A Charitable Response To Harassment

, , , , , | Working | July 31, 2020

I’m doing a little shopping in the city with my mom since we have a little time to kill before an appointment. We’re chatting a little and not really paying attention to our surroundings until someone all but jumps in front of us.

Guy: “Hi! My name is [Guy] and I’m from [Charity Organisation]! Do you have a few minutes?”

Mom is a bit startled and wary but still willing to listen.

Mom: “Well, we’ve got a little time to spare, I guess…”

Guy: “Great! Could I have your name, please?”

Mom: “It’s [Mom].”

He writes that down. During the whole discussion, he uses the informal variant of “you,”which in German is mainly used for friends and family but not strangers.

Guy: “So, [Mom], as I said, I’m from [Charity] and we—”

Mom: *Cutting him off* “Before you start, maybe you can save your breath. I know what [Charity] does, but I’m not interested in giving money to some stranger that stopped me in the streets.”

The guy smiles, but it starts to seem a little forced and condescending.

Guy: “[Mom], why don’t you just listen and let me talk?”

He then launches into an extensive spiel about his charity and what they do. During his last sentences, he almost pushes an empty form into my hands.

Guy: “So, now, if you just enter your information and sign here—”

Mom: “Wait a minute. I just told you I won’t give away any cash and that includes not signing any membership application. If you have some flyers or pamphlets, I’d happily take them with me so I could make a donation via money transfer, but I’m not comfortable giving my bank account information to someone I don’t even know.”

Guy: “No, I don’t have any pamphlets. I told you I’m [Guy], so we’re not strangers anymore, right? Now, just fill in your information and sign here, please. Why wouldn’t you want to?”

Mom: “For one, it’s my decision how I spend my money. And besides that, I’ve had bad experiences with a scammer that pressured me into signing a contract when I was younger.”

Guy: “Well, we’re no scammers; we are [Charity]!” *Points to his name badge* “[Mom], it’s really not difficult. You could be really making a difference with your donations!”

Mom: *Getting really fed up* “Look, I’ve repeatedly told you I won’t be signing this. You say you are with [Charity], but anyone could print a badge like yours and claim that.”

The guy tries to speak up again but she raises her hand to stop him.

Mom: “Besides, we’ve got an appointment and need to go now so we’ll be there on time.”

He tried to keep us for a little longer but we left. On our way back, we made sure to take a different route just to avoid running into him again. It’s not like my mom or I don’t want to donate money for a good cause, but if an organisation doesn’t offer pamphlets or accept one-time donations via money transfer, they can’t really expect people to sign a membership form just because someone on the street pushes it at them.

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As Soon As You’re In The Country, Everyone ELSE Is An Illegal

, , , , | Right | July 27, 2020

I volunteer for an organization that gives food, clothing, and doctor check-ups for those in need. Keep in mind that we only give food depending on family size to make it fair for everyone. Two women approach the window; they appear to be sisters.

Me: “Hi! Can I see your ticket, please?”

Woman #1: *Gives me the ticket* “Can we have an extra basket of food?”

Me: “I am sorry, but the food we give out depends on family size.”

Woman #1: “But I am an American; I deserve more food than these illegals.”

Me: “I am sorry, but it would not be fair for everyone else.”

Woman #1: “YOU—” *now pointing at me* “—and these illegals are taking away all my food; I want more food!”

[Woman #1]’s sister just stares at her, and then she speaks.

Woman #2: “Remember where you came from.”

[Woman #1] walked away with anger but embarrassment. [Woman #2] took the basket and thanked me.

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This Is Why We Have To Have These Rules

, , , | Friendly | June 16, 2020

Due to circumstances, we had to rely on the foodbank for a while. The way they operate is that you need proof of low income to register and then pay ten euro a week for a box of groceries. These are usually goods close to the sell-by date. If you skip a week, you still need to pay the fee; if you skip three weeks, you’re out. This is, of course, to avoid abuse.

I’m in line to pick up my goods and in front of me is another customer getting irate because he is removed from the list for skipping four weeks in a row. There is some discussion, a manager gets involved, and because he has kids, the manager agrees to add him again to the list, but he needs to pay the fee for the past weeks by way of a fine.

The customer, still irate, says, “I’m not going to pay the fine. I’ve been to Spain with my family; have you any idea how expensive that is?”

Strangely, he was blacklisted after this.

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The Only Thing They Are Providing Is Indifference

, , , , , | Right | June 12, 2020

Normally, when people say no to donations, I just nod and continue with the transaction. It’s not a big deal; not everyone can donate to every cause. But this time, it is a little difficult.

Me: “Would you like to make a donation for local children who can’t afford school supplies?”

Customer: “No, they can buy their own d*** school supplies.”

Me: “Um… Well, no, they can’t; that’s why we’re raising money.”

Customer: “They don’t need donations! The schools supply all their stuff!”

Me: “They don’t, actually. Parents are required to purchase all their children’s school supplies, and it can be quite expensive.”

Customer: “I know for a fact that schools provide the supplies!”

Me: “But if they did, we wouldn’t need to be raising money.”

Customer: “If kids can’t afford school supplies, they have programs for that! They have things where kids can get them for free!

Me: “Yes, I know. That’s what this is.”

Customer: “No! It isn’t through you! The school does it!”

Me: “Okay. Whatever.”

Customer: “They provide the school supplies!”

Me: “Okay.”

Customer: “I KNOW THEY DO!”

Me: “Okay.”

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Always Sending Them Back From The Back

, , , , , , | Right | May 31, 2020

Some of the customers at our store have the misconception that they can exit or enter through the back door, which leads directly into our parking lot. Since the back of the store contains our work area, the manager’s office and safe, and hundreds of dollars of merchandise waiting to be stocked, and is sometimes cluttered with boxes of donations, we have a strict policy about not letting customers walk through there unless they are making a donation or transporting heavy furniture, in which case we would clear the pathway.

An elderly couple who have been in declining health for the last year have made repeated attempts to use that door, despite our persistent reminders not to do so. 

The husband knocks on the back door, while the wife makes a quick trip to the grocery store next door.

Me: “Hi, sir, the entrance is at the front door. We can’t let customers through here for insurance and safety reasons.”

He happily obliges and uses the front entrance. About ten minutes later, the wife walks in and they spend the next half hour shopping. After making their purchase, they get ready to leave.

The wife tells her husband:

Wife: “Let’s use the back door.”

The husband, who has difficulty speaking due to radiation for throat cancer, lightly tugs his wife’s shirt towards the front door. He strains to reply to his wife.

Husband: “We have to use the front.”

After having a brief, indistinct argument with her husband, the wife begins walking toward the back of the store. At this point, I step in.

Me: “I’m sorry, but we had an incident last week and we cannot allow customers to use the back door. Please use the front door to exit.”

We really did have an incident last week, which prompted me to print a sign near the back of the sales floor noting, “This is not an exit! Please use the front door.” On top of that, we have a lot of boxes in the back. Given their fragile health, letting them use the back would be a bigger risk than usual.

Wife: “You don’t understand; this is a man who belongs in the hospital. Now let us through the back!”

Me: “Ma’am, I understand your situation, but this has been our store’s policy for eighteen years. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but you will need to use the front door.”

At this point, she flipped the middle finger with about half the store watching and, as fast as she could, walked out of the store with her seemingly unphased husband in tow. We have not seen them in the store since.

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