrance to its Botley Road store. But this member of the community – and I suspect I am not alone – dislikes being placed under moral pressure by these pests.

The charities, I concede, are often the worthiest causes. Recently the tin has been rattled for the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, the British Heart Foundation and Great Ormond Street Hospital (which, after the Charlie Gard court battle, needs all the friends it can get).

Somebody called Lord Joffe (me neither; he was a civil rights barrister) wrote to The Sunday Times in defence of chugging a while back (it had to be a while back since he died in June).

His letter – in response to criticism aired in the newspaper – was not long, and so I shall quote in full.

He wrote: “Unjustified attacks on the charitable sector undermine the confidence of the public and will deprive charities of the funds they need to support the less fortunate in our society.

“The charitable sector, unlike the business sector, does not have the money to advertise aggressively to attract support and should be free to approach the public personally, by direct mail, the telephone or the media. This is not ‘hounding people’, as it is not a burden to say no to any requests.”

There are those who might say – I certainly do – that the charities seem to have sufficient money to lavish huge quantities of it on their executives. This is a scandal as unchecked and stinky as that involving the pay of university vice-chancellors, including Oxford’s Professor Louise Richardson (£410,000 per annum, including pension).

Quoting one of his predecessors, Lord Patten has said that “without a chancellor there could be no vice-chancellor”. This might suggest that his post could usefully be abolished.

Salary cuts for charity bosses would enable charities to spend on advertising, as Joffe suggested.

I should say spend more because while the sector’s advertising might not be aggressive – whatever that means – it is certainly the case that large sums are shelled out across the media.

Significantly wide of the mark was his lordship’s claim that it was not a burden simply to say no.

Not a burden, maybe, but for many of us a refusal to lend support for a charity leaves us feeling uncomfortable. Who wants to present themselves as an uncaring tightwad?

By contrast, pointing out that one is already a donor to good causes – perhaps indicating which ones and how generously – makes one appear complacent and boastful. This again is not a good feeling.

My general ploy is to affect a rushing urgency in my passing of the chuggers, indicating that I might be happy to discuss their concerns all day were there not other pressing matters to attend to.

This works rather better at Oxford railway station, another hunting ground for charity scroungers. Shame on Great Western Railway for permitting it.

Charity begins at home and where making donations is concerned, it should perhaps stay there.

In our homes we are likely to receive, as Lord Joffe acknowledged, cold calls on the telephone. I had one a few days ago, at nine in the evening. All was sweetness and light until I observed that I was not prepared to tolerate calls so late. “Why did you pick up the phone then?” the caller snarled.

A friend supplied me with a splendid wheeze for dealing with phone pests who are out to discover as much as they can about you. Just answer all their questions with any lie that happens to come into your head. Carry on doing this until it starts to get boring, and then tell the caller that everything you have said is a fib and ring off.

With ambulance-chasing law firms, eager to secure you compensation for an accident, simply ask: “Which accident; I have had so many?” That truly throws a spanner in the works.