A couple months from now will be the Thanksgiving season, but it seems that this time of year is simply The Giving Season.
The kids have just gone back to school and I feel like the first lesson they have been taught is Solicitation 101. There are Boosterthon pledges to meet, and a wide array of fine foods to purchase. You won’t just hear “get your popcorn” at a ballgame. You’ll hear it from some fourth-grader looking to take a field trip next year. Cookies can be purchased this time of year, both in already baked form and the raw cookie dough. In fact, kits seem to be a popular choice for fundraising these days.
If you want freezer-burned pizza, you can buy the dough, sauce, cheese and toppings already cryogenically preserved for use later at a higher price than getting it delivered from a chain restaurant from a struggling college student who needs the money to eat, not to go see the Biltmore.
It sort of reminds me of those letters I used to get asking me to join the “Who’s Who of High School.” I was always flattered that I was wanted, but in reality, they were looking for the “Who’s Who of Suckers.” For only a couple hundred dollars, I could get my name listed with a group of other suckers. Problem was, I didn’t realize it at the time – but my parents sure did!
There are so many functions looking for money, it often seems relentless: Middle school sports, recreational sports, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Feed the Hungry, Save a Soldier, Make-A-Wish, this disease, that disease, run for this, walk for that, telethons, etc. Even if you give to some, the others lay the inevitable guilt trip on you when you don’t reach for the now-empty wallet.
No, I don’t want to give my spare change to the nondescript jar on the counter, but thank you for the free eye roll. Speaking of those jars, is it just me wondering if they are going to fund the beer money for the pimply-faced kid working the register? I have visions of George Costanza’s Human Fund swimming in my head with fake charities vying with the real ones to part a fool and his money.
I don’t want to come off as a Scrooge. I’m sure there will be time enough for that during the traditional season for giving – Christmas. Bah!
Reach Scott Cost at firstname.lastname@example.org to mutter “Serenity Now.”