I’m all for organizations that help the needy. I’ve donated to the September 11th fund and countless other organizations that send me a yearly envelope for donations. I give my clothing to Good Will rather than throwing it out when it’s still wearable but might not fit me anymore. I’ve donated to both my former high school and college, almost on a yearly basis. I buy a poppy for Memorial Day and give cash to armies, scouts, cubs, cheerleaders, and other retail store front collections. Tonight I got a call from the Shriners and they will never get a red cent from me again.
It started out innocently enough. I got a call from “Help Line” according to my Caller ID, and I figured it might be a store or online shipping center calling me, so I actually answered it. There was a fairly pushy woman on the other line identifying herself as a representative of the Shriners’ Fund Raising organization. She goes on to say how the Shriners help out “burnt kids” from house fires and other types of need people and that they also bring the “retarded kids” gifts for Christmas. [Her words are in the quotes – not mine!] She stops and then asks me that if she “sends out an envelope to me, would I send in a donation of $25 or $50.”
Now, I’ve been out of work since the beginning of August. I’ve been actively looking for a new job for over five months but the sad truth is that there’s not many software programming opportunities in Connecticut. The longer I’m out of work, the more frustrating being out of work is, and after two months of it I’m already greatly annoyed by it. One of the side effect of living off unemployment is a decreased intake of Starbucks coffee. I’ve also greatly decreased my usually large toy-budget to at least one tenth of its usual size. Another change, sadly, is a pause on all donations. It’s pretty simple: when I have cash, I try to donate it to groups that I think make good use of it – the Sept. 11 fund was a no brain’r seeing as the people in the financial sector were directly responsible for helping me make money in the first place. The other organizations I consider as they approach me.
So when this woman asked me for a pledge, I politely told her that “I wasn’t able to make a donation at this time because I’m currently out of work.”
She responds with, “What about $10 or $20 then?”
“Hey, if you want to send me an envelope, fine, but I can’t commit to anything,” I say, start to think that she’s a bit cheeky.
“Oh,” she replies, “not even $10? Say, a friend of mine works for Sikorsky out there and was working there for like 26 years and she just got laid off. What’s going on out there?”
“Work is getting hard to come by in Connecticut. Everything seems to be slowing down a bit and it isn’t rebounding quickly here,” I say.
“Yeah. Well. What about just $5? Can’t you give $5?”
“Um, like I said: if you send me an envelope I will try but I cannot commit to a pledge at this time,” I repeat to her.
“Oh. What about unemployment? Aren’t you collecting from the state?” she pries.
This is where I got a bit annoyed. Who the fuck is this chick, to ask me about my finances? She asked me a question; I answered. I didn’t even say no – I said maybe, and I would asset it when I got the request for cash. And you know what? There was a 50-50 shot that I would have sent in $10 or $20 when I got the request in my hands – something about seeing it in person makes it harder to dismiss than it is over a phone, after all. I tell her that, “I am collecting but it’s a nominal amount – I cannot commit to a pledge right now.”
“Oh. Well maybe next year.” *CLICK* as she hangs up on me. She hangs up on me! She intrudes in my house and bothers me for money and then gives me attitude because I can’t help her because I’m out of work?
Well, guess what happens now: Shriners, don’t ever call me to ask for donations again – you’ve been black listed from my home and won’t get a dime from me again.