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Tuesday, August 14, 2012



Giving to charity is a good thing.  Collecting for a charity is difficult; no one likes to feel like they are begging.  I do have empathy for people trying to collect for a worthy cause, but I also have a major bug up my butt over some collecting methods.

To those that do the highway shake-down:

When I am at a stop light I probably see you and your bucket.  The reason I have the window up and am looking straight ahead is I don’t have spare change, or I just don’t want to give it to you.  I may well have given earlier on my way to the store.  Do I have to give on the way home? 

Please don’t tap on my window! 

When I go to the grocery store, do I really have to have people shake a can of coins in my face and ask “Do you want to give to cure cancer?”

“No, I want to go grocery shopping!  I give to charity.  I give a lot.  I probably should give more, but if I do it will be to my cause, not yours!”

Look, first of all, I have no idea whether your cause is real or not.  For all I know you are sticking those coins right back in your own pocket.  Am I jaded?  Blame it on all the fake charities out there that are on the news every week.  Blame it on all the shysters who have taken my $5 or $10 so they could buy a train ticket home and would mail it back to me.  Yes I have fallen for that one about 4 times.

Do I want to find a cure for cancer; yes that is why I write checks to legitimate charities for Pancreatic, Breast and Brain cancer.  I give to others also so stop sticking that can in my face and shaking it.  Stop your snide comments.  Stop your sarcastic “Thank you very much” and “Have a nice day” when I fail to drop a quarter in your can.  Stop your little holier than thou smirk.

Lots of people give; they don’t need to give to you.  Lots of people can’t afford to drop 25 cents into every can that gets shaken in their face at grocery stores, stop signs and stop lights. 

I know that collecting is difficult, but you can and should do it without trying to shake people down with your can shaking.  When you are disrespectful you damage your charity more than you help it by bullying people for their quarters.

And please, stop shaking that can in my face!


  1. I totally agree with you Cranky they are doing this at the groceries stores right now were before your transaction begins it will ask you on the atm card swiper if you want to donate then it get repeated again by the checker. I give to my same and new charities every year. Lung Cancer, Lymphoma, SPCA ect....I also do not like giving change to random can shakers because I like you have become very jaded and I am paranoid that the money does not always go where it it should go. Sad but unfortunately true

  2. Couldn't agree with you more Cranky...It's the one thing I hate about going to the supermarket and the pharmacy. There is nearly always someone standing or sitting outside asking you to contribute to one thing or another.

    The worse thing is they don't just sit their and say 'please give' they target you as you walk past 'good morning ma'am, would you like to help homeless people by making a contribution?'....How can you just ignore that. My Mum raised me to be polite and not ignore people, so I constantly find myself saying 'no today thank you'.

    Yesterday I got stopped by people campaigning for 'Planned Parenthood' which is something I believe in because in the UK birth control is free - always has been, always will be! - so like a fool I stopped. I thought they were asking for signatures to help with the lobbying, but she told me they were after donations. I was somewhat taken aback by this, because a donation won't help the government to change their mind - a big enough petition will - but anyway, I told the girl quite honestly that I had no cash on me to which she replied "That's OK, we take cards!"

    I was gobsmacked - they are standing outside the store collecting, and they take cards!!!
    I said no, I was sorry - it wasn't happening ad walked away.

  3. I am always a little skeptical about what the can shakers are actually collecting for. We talked to a guy once who stood on a corner with a cardboard sign-he made about $100 a day that went into his own pocket.

  4. We must not have can shakers here.

    Although we do have the men (and, increasingly, women) standing on the street with cardboard signs. I no longer give to them. Minneapolis has more sign-holders than ever before (we fill up in the summer, being an easy-going, liberal kind of city) but I rarely see anyone give anymore. I think we're tapped. Are those people really down and out? Are they lazy, scamming? I don't know, and I don't care.



  5. I was reading along and thinking Wow, Joe. You sure have a burr under your saddle.
    But, reading through the comments, I realize how many can shakers I do encounter. I walk on by, or say no to the cashier who wants to put something on my card for whatever. Guess I'm just thick skinned.
    But, the other day I took Emily to get her fute repaired. On the way over there was a sign holding fellow in a wheelchair at the exit. Ten minutes later, going home, it must have been a new shift; no wheel chair, but a fellow standing up, flashing his sign.
    It's ubiquitous.

  6. We have our share of can shakers here to which I give once then ignore. The panhandlers though are a breed a parking garage, one guy in a wheelchair with one broken wheel asked me for $5 so he could get a cab home. Said the bus wouldn't allow him on with a broken wheeled chair and he only had $4 in his pocket. I gave him the $5..poor guy.
    The following week he hit me up again..I offered to drive him home myself at which he stood and walked away dragging his wheelchair behind him. Cheeky eh?

  7. When my studio was downtown a woman was collecting for Goodwill on the street below my window. The sound of her bell was driving me crazy. I went downstairs and offered her ten dollars if she'd stop ringing the bell for one hour. She agreed and took my money. Five minutes later the bell was ringing. I looked out of my window and saw that a different woman had started her shift.

  8. I agree.
    A few years ago, we made a conscious choice of which charity we wished to donate to and do so every month.
    So when I get "rattlers" in my face, I simply inform them of that, with no angst or guilt.

  9. Yes! I am so sick of having people come up to the car with a crappy looking bucket when I'm waiting at the traffic lights, especially when they don't look legit! Love your blog, following from happy hour projects :)

  10. I don't mean to sound like an awful person, but I have to agree with you on the giving thing. :/ Hoping that didn't come off to make me sound heartless :/


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