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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Eye Candy from Indianapolis Childrens' Museum

Guilt and the Salvation Army Kettle

Having just come out of the holiday season, unless you hibernate from Thanksgiving to Christmas or live off the land and have no reason to enter any kind of retail establishment, you have seen and heard them.  The Bell Ringers, I mean.  Every grocery store, drug and discount store has at least one entrance covered.  The mall probably has one posted at every door.

This post is not anti-Salvation Army or anti-giving to the poor, so don't get your knickers in a twist.  I give cheerfully to the Salvation Army and any number of worthy charities.  But how many times should you give?  If I dropped a buck into every kettle that I crossed during this past holiday season, I would have easily given $50 at bare minimum.  Honestly, I don't have that much to give JUST to the SA.  Not that they're not worthy, as I said.  I simply can't afford it.

I didn't give every time, obviously.  I rarely carry cash these days, I have a debit card like everyone else.  One would argue that they don't expect you to drop a dollar every time, or even a quarter every time.  I get that.  But I give a dollar, that's just me.   When I have $40 in my wallet that is specified for groceries down to the last dime, I can't give them a dollar.  Not today anyway.

But one day last month, I did only have a small amount of cash at my disposal on my way into the grocery store, and I had to buy a lot.  It *was* the holidays, I had cookies to bake and dinner to cook, tomorrow's lunches to think about.  And on my way in the door, the woman ringing the bell, who I always exchange pleasantries with, actively begs me for money for the kettle.  I responded with a smile and a "Sorry, not today!" and hurried my way in to fight the crowd.  No big deal, first time a bell-ringer ever called me out, but then she did it AGAIN on my way out!  I don't remember exactly what I said, but it got me worked up for the drive home. 

And it's not just the bell-ringers, it's the Little League and Pop Warner parents at busy intersections with long stoplight waits holding plastic milk jugs with pictures of their kids who need uniforms, the grocery store clerks collecting for the Food Bank, the gas station attendants collecting for MDA, and the bookstore chain collecting for kids' books for literacy.   Not to mention the multitudes of kids selling popcorn, cookies, candy bars, wrapping paper, candles, and every other imaginable product to raise money for their school or club or athletic team.   We are bombarded with people who want our money!

When is it okay to say "Sorry, not today"?  I say it a lot.  And then I feel guilty.  It's hard, lonely, boring work to stand there in the cold and ring a bell.  And it's a worthy cause, really.  And I'm not a Scrooge or a tightwad.  I just can't give every person who asks my money.

Sorry, not today.

Welcome to my blog!

I called it I Love Candy because I do love candy.  I love eye candy, ear candy, mental candy, and the stuff at the candy store.

But that's not all this blog is about.  Add in some comedy, personal observations, my opinions on everything from the latest book I'm reading to the upcoming elections, and just plain common sense.  Whatever's on my mind.  I'll try to make it interesting and not be too full of myself.