By Judy Reiss
I used to think that it would be lots of fun to get e-mail. What a great idea, to be able to get in touch with friends regardless of where they lived, but to receive information from those very same friends that I hadn’t heard from for years. And then, reality struck! What I found out was that if and when I donated even a few dollars to certain charities, they automatically either took my name and hounded me for more money or even worse, they sold my name to someone else. And that doesn’t even count the plain old ads that come on a daily basis.
Now, let’s think about that. All of us are constantly asked for money. And not just money from an organization that you have a warm, fuzzy feeling about. Nope, regardless of where you went to college, you get requests for a donation from places that you have actually never even heard about. So, if you are like me, you just delete those requests. Now this is if you get this particular request on your computer. However, it seems to me that the computer is just the machine they use to get your name and phone number.
And then the hounding begins. For me, it makes no difference if I am eating breakfast, lunch or dinner, of even if I am just getting up or getting ready for bed. These “friendly” calls come pouring in. “Hello, is this Judy?” I know almost right away that it is a telemarketer who is going to ask me for money. I always know that it is someone I don’t know because no one ever asks me if it is Judy on the phone. And even if they ask for Mrs. Reiss, I am always sure it is someone who doesn’t know me and I am almost always right.
What is too bad is that now I am much less willing to donate to anyone these days because I know that it is just the beginning of lots of “asks”. And my feeling is, if I want to give you money, I will. But it seems that if and when you do donate money, the plan is that you are put on a call again, within six-week list. The idea is if you were willing to give once, you probably will do so again.
Let me give you an example. Once, several years ago, I gave $25 to a Native American school at Christmas time. I got a nice thank you note back and I was pleased they were happy with my modest donation. And then I received a package of “gifts” from the same school. And the gifts included six birthday cards and envelopes, a note pad, a calendar, return address labels and a ghost catcher. I was a little surprised at the amount of “gifts” but just figured out that they were just happy to send me something and keep in touch. And then very soon thereafter, I received another packet of “gifts” and I have continued to get something, month after month. And of course, a request for further money. Because I am a dope, I still send then $25 each Christmas, but here are my thoughts. I send them the $25 to help the students and the school, not for gifts. And I really think my money would be better spent doing what I am sending it for. I actually think that the “gifts” that I receive probably cost a lot more than $25 to make and send. Oh, and of course, I do get requests for a donation from several other Native American schools. Gee, I wonder where they got my name?
I know I am not alone or the only person who gets dunned for money from organizations that I have no intention of donating to. And every single morning I sit down and open my e-mail and delete 99% of them. Not only do I delete them, for the most part, I don’t even read them. I just delete, delete, delete.
Today, I actually received a letter from an old friend who has been fighting cancer and she was writing to me to tell me that she was just told she is cancer free! I was thrilled to hear from her and also excited that I hadn’t just deleted her letter! Hers was the only e-mail out of 24 that was something I wanted to read and it was just lucky that I didn’t delete it in my wild deleting actions.
Is there no way to prevent us from receiving all this unsolicited trash that we get on the computer and then on the phone? If you know a way, please let me know. In the meantime just delete what you can and hang up before the “ask” drives you nuts. Of course, Malcolm never hangs up, he lets whoever it is to talk until they think that they have a sucker on the phone and just before they decide to get him to sign up, he hangs up. Actually, I think that his way probably works better than mine!