Saturday, June 28, 2008

When I am King

I went to a wedding tonight and if there is something that must be extinguished from society it must be this;

"I donated money to a charity and give this donation to you as a gift."

OK, seriously, when I'm king, you are one of the first people I'm going to send to the gallows.

This is not to belittle the Crohn's and Colitis foundation, but rather those that engage in such fake "altruistic" behavior. Seriously, WTF??? There are many reason why this is so dishonest.

1. What if I wanted my freaking gift? Huh, did that occur to you? Who are you to determine whether I want a genuine bona fide table gift or a donation (no matter how honorable it may be) to some charity? Truth is I don't care about the table gift. I wouldn't have even known there was a table gift to begin with. But then you say there WAS a table gift, but that was taken away from me and given to something else? Hello, how, precisely is that a "gift" for me?

2. Don't give me this gloating "how selfless and altruistic are we" BS that you were so "kind" and "charitable" to donate money in my name to a freaking charity. It's a cop out. Plain and simple. Additionally the condescending tone of it, "how dare you expect a gift when there are people suffering." No, I'm sorry, I'm a selfish, evil, capitalist, hate-filled, racist, dog-tripping, old-people punching, nose picking, booger-eating, goose stepping bastard. Where's my freaking gift?!

3. Not to accuse this particular party, but, I'm sorry, this is too rife to be abused. All I have to do is donate 30 cents to the "Captain Capitalism's Whiskey Fund" and write on some piece of paper that says "Your gift is a $5,000 donation we made to the 'Jones Cancer Fund'" I won't have kids, but I fully expect to have nieces and nephews. And when I do, Uncle Cappy is buying them X-box and ice cream and video games and fishing trips and Swiss army knives and splat ball guns and pocket bikes and water cannons and home made rockets and all the other cool stuff kids want but parents forbid. I'm not making a freaking-a charity donation in their name.

4. The concept of a gift is that you at least TRY to guess what the person genuinely wants. This is why I always advocate giving the gift of cash. Nobody is a better determiner of what one needs, than oneself. And think about what that person wants all you want, you'll never, in the quite literal economic sense give anybody a better gift than cash. In donating money to a charity of fund, you take away the semi-purchasing power of a true and genuine gift and force that person to donate their would be gift to something that is in reality nothing more than something designated to make you feel better about yourself. ie-quit giving a gift to you for yourself you cheat skate hypocrite. Either get them what they want, or cash, or nothing at all.

When I am king, "donating to a charity" as a gift will be punishable by death.


Kasia said...

Thing is, "table gifts" or "wedding favors" do not fit into the pattern of usual gifts.

If I want to buy my fiancé a gift, yes: I try to figure out just the right thing, exactly what he wants or needs, and failing that I let him pick out the gift (actually, that's our S.O.P. for birthdays and Christmas - we have a budget and pick our own gift for the other to buy).

However, at the average wedding the bride and groom are choosing one gift in 50, 100, 200, 400 iterations - the same gift for each guest. There is no earthly way to make that be about a special gift for THAT guest.

What usually ends up happening is there's a little bag of candy at your plate. One wedding I went to had small picture frames that held your table assignment, and the frame was your gift. Another wedding was frog-themed, and the gift was small wooden frogs that had a stick you could rub along the back to make a percussion-y sound when you wanted the bride and groom to kiss. Yet another wedding gave out little decorative homemade tchotchkes - they were cute on the table, but I threw mine away when I got home.

So unless you're a fiend for Jordan almonds or pastel M&Ms, odds are the gift isn't going to be anything you wanted anyway. And the purchase price of the gift is usually under $5, in fact more often under $3, so cash would be pretty lame.

So all in all, maybe a donation to a relatively innocuous foundation is not such a bad thing. And if it is, prepare yourself for some pretty bad gifts.

Kasia said...

Oh - and I forgot to mention, when you are king, please work a loophole into that law. If the recipient has specifically said that they WANT you to donate to a particular charity, I don't think the giver should be executed.

(My mother is reeeeeally into that, and always wants us to buy some chicks for a poor family in Guatemala or something.)

she said: said...

It's a little disingenuous don't you think? Since charitable donations are tax deductible.

It's like saying "I'm giving you a gift, but the government is paying me back".

Kasia said...

That's a fair point, though to benefit you'd have to qualify to itemize deductions. And I don't know a lot about the tax code, but my recollection is that you don't actually get the full donation value back - you get some weird percentage.

All in all, though, probably NOT the best wedding favor... :-)

Anonymous said...

i think charity gifts completely suck and show no class. to me it seems like a cheesy shortcut to get credit for the gesture of a gift without even making any effort. i just got one today that did not even specify the amount of the donation. for all i know they donated a shows no thought for the recipient. i enjoy giving gifts and i am good at it as well, i would never cheapen the enjoyment of gift giving by giving someone some douchey charity donation, i would be embarrassed to be so lame. i want the person to enjoy what they receive.