Thursday, July 15, 2010

I think I’ve finally conquered my dread of walking past temporary card table kiosks. They’re usually set up at the entrance of grocery stores, big box stores, and in strip malls selling keychains or baked goods to raise money. Or people are just asking for donations. I sometimes wonder if the management is too busy inside to know what’s going on outside their front doors.

It’s one thing for groups to go door to door because people have the opportunity to fake they aren’t at home, but setting up shop outside is almost an intimidation factor. The Salvation Army folks have it figured out. They simply ring their bells and open the door and say, “Merry Christmas”. They’re such a Christmastime icon and there’s no pressure to give. It’s motivation to drop something in their kettles. And the Girl Scouts and their thin mint cookies are part of the American culture. But now days money is being raised for everything from junior high band camp to mission trips to Cambodia.

I’ve used several techniques get past the poster board and magic marker signs. I’ve waited until someone else is stopped at the table, walked past with a crowd, and once I even said I gave at the office. Acting like I didn’t speak English was my latest attempt to graciously get by without buying or donating.

I think I feel guilty for walking past because I have been on the asking end so many times helping my kids sell everything from candy bars to magazines. Years ago Jason spend a week in August trying to sell chocolate bars to the neighbors to raise money for new warm ups for his swim team. It was so hot he could only be out for a few minutes before they would start to melt. He’d run home and put them in the freezer for a bit them head out again. I finally bought the whole case.

I decided the other day after walking past a card table kiosk raising money for yet another cause, I’m through feeling guilty. Where I donate is my choice and it most likely won’t be a street vendor unless it’s a cute kid’s lemonade stand. If the guilt twinge starts to creep in, I’ll just think about the case of melted chocolate bars I once bought.

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