It started for me a few weeks ago. I hopped out of my car on a mid-afternoon supermarket run, sun shining, about 70 degrees worth of summer still left in the air. My ears perked up like the deer in Bambi at the sound of hunters. Could it be that time already? And then I heard it for certain - the BELL! THE TINKLING CLINKING TINY BRASS BELL! I shifted my gaze from the sky to the front door of the store, and my suspicions were confirmed. Tinkling bell? Check. Swinging red kettle? Check. Guy I'd have to talk to on my way out? Check. THE SALVATION ARMY WAS OUT IN FULL FORCE!
I immediately began checking my pockets and wallet for "spare" dollars or change. I had none! DAMN THE DEBIT CARD! No cash transactions = no change for Salvation Army volunteer. It was like being caught with my pants down! My heart started racing as I approached the door. What the hell was I going to do??? Vomit was a viable option. Why? Because prior to the life of single-incomedom I loved to be the Christmas spare change/cash wielding bitch! Giving is fun, and I love it. That was before the budget and the debit card. And now, here I was, with no good answer to this new situation.
How did I handle it? Well, I can't ignore people, so I told the guy "God bless" on my way out. Whew. Dodged a bullet there, genius. But what do I do next time??? The alternate question is how do YOU handle it? It seems to me that most people take one of three positions on this issue (when they are not giving):
A) completely ignore volunteer bell-ringer;
B) smile, nod, and say "I gave this morning"/"I'll get you next time"; or
C) run like their ass is on fire/it's raining and they have to get to the car.
None of the above options really work for me because I am an ENFP personality (see post to come for more info). I would be awake for days at the thought of being dishonest to someone who is volunteering for poor people for the love of all things holy! (Yes, really, me). However, I can't afford to give a fiver everytime I head into a store. On the other hand, I don't want to be that cheapskate with the pocket full of pennies! For now, I'm taking a few quarters with me when Little Diva and I go errand running so she gets to learn giving, and that's about it at this point. But the quarter jar is getting low!!!
I have entertained the idea of holding out my debit card and pretending to "swipe" at the kettle when I walk by - like SpeedPass for charity. Does that make me an asshead? Discuss your position on holiday charitable giving...