I was ripped off by a nun. It is an embarrassing story. When I was in my early 20’s, I was minding my friends store while she ran some errands. I was sitting behind the counter minding my own businesses, when suddenly a nun marched into the store. She was an imposing figure with her long habit billowed around her like a cape, and she was a good foot taller than me. She walked up the counter, slapped down a calendar and insisted I buy one to support their cause. I do not remember much of the interaction but I do remember how I felt. I was intimidated, confused, embarrassed and she was insistent. Before I knew it, I was removing money from my wallet and handing it to the nun to buy a glossy calendar. It was money I could not afford to part with as I was a starving student and I was BROKE! My Troubles were insignificant in comparison to the plight of whatever good cause the sister was supporting.
Later when my friend returned from her errands, she saw the calendar and laughed. I asked her why she was laughing and she told me the nun and the calendar were a big charade. I had just been ripped off by a woman posing as a nun.
Now I was not just embarrassed I was angry too.
Maybe that experience was a blessing in disguise Though? (Blessed by an impostor Nun?) Oh the irony. I am now wary of any request for money for any cause. My default answer is “I already gave.” Liar! Do not get me wrong, I do give, but to charities only the ones I choose, understand and care most about.
Charities are Everywhere
Charities have become “big business” and there are so many of them clamoring for my money. Not long ago, I went to the grocery store and as I drove into the lot, the fire department was there with their boots asking for money for the burn unit, a table was set up at the front of the store for a pet shelter asking for money to support the shelter, two military people were standing inside the doors asking for a donation and at the end of my shopping the clerk at the register asked me to donate a few dollars to their food bank program. All great causes I am sure but golly I was just out to get some milk and bread.
Charities Can Take Advantage of People
I also remember my Grandmother giving a significant amount of money (significant for her) to a charity. I cannot remember which one but I do know they sold her name to other charities and there was an onslaught of phone calls, mailing and appeals for money. These people were relentless, rude, pushy and did their best to take advantage of an elderly woman. She was incapable of saying no. In the end we would screen her calls and tell them that she had passed away so they would leave her alone. My grandmother thought this was pretty funny and was relieved.
The lessons for me:
- It is okay to say no.
- I will give and give as much as I want but do it on your own terms.
- I will watch out for my loved ones because people may take advantage of them.
- I will remember that charity begins at home.