Friday, September 14, 2012

Getting Me To Donate To Your Charity

Nothing annoys me more than when I've just sat down to a dinner that either my wife or I have just prepared, when suddenly the doorbell rings, causing my dog to go bat shit crazy, and getting between me and whatever juicy morsel that was just about the enter my mouth and excite my senses as I satisfy my need to eat.

Now, if it's a friend or family member, or perhaps the next door neighbor calling unannounced, it's not a bad thing.  Usually, I'm good with some unexpected company from friends and family.  But when I go to the door, and see some stranger standing there with a pamphlet in their hands, I get pretty annoyed.  So by  the time I actually open the door, I'm not in a good mood anymore.

Case in point, my wife had called me earlier this week to tell me that some dude had knocked on the door.  Of course, she knows better than to answer the door to strange men, so she just waited until the guy left.  Fortunately, the dog was there to discourage any sort of forced entry.  And while the guy standing at the door was probably some innocent dude just trying to make a living or get money for a charitable cause he believes in, we have determined that unless we seek you out, we are not interested.

Much of this stems from the fact that we lived in a pretty bad part of town for the last few years, and more often than not, a solicitor was just a person trying to case the joint and see if you had anything worth stealing.  A few others were door to door salesmen, trying to sell windows, magazine subscriptions, products you don't need or want, or religious people trying to convince me that somehow my religion was the wrong choice.

Back to my story, the same guy came knocking on our door again this evening.  I was right in the middle of pretending I was a typewriter as I worked on a hot, juicy, and perfectly crunchy piece of corn-on-the-cob.  Before I knew it, the doorbell went off, and the dog, again, was howling loud enough to wake the dead.  Of course, I didn't tell the dog to knock it off because what's the point of having a guard dog that doesn't guard? (Come to think of it, perhaps the stranger knocking wasn't such a bad idea after all.)  My wife peaked around the corner and saw it was the same guy as last time.  Alright, I told her I was going to answer the door and deal with it.  Though I've lost a bunch of weight, I'm still a big, tall dude and can fill a doorway rather imposingly.  I went to the door and cracked it open just enough for the dude to see I'm no small fry and looked him over as if I was about to kill him.

At first, he kind of tried to make an obviously uncomfortable encounter (for him) easier by saying "It's getting dark, I'm dark - don't shoot me."  I just stared coldly at him.  Then he started in on the sob story about how he is a former gang member trying to make a future for his daughter, yadda yadda yadda.  I've heard this all before.  When he put out his hand to shake mine, he said, "Who do I have the pleasure of talking to?"  My right hand was placed out of sight obviously and intentionally, and even though I didn't have a gun in it, he didn't know that.  I told him I was not interested in what he was selling.  He then went on in a vain attempt to guilt me into paying attention.  Fed up with these tried and worn out attempts at getting me to release my hard-earned money, I told him to kick rocks and then I closed the door.

You see, I've heard this song and dance hundreds of times, and it always starts the same way.  I may have been born at night, but I wasn't born last night.  I've also known some unfortunate victims of burglary because they were duped into allowing strangers to either enter their homes or give a good enough view into the household that the so-called solicitor could see it would be worth a trip back when the good homeowners were not home.  Dad taught me to never let people into the home, nor do you allow them to even see inside.  As a former police officer, he's seen his fair share of unfortunate occurrences of home invasion and burglary as a result of such things.

Now, you probably think I'm one cold hearted son-of-a-bitch because I don't donate to charity from people going door-to-door collecting funds.  Well, you couldn't be more wrong.  I donate to charities of MY choosing in my own time.  If a charity peaks my interest, and the organizations politics don't contradict my own, then I am more than willing to open my wallet and give.  Some of the more annoying donation attempts are the ones at stores like Target or Smiths, where they ask, "Would you like to donate a dollar to such and such?"  No, in fact, until I know what they really support, then the answer is a big hell no!  Now, what I might do is ask them to give me information on the charity itself, go home and research it.  Satisfied that the organization doesn't support gun control, the Obama Administration, Planned Parenthod, etc, then not only will I donate a simple dollar, but give quite a bit more than that.  That's how I roll.  I'm generous with my donations, but you'd damn well better agree with my politics.  I'm not going to give money to organizations that work to destroy my rights and privileges.  That's not cold hearted.  That's just common sense.

Now, there are obvious ways to get me to donate to you.  And there are ways not to.  Follow along as I rant about how to get my money out of me.

1. Appeal to my interests, tastes, or causes.  The NRA gets money from me every month because I agree with their agenda.  So does the 9-11 memorial fund.  The BSA always gets some cash out of me when I see them at Wal Mart or the like because I fully support the BSA and what they stand for.  The Girl Scouts always sell me cookies, and quite a lot.

2. Don't knock on my door.  Look, if I want to donate to your cause, I'm going to seek you out.  Or I'm going to find out about you through other affiliations that I have.  When I get a piece of mail from an organization saying "here's some other organizations you might like," I give them a chance.  I've also donated to relief efforts through church or work, food drives, etc because these are organizations that I am aligned with, and aside from the satisfaction I get from helping my fellow man, I'm not working to destroy what I stand for while doing it.

3. If you do knock on my door, don't excite my paranoia by making statements about how you're a black man, who used to be a gang member, and don't ask me not to shoot you.  That doesn't work.  In other words, don't make it about race.  I'm not a racist, but I believe in racial profiling, and if you go there, then it's your damn fault.

4. Don't attempt to guilt me into anything.  I'm not responsible for whatever situation you, or your organization is trying to stop or affect.  I've never clubbed a baby seal, nor have I beaten my spouse, so trying to make it about me is ineffective.  I understand that you are trying to raise awareness, but I have this thing called the internet, and there are commercials on the radio, t.v., facebook, etc.  If anything, I'm already inundated with awareness, and the last thing I need for you to do is tell me how fish are suffering because BP is dumping millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico; I watch CNN too.

5. If you try to tell me that my neighbors just donated to you, and that's your premise for why I should, then you'll find out how an oak door feels when it hits you in the nose.  I'm not my neighbors.  My neighbor across the street drinks on his front porch and smokes cigarettes while pushing his girl on a bike with training wheels. Clearly, I'm not him.  That's not to say I'm better than he is, but I'm simply pointing out differences. The last time I checked, I was my own person who was in control of my own destiny.

6. Don't argue with me. If I say I'm not interested, then I'm not interested. Don't try to argue my money out of me. That doesn't work.  In fact, you might excite me enough to remove you from my property by force.

7.  Never, EVER tell me that my religion is wrong.  I actually had some evangelical Christian tell that my religion is wrong, after I told him I was satisfied with the one I have. Of course, I had made the mistake of telling him what religion I followed when he asked which one it was.  Live and learn I guess.  Nowadays, I just tell them to kindly leave and then close the door.

8. By now, you can probably tell I'm a little more right wing than left wing. But if you come to my door trying to convince me to follow any politician, you're going to wind up sitting on your ass when my door hits you in the face. I know my politics. I don't need some twenty-something from the SEIU telling me what I need to believe with scripted talking points.

Okay, that's it for my rant.

-James

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