Monday, November 26, 2007

Salvation Army Stress Disorder

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...

8 comments:

Tessie said...

This stresses me out too, because I HAVE TO give something to those bell ringers. I have to. If I don't have any money, I will go buy something and get cash back. ACK! It is a sickness.

LoriD said...

I usually do have some coins in my pocket, and always a kid in tow, so I give some coins to the kid and have them make a deposit. Otherwise, I'll ask how to make a donation online, just to get the point across that I do intend to give.

bananafana said...

I actually suggested to the guy at Walgreens that they get a card swiper the other day when I was depositing my snot encrusted dime in his bucket. He laughed and said he would bring it up with "them" so apparently my message is going straight to the big guys at the SA

Erica said...

I get all stressy too, because I NEVER have cash.

Maybe I just need to get $20 in singles and dole them out over the shopping season.

mom of the year said...

Tessie: I am SO with you. Of course, then you have this debaucle: do you donate in the tiny counter-top kettle inside the store or wait until you get outside? Someone will think I'm a cheapskate - either the cashier or the ringer...

Lorid: Excellent idea! I'm totally using that one next time...

Fana: Thank God! Now we'll wait and see what happens. Of course, then they'll have my personal info, which brings us back to one of my annoyances with junk mail...

Erica: I like this idea also. Always a little something to give. JACKPOT! And then I'll switch to Lorid's idea when those run out!

Jenny's Vegcafe said...

I've rung the bell for the Salvation Army before and I have to tell you that really, over half of the people walk by without looking at you and it's no big deal. Of course, it's nice to get money but when you do it's mostly a few coins. Anything you donate is great and if you walk by just be polite and say "Merry Christmas" or "God Bless" to acknowledge the bell ringer.
I give most of my coins to my kids piggy banks but when I do have a spare quarter or such my daughter has a ball donating. I'm too cheap to give more than a dollar (I do donate money in other ways).
IMHO- don't sweat it if you don't have cash and donate when you have some.

mom of the year said...

Jenny: Thank God for you! You have saved my sanity today. Really. I will no longer start stressing about this before I even get out of my car at the store. Perhaps the giving will feel better that way???

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