26 June 2005


So, a little advice here. I got some mailing address labels the other day. You know, how an organization sends you some in the hopes that you'll donate some money. I'm assuming this is a good tactic for fundraising, because it seems to happen frequently. Not all the time, but enough that whenever I'm running out of one set, I usually get another one. Right on time, too, but always from another organization. It's as if there's some umbrella agency whose sole function is to monitor when people run out of free address labels. This really wouldn't surprise me--I can almost imagine what the workplace is like. "Diane, check sector 12. We have a Bob Smith in Chicago who decided to send out all his bills this month instead of using online bill-pay. He's running dangerously low; hit him up with those Mothers Against Drunk Driving labels, the ones with the little gold foil broken martini glass on the side." Or something like that.

Normally, I don't feel obliged to donate. I take the labels, check the name of the charity to make sure it's not one I'm giving to already or anything, and then I'm done. Okay, so I don't always check who sent it. I'm just that bad. I figure they're getting enough return to more than cover the labels and shipping costs. If not, then I've helped them learn a valuable economic lesson for the future. But these labels usually aren't that great anyways. Usually, they have something very feminine (cats! tulips! cats with tulips!), so that I'm forced to use them only on bills from places I don't like (I don't like most places I get bills from, of course). And then I hope I'm not being entered into some database: look, he used a label with pink lace, we'd better his name on the watch list. I don't know what the watch list would be for, but I'm sure there is one.

But these most recent labels present a problem: they're nice. Really nice. We're talking loads of metallic, full color embossing. And so much detail. One shows the Mackinac Bridge (in gold) against a waving American flag, the next has Mount Rushmore (in gold), the next a simple S for Skuzinski in one of those rich gothic fonts (and surrounded by...gold), etc., etc. Eight styles, and only one dud (a disembodied eagle head--with, you guessed it, a big gold beak...I'll be paying bills with that one). These are beautiful labels. Exquisite labels. When I hold them up to the light, and see their shiny wonderfulness, I almost get choked up. So here's the problem. I feel compelled to give something now, but on the other hand I feel like it's wrong somehow to give because I got the labels. And I feel like I'm not upholding my principles. Honestly, I wouldn't have given to the Disabled American Veterans. I mean, I would, but I wouldn't have taken the initiative. So isn't this succumbing to being cajoled?

I tell myself that this is what they wanted. That they splurged a little on these labels because they knew the impact it would have. Heck, these labels could have garnered a contribution to the Pig Roaster's Society of America, or something equally mundane. You really should see these labels, if you haven't already realized it.

I guess I should just stop writing now and get out my checkbook. 


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