Every year in the United States, the charity organization Salvation Army has volunteers standing outside of grocery stores and retailers with a red kettle ringing their bell for patrons to donate. Sometimes I give, sometimes I don’t. There never is any rhyme or reason to when I do or don’t.
Last year I saw a client of mine out volunteering so I stood with her for ten minutes as she rang her bell. I noticed a strange phenomenon. Most of the people who made eye contact seemed to donate. However the vast majority chose not to donate and in doing would look down or away as they walked past. It was as if by looking at the volunteer as they went by they might get some sort of disease. I got to thinking that I have probably been guilty of the same thing.
So this year, I made a pledge that no matter if I was planning to donate or not that I would acknowledge every single kettler (I don’t know what they are called so that works for me) and give them a cheery “hello” ….as I then walk on by.
It’s much easier to ignore someone if you make out they’re not there. “What, I didn’t see them!”
You would have to be deaf also 😉 ring ring ring riiiiiiiinnnnnnnngggggg!!!!
And giving money doesn’t stop the ringing 🙁
They should put one of those big gongs up and anyone that donates gets to ring it.
Those bell ringers freeze their asses off, I at least have been known to buy em a coffee. You can stare me down all you want, I do charity my way. =)
OK you are better than me. I don’t drink coffee so I just assume the rest of the world doesn’t either.
If you don’t drink coffee how do you stay awake all the hours you stay on the web? Never mind… I probably don’t want to know.
I don’t sleep. That is my problem.
I didn’t used to sleep but a few heart attacks and a lot of years cured that.
Um… I don’t know the last time I carried around change, let along real dollars. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t mind spending with plastic. For some reason if I have cash, I always spend it on candy or something stupid.
Give it time…they’ll allow you to swipe the kettle with your credit card.
My experience with people who collect for charity is that if you acknowledge them they will immediately start up a conversation with you and then you feel REALLY BAD if you don’t donate!
That’s the point. Push through Jill. haha
The “kettlers” are using an old Jedi mind trick . . .
Eye contact is a powerful thing. They say a jury that refuses to make eye contact with a defendant has convicted the defendant every time.
Then the next time I am on a jury, I’ll be sure to look the guy in the eye before I send him to the slammer.
Look him in the eye and then give him a smirk.
I’m with you Bearman, and with Jynxie too! I’ve been known to bring the bellringers a cup of cheer during the season (and I’ll tell you standing out in the snow ringing a fricken bell while people walk by with their heads down can get pretty cold in more ways than one, so hot cup of coffee can cheer you up pretty quick)I give a little to each one. It doesn’t cost much at a couple of quarters at a time and they do excellent social works that no one else will handle.
The cartoon is really well done, Bearman!
and I really have to learn to spell “jynksie” properly. lol
It’s easier to call him Scott..haha
That depends. Usually they are at our Local Kroger and the only place to buy coffee is the Starbucks kiosk. That’s expensive. Might as well have donated $2 to the bucket instead.
What the heck? Do both! It’s Christmas after all. ;`)
I tend to avoid eye contact as I have the same problem with raffle ticket sellers & people standing at stalls in shopping centres trying to sell people stuff like cable TV contracts or other such high pressure selling products. As soon as you make eye contact they seem to make a bee line for you, or they do to me anyway.
I will try the eye contact for a while & see how it goes, even if I have to tell them I am not going to donate, buy a raffle ticket or sign up for cable TV or a funeral plan. I will try to be more eye contactable & give them a nice smile & a hello. You have inspired me. I’ll let you know later how many cable TV channels I end up with…
I find it sport to give them a sympathetic eye and then say NO!!
I tend to avoid eye contact full stop. I hate it when I have to sign friggin autographs 🙂
You are the most famous person to come out of your town. At least that is what I have been told.
Kind of …population 5 🙂
I have to admit to doing the same thing. I feel guilty about not giving, even if I’ve already given. Never thought about getting the ‘ringer’ a cup of coffee….great idea.
Thanks for nudging us to be a little more thoughtful
If I make the rest of you more thoughtful, I can be less. It’s all about averages in my book.
