Saturday, August 23, 2014
Give Me Your Money
Has anybody heard of Gofundme.com? It’s described as the #1 do-it-yourself fund-raising website. I first learned about it last summer when a good friend was killed. The community raised thousands for his family. These days I’m seeing the program being applied to pretty minor money-raising efforts. I’m not sure this is the intended purpose of Gofundme.com.
Last week on Facebook I read two stories where Gofundme.com had been applied. Both of the following instances were self-promoted and requested that people make donations through the website on their behalf. Case study 1) a woman posted a story about her twenty-something daughter’s desire to take a trip to Australia, and from that this woman wanted people to give her money to fund the expedition.
Case study 2) A family suffered the unthinkable tragedy of having to replace a leaky roof in their home. The shameless post, offensively riddled with grammatical miscues and elementary misspellings, detailed how this tragedy was tearing the family apart, and could people send money to cover the repair work. Shaking the tin can is one thing, but this is ridiculous. And if you're going to go public can you please run a grammar and spelling check? Can you take five minutes of extra effort before pleading for a piece of my pay check?
And here’s the kicker: people are contributing to this blatant shakedown. Who would ever log onto the Internet, scroll through the animal abuse drives and cancer fundraisers etc., and dump hard-earned dollars into this insanity? Isn't everyone too busy planning the perfect ALS Bucket Video? The power of Facebook never ceases to surprise me.
Seeing the cash total on these two crap case studies tick higher and higher left me pining for the good old days of the bullied bus monitor. Remember that one-woman pity parade? Here’s a refresher. She was the elderly bus monitor who was called fat by some kid in middle school and the whole thing got caught on camera. In response she went on every talk show in the country to sing the blues and nationally unleash her list of potential punishments for this twelve-year-old child. And we rewarded her shameless self-promotion by raising $400,000 on her behalf. Let the homeless animals starve and the people dying of diabetes tough it out, I’m pledging my cash to some woman who was called a not-nice name.
I get it. People don’t have money. The economy’s in the crapper. George W. Bush ruined the US of A (and by extension the world) in less time than it took Jerry Seinfeld to finish his primetime run. But come on. Your adult daughter wants to go to Australia? You need a new roof? Where's your pride?
I see it with kids too. Every time I go to Wal-Mart, I have to dodge a swarm of Boy Scouts or Brownies or Little Leaguers at the exit doors. They build a pubescent wall between you and the parking lot and demand money. They don’t wash cars or bake cookies or rake lawns. They just want you to hand the cash over and be on your way. And if you cold-shoulder the kids, the parents who stand behind them scowl at you as you slither cheaply to your car.
Give me your money!