Monday, November 6, 2006

"Sir, would you like to make a donation?"

I guess most of you have had experience being asked to make a donation in some public place like restaurants and schools. Usually, those people hold a donation box and a poster that shows some starving children in some developing country. Most of the time they get rejected by the potential donors but they are persistent enough to go around the whole restaurant to ask every single customer. Did I ever donate any money to them? No Way.

Why? First of all, 9 out of 10 times I have never heard of the charity organizations that they are representing. Even I do know the organization, say, Red Cross, there is no way for me to find out if they are authentic.

"Hey this is my Red Cross employee ID."

Hey, how do I know that your ID is authentic? Not to mention the fact that I have never seen a Red Cross employee ID, even I have seen one, your ID can just be a fake one that looks very similar to the real one. Honestly, it is very difficult for one to prove that s/he is an authentic representative of some organization in a short time. If it is a person holding ID and working in a well-publicized charity event held by well-known organization, I would believe that s/he is authentic, but usually it is not the case.

If I am not sure if my money will fall into good hands or not, I will not donate even a buck. Why don't I just write a check to American Red Cross and mail it to them or donate through their website if I want to help the poor? Not to say that there is no chance that some malicious Red Cross internal employees can steal my money that way but it is quite unlikely. Because of that, I would rather give a buck or two to a beggar who holds a sign saying "Need a Beer" at the freeway entrance than a mysterious good-looking person claiming to be a representative from Red Cross. At least I know the beggar will probably use my money to buy a beer in the first case.

Talking about people at the freeway entrances, those people who sell oranges, peanuts, cherries and flowers at those places really deserve your help to my mind. Their oranges are probably not better than those from Fresh & Easy, but they try to earn themselves a living instead of getting welfare and/or foodstamp from the government and contribute nothing to society. If they get only $2 for a bag of 20 oranges, you can imagine how little they make in a day. Yet, they are willing to wait at freeway entrances while exposed to direct sunlight all day long and surrounded by polluted air from the vehicles.

If you are one of those people selling stuff at freeway entrances or exits, please take cares and watch out for dangerous drivers for your own safety...