Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On Abusing Generosity

Due to the ever increasing workload lately, we’ve taken on some new employees.
The D’s each got a “new girl” to help with their work and I’ve been training in a rather gloomy, but pretty smart young guy on CAD.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know the new girls. They really liven the plastic-lined (remember the flood?) place up. But today I came to a point where I don’t want to get to know one of them anymore.

See, both the new girls (I call them “girls” but they are both older than me) are African American. They are both from the city. They are both single mothers in college. However, one likes to talk about the books she reads while the other talks about the bootleg DVD’s she watched the night before (and she “got any one” I want. Only $5.). One talks about how she spoils her kid with love and attention and is glad that’s enough because Christmas is going to be tight this year. The other…well…that’s why I don’t want to know any more about her.

She likes to announce things to a quiet room. We’ll be silent, working, and she’ll blurt something out. This doesn’t really bother me much. But today she said, “I need to get me some Toys For Tots or something.” I looked at her. “I broke, man. Bah-Roke. I need to get my babay some toys.”

I went by her to talk to her about it. “The Salvation Army runs a program with Lite FM called ‘Operation Joy,’ I told her, “I bet they could help you.”

“Operation Joy. Yeah. I got their number and I called, but I didn’t get no answer.”

“Well, I volunteered in their offices last year and they have lots of people answering the phones all day, you should try again in a little bit. Otherwise, I know most counties hold some kind of program.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll do that.” she said.

Twenty minutes later, she blurted out, “You know on this ‘Cyber Monday;’ they estimate there was [a mass amount of money] spent!?!?”

“Wow.” I replied, mostly uninterested. Internet facts are her favorite thing to blurt out and I’m a tad bit irritated that she spends so much time on the internet while mine has been set “off limits.”

“Yeah, I got me a laptop for $250!” She said.

I stared. “Really? Where’d you find a deal like that?”


“Wow.” I said again, trying to contain my anger.

Here she is, spending her WORKING time on the internet and finding good-hearted people to buy her kid Christmas presents because she’s “Bah-Roke” after buying herself a fucking computer. I wonder how many of those “good-hearted citizens” got THEMSELVES a laptop on “Cyber Monday.”

I can tell you what. Not THIS one.

Now is NOT the time for me to meet people who can successfully destroy all faith I have in man kind. I do NOT need to be thinking when I take that afternoon off to do data entry for Operation Joy, “Gee, I wonder what they blew all THEIR money on that need to use this service.” I just DON’T.

So my solution is to not get to know her anymore. I don’t know how I’m going to do this. But I have to. Because I just can’t know people who become stereotypical leaches on society. Other girl, however, I plan to get to know a LOT better. Because I could really use some empowered people in my life right now. Someone who will make me believe that there really are good people out there doing what they can and not asking for handouts. Someone who isn’t afraid to go without frivolity so she can plan a better life for herself. Someone who won’t make me feel like a fucking fool for giving up MY hard-earned vacation time to spend on programs on Operation Joy - or any other charity.


Sugar Kane said...

Do you work in my office becuase I think I sit near this girl.

Missed you!

Kelly said...

These type of people make me CARAZY! And I'm related by marriage to one of them. I'm not going to say who (my SIL). Ooooops did I just say that? Anyway, heads up girl. I just have to believe that most are genuinely in need not just a bunch of abusers.

Jodi said...

I completely and totally understand. I used to work at an office that was in strip mall kinda place. On one side of us was a cigratte/liquor store and on the side was a vacant office that at the holiday's housed a food bank/Toys for tots kinda place. I cannot tell you how many I watched go and get cartons of cigs and then go and stand in line to get free toys! It used to kill me. I was thinking about how much cigs cost and how many toys you could buy with that and it would drive me nutty. I must admit, it jaded me a bit. I guess the key is to find people who are genuinely in need and appreciate the good that others do for them. I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to know that girl. How frustrating!!!!!!!

krista said...

My departments at work used to sign up for this thing where the whole department buys stuff for a family in need. The year that I helped out, we bought all kinds of clothes and toys for 3 kids, and filled their fridge and freezer with food. They lived in this tiny little house, but had a HUGE TV, with a playstation and stuff. Some people really need to get their priorities straight. I was kind of turned off to donating to families in "need" after that. I just try to keep hoping that maybe somebody gave all that to them, but who knows.

Brillig said...

Yes, YES! I have people like this in my family, and even more in my husband's family. It's very difficult to continue to volunteer and donate, etc.

But for every idiot who's abusing the generosity, I just HAVE to believe that there's one who's life was changed. They were in dismal circumstances, and my contribution made for a Merry Christmas. I just have to believe that.

