September 13th, 2011 19:49 EST
The High-Pressure Sell of Chariites
I was dishing out my casserole to my family when a charity called to ask for a donation. I used to be on a no-solicitation list, but I guess that list has expired because solicitors now call me daily. I will admit that the call came from a legitimate charity, but this charity calls so often I consider their efforts to be almost harassment. What is worse than the frequency of their calls is their method of getting money out of me. They use fear. How stupid that this group or any other charity has not yet realized that my response to fear is denial. You scare me; I pretend you and your cause do not exist.
This is the conversation (I am leaving out the charity`s name because I am afraid people will jump all over me for poking fun at this cause)
Charity: Hello, Mrs. Cavana (they insist on rhyming my name with banana. Truthfully, I don`t blame them as my in-laws should have thought about that before removing the "U` from Cavanagh), have you been screened for (insert disease here) this year? We see that you are now at the age where your risk of getting (insert disease) has increased greatly.
Me: Well, thank you for ruining my dinner. How do you know how old I am? Why don`t I just go crawl in a hole and die now since I am going to get this disease anyway.
Charity: Well, if you give a gift of $1,500 or more, we can put that money to research which will prevent you from getting (disease). You have no idea what it would be like to go through (insert disease).
Yes, $1,500! This woman must have been sniffing her magic markers on the other end of the phone. I almost choked on the salad that I was continuing to eat hoping the sound of me chewing would gross her out and make her want to hang up. But money solicitors don`t care about half masticated food. They don`t care if you fart in the phone if there is a chance you will take out a credit card and give them a donation. Besides the outlandish donation she was trying to extract from me, I also hated the attitude that their disease is better than everyone else`s disease. This charity collector has no idea what anyone goes through on my end of the phone and just because their disease might be different than other diseases, that doesn`t make their disease any better than other diseases--or is it worse? Well, you get my point. Okay, they are right, I have no idea what it`s like to go through this stuff, but I don`t like people assuming.
Me: I am eating dinner and frankly, you are too late for a donation. The police, firefighters, Native Americans` education fund and three dozen animal rescue organizations all beat you to my donation drawer this week. Keep me on your list and try next year.
Charity: You owe it to other women to make this your priority TODAY!
Okay, this is when charities lose me. I owe no one anything. I believe in your cause but bullying me into a donation results in the same shut down as fear: I will close my purse strings so tight that I will need the Jaws of Life to pry them open again.
Me: How is it that I am back on a call list? I asked last year to be removed because you tried to coerce me then too.
Charity: You probably gave to a similar charity and we got their list.
Well, that answered my question--the old sell or rent call and mailing lists. I have to say non-profits are tough. Will I give to this charity? Who knows? The cause is a good one but I don`t like their tactics. I understand the economy is tight, but if it`s tight for them, think about how tight it is for the people they are calling.
To be honest, when I hung up the phone, I did feel guilty that I couldn`t give them their $1,500 or even $100 this time around. Then, I started to think that I was going to get the disease because I let all women down, and then I got nervous and so to quell my nerves, I had a Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet--well, actually two--okay three, but that is all I am admitting to. After I downed my guilt food, I looked up the site for the local food bank and gave there. Hell, if I`m going to eat so much guilt food, I might as well help other people enjoy it as well. For the record: I did sleep soundly.