Woman to Women
Show me the Money
You can run but you can’t hide from the donation request game
-Jill Benson and Mary Beth Sammons
These days, it seems everywhere you turn, Tom Cruise is there. No, not promising Oprah that he’ll refrain from jumping on her couch again or pandering to Matt Lauer that he will be a good boy during his next appearance on the Today show.
No, we mean the Jerry Maguire movie image of Cruise and Cuba Gooding screaming “Show me the money!” in our faces. The rantings seem to be everywhere, from the grocery store line to your e-mail inbox. Every second of every day seems to be filled with someone making “show me the money” requests for something, even though they might be soliciting for a good-cause type of something.
We decided to name some of our own BettyConfidential.com semi-panhandling pet peeves:
• The checkout-line solicitations. When you’re in line at the grocery store and there are a zillion people around, and the cashier asks if you want to donate a dollar for a great cause, but you’ve already done it at least five billion times, and you don’t want to right now. But you feel like a huge loser not doing so. So, guilt wins and you give in and donate yet another dollar or five to buy a book for a kid who the store clerk insists would never be able to read unless you add this donation to your already-costly mega magazine pile.
• The cookie/popcorn bell ringers outside grocery stores. What happened to Girl Scouts and Brownies pulling their wagons of peanut butter cookies and Thin Mints to your door instead of accosting you every time you try to push your way through the crowd of pushy kids, with their parents glaring at you, blocking the doors at the grocery store? One of our readers confided: “There have been times when I have not gone to a certain grocery store specifically because I didn’t want to deal with the people outside asking for donations.”
• The e-mail/letter multiple solicitations. Another reader asks what you do when you traditionally make a pledge for a friend who is in an annual fund-raiser, but others start ramping up the requests. She shares: “The other day I received a second e-mail from a friend I have known pretty much all my life, requesting a donation for the three-day walk benefiting breast cancer. Now, I am a woman, I believe in supporting women’s causes, and mostly I believe that a bunch of women hanging out together for three days without men is certainly something to advocate. But I chose to not respond to the first request, hoping it would go away. When the second message came, telling those of us who have not yet donated that funds were still needed, I knew I could no longer slither out of sight in hopes of disappearing.”
So, when does raising funds become the obligation of the person choosing to participate and not those of us already strapped from buying Girl Scout cookies at the grocery store, wrapping paper from the neighborhood PTA parents and tickets over the phone, to nothing in particular in support of the local fire stations? Are there any safe places anymore, somewhere we can go and not be hit up for money?