I hate being guilt tripped or shamed into doing things.
I hate going to a shopping centre to find down the middle isle either the sea salt people, who are constantly shaming me into buying bulk quantities of moisturizer that I forget to use or a sea salt scrub that cost more than a day spa. Or worse a Children’s charity that hawk you until you make eye contact.
Then it doesn’t matter if you look away because they will walk towards you starting the conversation with or without you.
‘Hi Miss, would you like to help a blind one armed homeless child, find shelter, love and an opportunity to be placed on the list to get a free see and eye dog this Christmas?’
How are you supposed to decline without sounding like a total jerk?
‘Hi, thank you for the opportunity to do good, but no, no I don’t. I would rather be a horrible monster that doesn’t care about a little blind kid who has never had the opportunities I have had in life. Rationally speaking, what does she need a dog for? She is homeless, where would she keep it? How would she feed it? …’ Oh hell, here take my purse before I get struck down by lightning.
Of course I want to help, and I do, but I can’t help every charity that asks me to donate or I will have to set up the Please Feed Me Foundation. The Google honest truth is that there are over 2050 charities in Australia alone, there is no way I can always say yes.
To be clear this is not a ‘do not donate’ blog, not at all. I think if everyone gave just a little, this would be such a different world.
My beef is the guilt angle that some use. It’s the phrasing that drives me mad. Why can’t they ask if I am in a position to help or if I can spare something instead of do you want to. Who doesn’t WANT to? I guess I just feel bad having to answer NO to such a question.
I should be moved to help not moved to run away.
Why not place a secure bin at the door of every shopping centre as a place to lighten your purse as you leave? I hate silver coins, more specifically the tens and the fives. They make my purse heavy and most vending machines and parking meters do not take them.
Hello charities, would you like to help a poor girl save her much loved purse from ripping at the seams with silver coins? I would look for that bin! I tried putting all the coins in a tin at home but then you have to take it to the bank in little plastic sleaves… way too much work.
I would much rather give these coins, which quickly add up, to a worthy cause.
My parents made sure that I developed a well-trained conscience. Guilt overload is one of the side effects.
A perfect example is the Mobile Coffee Saga. After one conversation with a man who set up a mobile café in front of where I work I feel like I am solely responsible for supporting him and his family financially.
How does that happen? Well it begins with a word of appreciation from me and ends with the man telling me that if good hearted people like me continue to buy a coffee from him each day, then he will be able to support his starving family.
Actually I don’t know if they are starving, he didn’t use that word but his sad eyes did, and now this is how I imagine them. They live in a dirty container off the dock somewhere, his son hobbles because he only owns one shoe. His wife is missing a tooth from the near death infection she suffered last year and has twins on the way.
It’s clear that the only way out for them is if I do the right thing and support his small business by upping my coffee addiction.
That’s why I tried to smuggle my coffee past him yesterday. Do you know how hard it is clean up a coffee soaked hand bag?
Today, once again in my un-caffeinated state I forgot my guilt driven debt to his family and bought yet another coffee from my usual guy. When I saw him on the door step of the practice I felt the moral responsibility of his toothless wife and her unborn children immediately weigh me down. So I panicked threw it away. I actually chucked a barely sipped, perfectly good sweet smelling cup of coffee in the bin.
I know… Sacrilege!
I spoke to my boss about it and, being quite the caffeine addict himself, he was a little outraged.
“Why did you do that? Why didn’t you just give him $4, donate some money instead?” he asked.
Quite appalled (not really) I said “He is not a charity case! He is running a business; I can’t just run past him and throw money at him, it would be rude.”
Wait a minute; he is not a charity case…He is not a charity case. Perhaps I should listen to myself more often?
Upon self-evaluation I think I am doing ok as a mere human. I support a few charities on a monthly basis, got to love automatic debit, if my friends or family need anything they know they only need to ask.
I support people at work who look after people lives. I know my contribution is nowhere near as important but it frees them up to save lives and that’s got to mean something right?
We can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone.
Excuse me while I unpack my suitcase, I am going to need the room to feel bad about much sillier things. There is the mint choc chip I plan to have for lunch…and the gym sessions I missed out on thanks to this head cold I can’t shake.
So many things to feel guilty about, so little time!
Guilt Tripper Extraordinaire xox