Thursday, February 04, 2010

Excuse Me, Would You Like to Make a Donation, or Are You a Complete Douchebag?

As a nonprofiteer, I can tell you that charity is a wonderful thing. I can also tell you that I am sick to death of being hit up for money everywhere I go.

Fresh, eerily zitless young fundraisers for Human Rights Campaign and Greenpeace have an ongoing turf war outside of my office. I simply cannot run out for a sandwich without some preternaturally cheerful kid asking if I have a moment for gay rights or the environment. The implication is that if I cannot spare a moment for their sales pitch, I am a horrid person who hates the Earth and all the gays upon it.

But, oh, it gets worse. I can't buy nacho cheese dip at the Safeway without being asked for a dollar for breast cancer. (I'm sure they mean the prevention/treatment of breast cancer, but I like to picture a tumor holding a tin cup.) So I guess I hate boobs, too.

Last night was the final straw: a very nice cashier at Borders hit me with the nickel bag tax (aka, the absentmindedness surcharge), and then asked if I wanted to buy a bag of coffee for the troops. I demurred, because, THE HELL? If Borders wants to support the troops, they should do so on their own dime. Don't make me out to be un-American because I want to buy a few puzzle books and get on with my life.

I told the cashier that I don't throw donations around willy-nilly, instead, I make a budget and a plan, research charities, and give wisely. His response was along the lines of, "So, you're broke. Hey, it's cool."

No, I'm not broke. I have enough money that I can afford to give some away. I just want to do so on my own terms, instead of being shaken down for loose change every time I make a purchase.

So that's the state of modern charity: You're either a selfish uncharitable douche; or you're too broke to support the troops, but you can still afford to buy vacuous fashion magazines. So, you're still a selfish uncharitable douche. Douched if you do, douched if you don't.

In the comments, tell me if you have a moment to leave a comment. If you don't, you hate me, my blog, and everything it stands for.

21 comments:

Brando said...

It's kind of brilliant in a way--they don't have to fork over a dime of their own money and yet through guilt pressure (since you have to look them in the face when you say "screw that charity!") they probably raise quite a bit and get credit for it.

As for anyone asking if I have a moment for the environment I usually have to just give them a quick "no". It's easier than getting into a debate about how ramming Japanese fishing vessels and putting long bolts into logging trees is morally repugnant.

Malnurtured Snay said...

Oh my, was that my store?

Corporate pushes the coffee sales. Lot of pressure on booksellers for them. Write a nasty letter to however the CEO is; that response from the cashier is odd. I'm usually pretty surprised when someone says "Yes, I would like to donate a bag of coffee."

Dagny Taggart said...

This sort of thing gets me SO annoyed. Let's not even get me started on the CFC and how it it exemplifies so very much that is wrong with charitable giving.

Of course, one could point out to companies like Borders that they aren't doing so hot, and maybe it would be more beneficial for them to guilt customers into purchasing more ... product?

imgonnabreakyourheart said...

I couldn't NOT comment. I, too, am a non-profiteer. One who is very short on time, and budgets time for all I want to accomplish. Now, I just doled out several seconds (maybe even a minute!) for you. I hope you appreciate it. (smile.)

Shannon said...

Brando - It's genius in terms of PR in terms of getting credit, but I wonder if they lose business by hassling people. Ever since Safeway started shaking me down for random charities, I've been going to Harris Teeter more often.

Snay - Nope, it was 14th and F. The cashier was nice, I just HATE being hit up for cash by a major corporation that, presumably, has more cash than I do.

Dagny - It's possible that the coffee they "Donate" to the troops has a really high markup, and they're making money on teh deal. I wouldn't put it past them.

i'mgonnabreakyourheart - Since you have a moment for my blog, would you prayerfully consider a donation?

Zipcode said...

Amen for this post

Mr. J said...

It happened to me yesterday whilst walking around the snowless streets of D.C., "Can you spare some time for the children?"

What I wanted to say was, "I give plenty of time to children daily. I'm a teacher."

But I tactfully ignored him, so the questioner just thought me to be a child-eating monster douche. Oh well.

Shannon said...

Zipcode - TESTIFY!

Mr. J - You should have said, "Depends, how many are you selling?"

Also, y'all? The gay rights and environmentalists were bumped in favor of BANK REFORM. That's a little random...what's next, antidisestablishmentarianism?

Lemon Gloria said...

This drives me crayayayayzy. I hate being asked if I have a minute for the environment or starving children or whatever. It is totally calculated to make you feel like saying no = screw the planet/let the orphans starve/whatever. I've been asked so many times by now, though, that I probably could tell one of them I hate the planet without batting an eye.

Alex said...

well, they wouldn't have those zitless kids out on the street if it didn't work. It annoys me too, but as long as the cause/organization are something I support i try not to get *too* annoyed.

If it's a respectable organization that is doing something I like, I'll usually say something like "not giving right now but i support your work." You don't want those zitless kids getting disillusioned before they're even 25.

Shannon said...

Lemon Gloria - You know, it's OK to screw the planet if that's what you're into.

Alex - The issue I have is that these kids are generally working for a company that farms them out - so they aren't even working for Greenpeace or whoever. And the sponsoring charity doesn't get enough of the proceeds to make it ok. It's better to just send your donation directly.

BatesHorn said...

I ALREADY WORK for a non profit. Making chicken scratch to improve the state of American science. I'm doing my part.

And hey, gin ain't getting any cheaper.

FoggyDew said...

Never ever had a problem telling someone asking me for a moment of my time for some cause to pound sand. The fun ones last year were the folks outside Nats' park with a petition to keep Exxon from becoming the named sponsor of the park. I had fun with them.

Shannon said...

BatesHorn - Gin only gets cheaper when you start making your own.

Foggy - To pound sand? I don't even know what that means!

Alex said...

Shannon, really? i just assumed it was committed naive young things who'd never actually worked for one of these orgs. That's even funnier than the unions that hire homeless people to picket office buildings downtown!

Malnurtured Snay said...

Shannon - this is Borders you're talking about, y'know, stock is cheaper than coffee (with an employee discount)

FoggyDew said...

To pound sand - To take hike and "pound the sand with your feet."

Marissa said...

"Douched if you do, douched if you don't."

HAHAHAHAHAHAH! This just made my week :)

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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