Awesome post, babe. I've missed you terribly!!! (Even posted about you yesterday... sorta. I should have said so much more.)

exskindiver said...

good decision, amy.
life is too short to waste your time getting annoyed.
focus on positive people is right.
(i am telling myself as i tell you)

Miss Kate said...

Really good post.

My sister and I were talking about this on the way to shop last Friday. I had been trying to plan an office-sponsored family adoption or a sock-drive for the homeless "closet" at my church.

Anyway, my sister had experienced the same feelings as you - one year her office had a family that wanted huge big-ticket items, came off as greedy, etc. Who knows what the story was... But the good part was the next year, they had a family who asked for pajamas and sleeping bags, and the kids were so excited they slept on the living room floor that holiday (and sent a picture that was sooo precious).

There will ALWAYS be bad apples. But what you're doing is very nable, and believe me, there ARE people who will appreciate it. And even if the moochy lady you work with is a big leech, hopefully her child will be grateful. (And not turn out like her mama.)

MommasWorld said...

Don't let one bannana spoil the whole bunch. There are hundreds who need the help and truly appriciate it.

I applaud you for taking time out of your busy schedule to donate your time. I think that is wonderful!

Canadian flake said...

I don't blame you for being irritated....these type of Moms give single moms a bad name. I was a single mom for 8 yrs and was on social assistance. I continued to work wherever and whenever I could...I just needed some help because my ex is a deadbeat that won't pay support. We went without a LOT and my kids always came first. We still don't have a lot as christmas but they sure appreciate what they do get.

Hang in there.

Virtualsprite said...

I'm irritated with this girl just reading this. I can't imagine how you can deal on a day-to-day basis. You must be a saint!

Yeah... we don't need people like this in our lives and it's such a test to have them. I can't tell you how many times I've failed the test and just gone off on them. Not very good of me, I know.

(Would have been commenting more, but your site keeps crashing on my computer at home... Sorry!)

Miss Patti said...

I can Imagine your face hearing her say that.... That would of drove me crazy to.

Life As I Know It said...

Yeah, it is very frustrating. I know someone like this too, but I keep reminding myself that there are lots of people who genuinely need help and so I continue to donate time and money.
Maybe I believe in karma too...
oh btw, I just tagged you if you're interested!

Whiskeymarie said...

Argh. So many dimensions to this problem, too many to cover here in my comment.
I just think that, if we could teach people from birth what "needs vs. wants" are a little better, a lot of people would be in a better place, financially speaking. I know it's hard to not want stuff, but geez, let's put stuff in perspective. Putting your "need" of a laptop before your children's christmas happiness is appalling.

Cherann said...

I think you're irate because it's the republican side of you. I'd be annoyed too but hey-- she's working the system. I actually think a computer is a necessity and I don't think that it's terrible that she bought it (even if she's Bah-Roke). Especially because she's going to college.
The whole announcing things to a silent room is kind of weird though. Almost like she's trying to get every one to hear the violin's playing for her sob story.

Butrfly Garden said...

cherann - if she needed the laptop for school or something, I could see it as a need, too. But she does already have a computer. She uses that for her "side business" of selling pirated cd's and bootleg DVD's. That's more than my old computer can do. The Man really wanted to get me a laptop for Christmas, but in order to make sure everyone else is covered, we're waiting until we get our taxes back. It's just a priority thing. Like what Whiskey is saying, people see "needs" and "wants" as being basically the same thing. And while toys are NOT a need, if you feel that they are not more of a priority than buying yourself stuff, then you shouldn't be asking other people to do it FOR you, either. Plus, I didn't mention on here how the next day, she spent an hour and a half researching music players on the internet and declaring how she was gettin' her one of them. Then, the NEXT day, she sat on her cell phone with a friend for like forty five minutes debating how they were going to go to some concert. She ended up with: If friend could get a babysitter, Girl would buy Friend's $85 dollar ticket for her. So, it's not just about the laptop. She's just a skeev.

Butrfly Garden said...

PS - I appreciate all your comments so much. But Miss Kate (and Brilly!), yours struck me solid. And motivated me. More in the next post. (Which I SWEAR I am working on!!!)

Brillig said...

Miss. Ing. You. (I know, that's not a newsflash, but I felt like declaring it anyway.) :-D

Carla Stream said...

My husband lost his job 3 years ago. We didn't have the funds for Christmas presents of any kind. Operation Help gave us the most blessed Christmas. I just cried. For those that need it, it is truly heartwarming to receive from total strangers.
This year I had the privilege of taking both of the bigs to buy gifts for the families their classes are sponsoring. :)

Kelly said...

Hey! Have you stopped? Or do you just have a new secret blog that you shamefully have forgotten to tell me about? If it's the latter, send me a line. If it's the first...oh, I'm so sad!

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