Thursday, November 06, 2008

Freebies that aren't

'Tis the season for unsolicited gifts in the mail. In my neck of the woods, it starts after Halloween runs straight through Christmas.

I'm sure I'm not the only household that gets unsolicited freebies from charitable organizations. You know, stuff like Christmas cards, note cards, calendars, notepads, and enough address labels to plaster my entire house. Given that I hardly ever send anything by post anymore, the address labels are practically useless. Yet, over the last number of years, they keep coming and coming and coming. Sometimes they're from organizations that I already support and sometimes they're from organizations that I've never heard of.

Usually, there is a nice covering letter either thanking me for past contributions or encouraging me to support their much needed work or new project; they go on to say they've enclosed a "gift" for my invaluable support; and they all have one purpose - to prey on feelings of guilt (because my generation has been conditioned to believe we shouldn't get something for nothing). They are even thoughtful enough to include self-addressed envelopes and return cards with helpful boxes to tick off "suggested" support amounts.

Frankly, I don't respond well to this kind of coercion.

Years ago, when I first received these solicitations (and solicitations they are), I would feel guilty and write a cheque to pay for something I didn't want or need. Then I'd get even more letters and pleas for more donations. One day, I finally got fed up. Attempts to guilt me into making donations just made me angry.

For the charities I already support, I will continue to support with or without the freebies. I'd rather they save the money spent on postage and merchandise and put it to better use. As for organizations that I've never supported before, they will not gain my support by using these types of tactics.

This year, there seems to be a new gift idea - shopping bags. Maybe they figured out that people can only use so many address labels. This week, I've received two nylon tote-style shopping bags. I wonder how many more will come before Christmas.


Anonymous said...

I hate that stuff, too, and put it in the circular file.

Anonymous said...

After getting hit at school so many times in so many ways ( can't turn our kids down either...guilt guilt guilt) I had to make a decision. Ieither had to start asking for receipts for all those $5 bills or just stop altogether. I retired instead (not for that reason,lol) but in my first year was surprised that i could live on my pension after all and one of those reasons is the enormous moneys I put back into my job.
Why isn't anyone soliciting to find out who out here among us is in need of their services? Someone has either the chutzpah or the desperation to ask for it.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the same thing, Charlie. My money goes farther now that I'm not contributing to all those fund raisers and spending money on my classroom.

I don't like to get those unsolicited things in the mail, either.

Anonymous said...

What's going on with you, Ell? I miss hearing about your life and thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I'm still here. I've been recovering from a chesty cold and it's been hectic at work and on the home front (long story). I keep meaning to post something, but get side-tracked!

Anonymous said...

I have that chesty cold now and understand! It lingers.

Anonymous said...

Post something and let us know you are OK. Hope you are! I miss hearing from you.

Email me if something is going on you can't post and feel comfortable telling me. :-)