Thursday, May 31, 2007

Charity coin drops

Maybe this is a local thing -- I certainly had enough trouble finding pictures of it online -- but every summer, I find myself infuriated by charity coin drops. This is where some charity, maybe a good one (like funding a fire department) and maybe less good (like funding a school trip) decides that the best way to raise money is to stop traffic on some major artery and practice extortion, all but demanding coins from every passing car.

Well, I appreciate that you really want to earn some cash, but here's the thing. I include at least a thousand dollars a year in my charity donations. I choose very carefully where this money goes, to support causes I want to support and where I think my dollars will go the farthest. I don't give my money to the loudest or most obnoxious people merely because they're in my face -- in fact, I tend to lean away from them, and in favor of those who are quietly using my money primarily to help people, not to pester me for more money while wasting paper and my time.

The fact that you got a permit to inconvenience me and thousands of other people today is not sufficient reason to override all of that. Nor are your puppy-dog eyes or your ineffectual grimace as I pass you by. You think I'm a cold and uncaring person because I choose not to participate in your extortion, but I'm really just choosing more carefully than you are how to allocate my charity.

So give up this intrusive and insulting approach to charity and try something else, please. Because I am not about to start encouraging you.

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