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Volunteers Paying To Volunteer Not Going Over Well In Scotland

Even though it happened at the last Ryder Cup in Wales and is a regular occurrence in the States, Scottish government officials are barking about the cost to volunteer for the 2014 Ryder Cup and the silliness of volunteers paying to volunteer for an event that is a cash cow.

Brian Donnelly on the overdue brouhaha.

Stephen Boyd, STUC, assistant secretary, said the plan was not spreading the potentially huge economic benefits throughout the population.

He added: "When I heard the news, I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing.

"You would have thought this was a good chance to give young people a bit of work, especially given the economic climate. Clearly these jobs are open to middle-class people who are interested in golf and have the money to spend on the registration fee.

"It's really quite unacceptable, and no-doubt against the vision of what the Scottish Government had for this event."

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Reader Comments (19)

Apparently one has to pay £75 (registration fee) for the 'privilege' of working for nothing.

I just hope any scots thinking of applying will dig out their grippie gene and tell them to get stuffed!
I paid $160 to be a volunteer at the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club last summer. Four 5-hour shifts (I was manning a cash register in the Merch Tent) and $160 out-of-pocket against Polo uniform consisting of two shirts, jacket, hat, and water bottle, plus meals and all-days access to the tournament (tix would have cost ~$625, IIRC) – pretty fair trade, in my opinion.

It was my first volunteer gig, but I met others who do this every year, from all over the country. There were even some volunteers there who had worked every SF Open since 1966!
02.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWill o'the Glen
dont want pony up? don't. seems there are plenty of people who want to do this sort of thing. why not leave em alone.
02.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd
c&c -

"grippie gene"? Even teh google doesn't know this one. Can you expand - it sounds like a great expression!

I have a Canadian prof who is doing a sabbatical with me and he just taught me "Bob's your uncle", and so I am always looking to expand my vocabulary in new and interesting ways.
02.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
Grippie is a Scots term for mean Rick-as in keep a grip on your cash!!A very apt description.
Several of my members volunteer every year at Gleneagles during the Johnnie Walker tournament-but I don't see many of them paying for the privelege-but plenty will so I can't see it being a big problem.
02.1.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchico
It's a cultural thing. We Scots are notoriously mean, a perception we have carefully cultivated over the centuries, just so that everyone is pleasantly surprised when we offer to buy a round of drinks. It's in the culture to originate sardonic, self-deprecating jokes like "Newspaper Headline - HIGH STREET HORROR - two cabs collide in Aberdeen - 16 dead!".

But there's also a huge egalitarian streak, that reveres a person's labour, be they street-sweeper or brain surgeon. A man or woman's time is their own and is valuable, and respected; the value of everyone's labour is honoured. Ask for someone's help in Scotland and you'll get it; but to ask them to give of their time and then charge them for gifting it is a huge gaffe. They would help, without question - but ask them to pay to help and you've got no chance.

And I think C&C's "grippie gene" is the Scotsman's readiness to stand up for what's fair and against that which is discriminatory. We can become quite fearsome when angered. PG Wodehouse did remark that there was no difficulty in distinguishing between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine!

Got it? Bob's your uncle!
02.1.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfourputter
I've no idea why this Boyd fellow thinks the Ryder Cup has anything to do with either the STUC or The Scottish Government! It's a golf event for golfers, run by golf businesses for the several million TV viewers it pulls in every 2 years. I don't think the 5 or 6 days walking about the Gleneagles estate is a career or indeed the steppingstone for some of our young unemployed. I will willingly pay the £75 for the chance to be part of a world wide sporting event that I probably won't see this close to home again. If Mr Boyd or the self elected future King of Scotland, Alex Salmod, think they own or have any say in the running of the Ryder Cup they are as delusional as they appear in print!
02.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHacker Tom
Hi there Rick. Grippie's a great word to describe someone who's a bit tight-fisted with their money. The add-on word "gene" was spur of the moment and fourputter has summed up pretty much what I meant by it but, far more eloquently.
c&c - chico - fourputter -

Thanks for the info... It is a great word to have stored away for the occasional use - and I like the addition of gene as well. Like the comedian Steve Martin used to say - it is almost like you guys have a different word for everything! :-)
02.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
@ Will o'the glen ... all depends on whether or not you rate Polo. The uniform at The Open this year was crap!

