Friday, July 26, 2013

Christmas Extortion

Every year as the holidays neared, the first of countless emails would go out about a particular charity drive. The first announced the impending arrival of a glossy pamphlet containing a list of charities. You were supposed to select one and then turn the list in to a designated coordinator on your floor with your donation to that charity. You could give as little as a dollar.

The emails would get more frequent and more urgent as the drive progressed, until they approached near-hysteria as it drew to a close. Every available email flag and alert was employed. It was an astonishing amount of energy. I’m just grateful for the limitations of technology otherwise I am certain those pushy little emails would have just crawled right into my purse and helped themselves. It would have been completely justified. It was for charity.

How much you gave did not matter (as long as it was at least a dollar), but it was critical that you gave. Because then you could be counted towards the participation level of the office as a whole. I first began to comprehend the gravity of the situation when I was working in the staple pit

A woman I’d never met came to talk to me about the fact that I had not donated yet. She assured me that everything was still ok, because people understood I no longer had access to email and probably just forgot. I thanked her for the extra pamphlet and said I would look at it later. This answer was not good enough.

She recited the participation levels for several other departments. One of them got 99% every year. They didn’t get 100% because of one heartless person who refused to give every year. This woman was just a really horrible person. She refused to give, every single year. Could I imagine someone being that mean? I mean, who can’t come up with a dollar for charity?

She didn’t name names, which was a relief or I would have felt obligated to go speak to that evil bitch myself.

Yes, I caved.

It wasn’t a dollar for charity. It was a dollar to make them leave me alone. By the third year, I was probably one of the first people in line to produce my dollar, because then you could ask to be taken off the harassment, I mean email, list.