Over the years, I have received probably hundreds of cheap inducements to donate to “good causes” (bad causes rarely ask for money). You’ve all seen them — address labels (I still have address labels from about five years ago, since I send maybe five letters a year), note pads with your name on them, key tags from the War Amps, and that charity that includes a nickel in the envelope.
I never know what to do with the nickel. I could pocket it, but how cheap is that? So I usually remove the nickel, throw out the other stuff, and leave the nickel out somewhere to be absorbed into my change. Makes me feel a little less cheap.
I admit that I give very little to charity, mostly because once you give them even a few bucks, you’re their BFF. Also, I’m very cheap, which is probably the main reason I don’t give. Generally, I need all the money I have just to keep myself in yellow label groceries.
Today, the all-time topper in charitable inducements came in the mail. It’s from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and it was so huge it hardly fit in my puny little super-mailbox slot. The package included the following:
• a dozen large “holiday” cards, complete with envelopes;
• a skinny little notepad (the cheapskates didn’t personalize them like the MS people do):
• a page of shiny foil “holiday” stickers;
• a small gift bag, suitable for sticking unused “holiday” cards into;
• another set of stickers, to use on “correspondence with family and friends”
• a pen.
I have to say, the Heart and Stroke Foundation people really went all out. The cards are quite nice, although a dozen cards is about, oh, 12 more than I need. The stickers are shiny and cute, and the pen actually writes. So now, my options are
a) use the stuff, not give them anything, and feel guilty about it;
b) use the stuff, and give them something (but not their suggested donation of $40; it’s nice stuff, but not THAT nice);
c) don’t use the stuff and throw it away, which is terribly wasteful;
d) return to sender.
They’ve really got me. I’m sure (at least I hope) the Heart and Stroke Foundation does good work; if noting else, they’re very good at making me feel guilty. If I send them money, it will only encourage them to send me more stuff, which will lead to more guilty donations. It’s a vicious circle.
So, what am I going to do?
I’ve decided to take the nickel approach to this package of goodies. Just like that nickel I keep getting in the mail that I can’t throw out, I’ll put it all in a drawer to “think about it” for later. Gradually they will be absorbed into all my other unused address labels, unused notepads, and unused key tags.
Or … I could send them a nickel. I’ve got one around here someplace.