I just read that the US Salvation Army works with nearly three billion dollars of donated funds every year and their CEO earns only $13,000. That can’t be right, can it?
I wouldn’t doubt it. Theirs is a faith based organization.
$3Billion. I think I’ll pull a Fred Claus and put out my own kettle for People Helping People.
The Salvation Army is about the only International relief organization that I trust completely. They help people on an every day basis and not just when the news cameras are rollin’. I don’t donate every time but I usually smile at them and tell them I appreciate the great job they are doin’.
I am sure they appreciate you noticing Bo.
You can trust an organisation that earns an annual 3 billion and pays its CEO 13,000. That tells me it ain’t the money they’re doin it for.
I just read that is an urban legend.
“The current National Commander, Israel L. Gaither, is paid somewhere between $79,389 and $243,248 annually for his services. (Since the Salvation Army, as a religious organization, doesn’t report its expenses to the IRS, the only available figures for executive salaries are estimates, which vary greatly from source to source.) “
Well, at least now it looks like the wage they get is above the poverty line. lol
Urban legends go viral in seconds on the interwebs.
I would look down because I felt guilty for not giving. I don’t think we should feel guilty though. I like your advise of making eye contact and treating the worker as a human and not a disease.
PS: I usually only had a debit card on me so this made it impossible to give even when I wanted to.
As I said…soon, they’ll just swipe that credit card on their iphone and hand you a reciept for your taxes.
The Salvation Army is one of the few outfits that hang out in front of stores that I will actually give something to. Maybe it’s because seeing them always reminds me of the episode of “Friends” where Phoebe is out ringing a bell for them.
[Scene: Monica and Rachel’s, Phoebe is complaining to Ross and Monica about the bucket.]
Phoebe: Nobody! Nobody respects the bucket! You wouldn’t believe what people put in here! Look! (Hands it to Monica.) Okay, does this look like a garbage can to you?
Phoebe: Does it look like an ashtray?
Phoebe: Does it look like a urinal?
Monica: Eww!! (Throws the bucket down.)
Yes it isn’t Christmas until someone pees in Phoebe’s donations bucket.
At our grocery store they tend to have a bunch of those groups selling things to raise money. If it is a kids organization and a kid asks me I am more likely than if it is an adult. Except for the boy scouts. Sorry kids but $25 popcorn ain’t worth it. Take a lesson from the girl scouts. $5-7 for thin mints is OK by me.
Most of the time, I see the parents out trying to sell the candy for the kids. I suppose they don’t want their kids just ponying up to strangers like that, but I don’t need a $2 candy bar, as I walk into the grocery store counting pennies for pork-based hot dogs.
I had a 5 year old come to my door. Mom was waiting at the bottom of the steps. She had her speech down better than I could at 2x her age selling dominos buddy cards. Guess what sucker pulled out his wallet.
Now I will purchase those restaurant discount cards. I actually have a use for those and they come in handy, particularly if they have BOGO pizza deals.
Stupid me though assumed they were good for delivery too…
I think they are generally called Bell Ringers. I am guilty of not looking at them as well. And you are right it is a guilty thing. I generally don’t have much extra to give at the holidays but I do give throughout the year.
I don’t think anyone has to feel guilty about not giving. But if I am wearing a bright red shirt and ringing a bell, I sure as hell want people to notice..haha
I hear ya on that one. I wouldn’t want to be ignored either a Hello I think is warranted. They are standing out in the cold.
It was tough today. Saw a guy with a sign at a stop light today. I gave him a head nod and he thought that meant I had something to give him..haha
Another alternative is to just keep iPod buds in your ears and pretend not to hear (you don’t even need to own an iPod…just pretend you’re listening to something really loud).
What pricks we are!
Or just sing xmas carols really really loud as you walk by.
I pretend to be on my cell phone every time I pass by those guys. What I cad I be. 🙂
Yes, The Salvation Army practices Jedi Mind Tricks! Ha,ha,ha!