As far as I'm aware, volunteers at The Open don't pay anything and get cash at the end of the week to help cover expenses. It's mostly young people who make up the bulk of volunteers and they love it. This is what should be happening at Gleneagles but it won't happen (unless they come from well-off families) because of the registration fee and the cost of travel (the Gleneagles area is not exactly a metropolis). Seems that most of the volunteers will be made up of senior citizens. What a shame.
Further to my earlier post, I did eventually look up "grippie" in a directory of Scots words and it is indeed the equivalent of "mean". I think it may be an east coast term, probably of a provenance lost in the North Sea mists of time. They are a strange, dark people, they of the east.

So my etymological flight of fancy, based on "gripe" rather than "grip", landed in the wrong place. Never mind, the world will continue to rotate.

In re-reading my earlier post I see I used an inappropriate turn of phrase. Where I wrote that others would be "pleasantly surprised" at a Scotsman buying a round of drinks, I should have said "stunned and overjoyed".

02.1.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfourputter
Doesn't exactly do anything to refute the old axiom that golf is a game for the elites.
02.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndy
Myself and most of the "volunteers" at this year's Ryder Cup at Medinah paid $235. But between the clothing (that probably would have cost even more than $235 in the merchandise tent), lunch and access to the event each day, it was a pretty good deal and I didn't hear any of my fellow volunteers complaining. They even gave us an extra practice day ticket.

The other thing to consider is those willing to pay a bit to "volunteer" are likely going to take it serious and actually show up. Having recruited volunteers myself for various events...the reliability of those who had nothing invested was less than stellar.
02.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
never gotten anything fron a scotsman except being stabbed in the back.
02.1.2013 | Unregistered Commentered
ed the hammer? Is that you, Edward I?
02.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
I am sorry if I am offending any of you whom have volunteered, and paid for the job, but I was in the promtional products business, and at the mentioned prices fr the clothing received, the sponsoring body is making quite a profit on the volunteers. I think the notion of paying to volunteer, to contribute to the overall ''profit'' of the event, that is, more money to the charity deemed the recipient sits better with my rationalizing than the idea of ''the clothes are worth it'', and I know that is a poor paraphrase, so forgive me for being lax in my consideration of yall's statements.

Anyway, if you enjoy it, and it seems you all do, and you hav the spare money, then I say who am I to judge. But remember, the ''charity'' in the Ryder Cup is the Organizations, the PGA and the R&A (R&A- is that right??? I don't think so)

So I am reducd to a blathering idiot, forgive me and have a good evening, I am watching my DVR of the gold mining in Alaska, ad then the days activities with Phil and all.

Goood Night!
02.1.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
And by mean, you don't mean cruel, you mean thrifty, miserly, cheap, tight-fisted, close-fisted, stingy, parsimonious. I don't think I've heard the word mean used in the States to imply frugality since I was a kid in the 60s, it has fallen utterly out of use. It does give a whole new meaning to the (Grateful) Deadheads bumper sticker "Mean People Suck."
02.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterF. X. Flinn

That's interesting. Although I've lived on this side of the pond for decades, and am fully aware of the "cruel" meaning of the word "mean" here, I've always regarded it as a tangential, slang, usage, something a child might say.

In Britain, its usage as an adjective, is synonymous with "miserly" etc.; thrifty and parsimonious are too kind, and the "cruel" usage is almost never heard - perhaps, rarely, "mean-spirited" would be used to capture that condition, rather than "mean" itself.

I'll look out for that in future, so that I don't inadvertently insult anyone!

02.3.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfourputter
It is indeed quite bizarre to charge volunteers - I've been a volunteer for 16 years at various European Tour events, never got paid of course, received a polo shirt, cap, rainjacket and free lunch. This is taking the commercialisation of the Ryder Cup to a new level - having said that I have applied and notice that my application number is 33005, so I'm guessing they're not short of choices !
02.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdavid

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