When did we become the donation society? When did every freaking store begin asking for donations with your purchase? At the pet store this morning, we’re buying a bag of bones because our newest dog is eating the couch. And the lady rings up the $20 bag of three bones, which used to seem expensive. But that was before my $3000 couch was at risk. Now it’s a small installment in my sanity. And she takes my card and says, “Would you like to save a homeless dog today by rounding up your purchase?”
And she looks into my eyes. And we all have that moment where we think we have two choices. 1) Yes. I’d like to save a homeless dog. Round that up! Or 2) No. I am a total, heartless asshole. Do not round that up. I need the $.13 to…
And I am a thinker. I process. I try to understand my behavior or the question being asked. So I am always going to take a moment to think about whether my immediate response is the correct one, or if my choice accurately represents my message in life. And then I awoke from the jolted moment in my head.
And said no. The answer is no. I don’t want to round up. I came in to buy bones so that MY dog isn’t homeless in a few hours because he chewed up one more thing, and we haven’t figured out how to overcome this challenge yet. No. I don’t want to round anything up. I want the whole $.13 cents in my bank account because I don’t know how that $.13 is going to save a homeless dog. I don’t know the charity. I don’t know the cause. I don’t know what is saved. Because truth be told, if my dog chews up my new couch, he is going to be homeless with or without $.13 that I attach to the collar. And yes, I know I’m being ridiculous. But follow through with it for a moment.
And why are you asking me the question that way? Well, because that’s sales. And I am a salesperson. And I don’t ask people questions that way because it’s demeaning. It assumes that they are stupid enough to think that you are really asking if they want to save a homeless dog. The question isn’t really, “Do you want to save a homeless dog?” Because, of course, I would answer YES YES YES! Instead, you’re asking me whether you can take some of my money, while saving my own dog from homelessness, to save another dog from homelessness. Or maybe it will pay the administrator of the charity that may or may not save homeless dogs. And the answer is no no NO. I do not.
So to celebrate saving our own dog from homelessness, my son and I headed to Dunkin Donuts thereafter, directly. No, we didn’t THINK we were doing charity when we started out, but now we’re feeling a little more like we’re do-gooders, saving our own dog.
We get a couple donuts, some hashbrowns and coffee. And as we’re checking out, they ask me, “Would you like to save a homeless vet today by donating $1?” And I don’t really remember the charity they asked, the cause they pitched. But now I’m over it. And I am thinking… No. I don’t fucking want to save a vet today. Because you and I both know it doesn’t cost a dollar to save a vet. And are we talking about Veterans or veterinarians? Because neither costs a dollar. And I had no idea I would have so many opportunities to spend money and save the world, all before noon on a Sunday. And yet, I look around me, and I see a world that, frankly, seems like it’s going down the shitter. And if we’re donating so much fucking money, how is it that I really don’t see a damn thing getting better?
And if one more person asks me a leading sales question like that, I am going to pitch a fit. Yesterday, the lady at TJMaxx asked me if I would like to give a dollar for childhood melalucca or something. I am buying my son some hoodies. And do I want to save a child for any reason?! YES! I do! I want to save all the children from all the things. But you, again, are not offering a child-saving solution but to give you a dollar, from which possibly $.10 will go towards the charity.
My son said, “I want them to tell me what the dollar is going towards. HOW are you going to save the child?” That’s a good question! How?
And then, let’s show the people what they have made better! So the next time someone looks at me and says, “Would you like to give a dollar to save baby seals from straws?”, I am going to look them in the eyes and say, “Well, would you like to donate a dollar today to send my kid to college?” And chances are they will say no. Not because they are bad people, but because it is absolutely fucking ludicrous for them to simply hand me a dollar to put towards my son’s education. And joke’s on them because my son hates school. But how would they know that? Just give the dollar! Cause it’s a good cause! Cause you’re an asshole if you say no to such a heartwarming question! So you can run into a store and give money and feel like you’ve helped who? Maybe the dollar will go to my son’s college, or maybe I will lose it on the way to the car, or maybe I will put it in an account and never even tell my son. Or maybe I will pay myself to save money for his college. Or maybe I can put my own damn dollar into my son’s college account. OR maybe you can give me some type of fucking explanation how my dollar will help baby seals. Or you can skip it. OR maybe I can use less straws. Or maybe I can just shop for the damn hoodies that my son loves.
I don’t know. And maybe I’m an asshole for writing this. But chances are, I am fired up because in another show of Americana bullshit, we try to solve problems by doing nothing that directly relates to the problem. We ask each other stupid questions that aren’t really the questions. We give to things we know nothing about. We live in guilt. We are apathetic. We aren’t educated on what questions to ask or how to really solve a problem. We don’t really want to quit using straws. We want to use straws and give a dollar! We don’t know how to take care of our own pets. But we’re going to donate with every purchase we make to make the world a better place.
Well, the answer is no. I am not going to round up the next dollar for any such thing. But please, tell me what I can do to help the actual problem. Educate me. Help me understand. And I know that won’t save the world either. But then, we’re at the same place we began. And I’m in line for zip ties at Walmart. And I can’t wait to see who I am going to have to say no to now. Choice 2 please. I’m an asshole.