I’m guilty of not making eye contact with the Kettlers. I don’t want them to see the cheapskate in my eyes. I guess it stems from living in a town where you’re going to get hit up for change with some sob story or another at least four times a day. Guaranteed. After having countless people run up on you for money every time you get out of your car, it sorta makes you cynical about donating.
I will, however, give if the feeling hits me. But when three more people ask for the same thing, it turns you back bitter again.
Nice work on the cartoon, by the way!
I like the guy who always said he needed gas as his kids were in the car. I said “OMG, lets go get them so to make sure they are OK.” The would make a hasty retreat.
I never give to individuals that I don’t know. How low does a person have to sink before he has to go to strangers for help? I believe that if I got in trouble I could pick up the phone and have help from hundreds of people before the end of the day. (I could email you Bearman and you being who you are and knowing me only from the internet would probably post my plight and try to get me some help.) I give to people like the Salvation Army where I know it will do some good.
You are right BO and I might send you some canned peas that have been in my cupboard as well.
And I would be beholdin’ to you for the peas.
You are very right about trying to pretend to not notice the ringer. Sometimes when I drive into the city there will be beggars at intersections and I try not to look at them.
I look as I am driving by but not when I am stopped..haha
That’s a good policy.
But the one time I was actually looking for a bum selling flowers on the freeway, they must have taken the day off. Grrr….
They don’t even bother to sell flowers around here.
Believe it or not, I was thinking the exact same thing the other day. I totally do the duck and dodge when I don’t have spare change. I have no idea why I do it, either.
I’m trying to be more conscious of it, but it’s almost like it’s burned into my head that if I can’t see them, they can’t see me. Horrible, really.
Hmm, so is ducking and dodging worse than saying you will give them money on the way back and then you go a different way? I have been guilty of that 🙁 … often 🙁 🙁
Usually I say to people selling stuff “Make sure to catch me on the way out” If they do, they get the sale. If they don’t…forget it.
Everybody does that. It’s just pure guilt. It’s the same with the homeless people. If you actually make eye contact and acknowledge their humanity you are forced to donate.
It’s why Girl Scout Cookies sell so well. They get you from the doorbell.
No it is because those damn lorna doon cookies are so damn good.
I always give my spare change to the Salvos. They do a lot of good work.
Yes they do (even if the CEO doesn’t only make $13000/year)
This is so true. 🙂
Hmmm … I normally look down at the ground when I walk … does that mean I get some sort of pass on this one?! 🙂
Yes…I don’t want you tripping.
Denny’s won several stare down with those people.
But don’t worry…I still make donations. Roughly 2x a month.
With a mustache and hairdo like yours, how can anyone look away.
Thanks, Bearman. 🙁 I actually looked a Salvation Army Kettle-Ringer in the whites of their eyes, and it ended up costing me a dollar. I just couldn’t continue walking past them without donating. Oooh, that eye contact will get you every time. 🙂
SUCKER!!! I gave some to a guy today because he was ringing 2 bells and could care less.
I’ve been taking the side door out to avoid them. They give you quite the guilt trip by saying “Happy holidays” to you as I walk by without tossing in a dime.
You really need to carry a roll of pennies at least Nate. That way you can be your cheap back door self but let everyone else think you are a kind giving person.
That’s a good idea. They never know how much you’re dropping in the kettle with a bunch’a pennies dropping. I’ll try that. 🙂
i just play the, “sorry, do you take debit card?” line
I would reply…well when you check out have the cashier give you cash back and then you can put it in the kettle.
Since I generally shop with my debit card, I almost never have any cash on me for the Salvation Army, Girl Scouts, or anyone else seeking my money on the way out of the store. I wonder what kind of an impact cashless shopping has had on their donations/cookie sales/etc.?
Probably has hurt but I am surprised the girl scouts haven’t been the first to jump on the cashless payments.
Its that time of the year!
The most wonderful time of the year…if you can stand the sleet and snow.
I would reply…well when you check out have the cashier give you cash back and then you can put it in the kettle.
Smart move. Then again that would only work with a check or debit card. Isn’t cash back on a credit card considered a cash advance?