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Charity Outsmarts Local Resident…

November 30, 2009

For years, I’ve seen the good-natured, holiday-spirited volunteers freeze their asses off standing outside shopping malls and Wal-Marts for the Salvation Army, shaking that bell and asking for donations. Due to my Catholic upbringing and the deep, penetrating sense of guilt that accompanied it, I opened my wallet and gave every time I heard that bell like I was Pavlov’s Dog. As I grew wiser, I realized that all this money (probably $5 total over the whole season…”all this money”) I was giving to brighten the holidays of struggling families and their children, I could be spending on myself. Eventually, I adapted and would start leaving cash in my car if I knew I was only going to spend a certain amount so I could avoid the raging guilt.

Then, in college, I realized I was eligible for this thing called “credit,” and never needed to use cash or coin ever again. Besides being free money, I realized that during the holiday season, the excuse of only carrying credit cards would forever solve the dilemma of the pitiful charity case I encountered every time I wanted to spend my money on its rightful owner. Being able to hold up my cash-less wallet was like a valium for my charity anxiety. I mean no one believes people when they say “Oh, I already gave earlier,” or “I give at my church.” Everyone knows that person is a selfish, lying hack who is just showering him or herself with presents. But with my credit card strategy, I could show them that I was just not in a position to donate with no cash on me. Problem solved, Dan: 1, Charity: 0.

Turns out charity had an ace in its hole, or in its red kettle. The Salvation Army will now have credit card machines , for the non-cash carrying, or the strategically non-cash carrying. It appears that they will only be at “select locations,” so for the time being, I can still plan my shopping route to avoid those “select locations,” but it’s only a matter of time before they start creeping up at every place and just replace the red kettle, altogether. Do I go to just carrying huge bills? Maybe they don’t take American Express, so I can just leave my debit card in my car, and just carry the Amex? What is this world coming to when a man can get hit up to donate via charge cards? Are charities going to start handing out card readers to the homeless, too? The day the trash bag lady comes up to me and tells me she takes Amex…that’s going to be the day I jump…

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