Monday, September 29, 2008

Uncharitable Charity

Yesterday I attended a fundraiser for cancer research. It was a good day and I'm sure they raised a lot of money, but they created no goodwill among those at my table.

The main attraction of the day was a silent auction. For those who don't know what that is, let me explain. There are many items on a table and each one has a sheet of paper on which to write your bid. If someone else wants that same item, they raise your bid and sign their name.

Initially, they announced that if you submitted the winning bid, you should come up to the front, pick up your sheet and pay for your item, then come back with your sheet to pick up your item. They also said that if you had bids on many items, you could pay with one check. The instructions sounded good on paper.

A friend of mine had the best bid on one item and one of the workers brought her prize to her even though she hadn't paid. They also brought one to another friend at the table. A short time later, my friend had another winning bid, but was told she had to pay before she could get her prize, then they took the first one away until she paid. All the while, they paid no attention to the other item on the table. In fact, they kept bringing gifts to anyone who submitted the winning bid.

This angered my friend so much, she was ready to go home without paying for anything and leaving everything there. When I left she was telling one of the organizers what had happened and how she felt. I later heard that they apologized to her, but I think they were very unfair to someone they know well and can be trusted not to run out with her prizes without paying.

Even though this was a charitable event, the organizers were very uncharitable to the donors. If the same people are in charge next year, I doubt if I will go.

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