The phone ringing startled me. We’ve been out of touch with everyone for about ten days, and the new slim phone on my desk was just learning to talk. It only took Stonehenge Movers six hours to move our apartment, but packing and unpacking have gone on and on. A multitude of books in boxes. There are still chairs here sitting around looking for a permanent home. Now we not only have a new address, but new internet providers, new phones, new confusion over fundamentals, a printer that doesn’t talk to my laptop.
“I’ve been trying to get ahold of you for a week.” It was a woman with a faint southern accent. I thought it was someone I had promised to do something for. Someone I had forgotten all about and now needed my help.
“It’s Cathy. Boy, have I been in a pickle not being able to get ahold of you.”
“Well, I said, “here I am.”
And then she launched into her pitch, which was for a contribution to the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She just knew that I was the kind of person who would help them out, and with breathtaking speed I was shunted to another warm, supportive woman who was ready to take my VISA or MasterCard number. Greeted with as emphatic a “No” as I could muster, she wanted to know that if I wouldn’t make a contribution with my VISA today, would I answer a mailing and send them a thirty or sixty dollar check for all the children who were depending on me?
“Sixty dollars would be better, if you could afford it.”
She never got my address.
If, heaven forbid, a mailing arrives, I know I will be getting more of these phone calls. These people are real pros. Fundraisers this good, this fast, this persuasive, do not come cheap.
There is a ton of information about the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation on the web, but nothing that I would put much faith in, except some letters from average people who complained that their elderly mothers and fathers were being besieged with incessant calls from these people. Even the Guidestar website (https://www.guidestar.org), which ordinarily has nothing but well-grounded info on non-profits seems to have been swarmed, and their site was filled with promotional phrases for this program.
Also on my ignore list are the calls from those mysterious power companies that are now offering great rates on solar power and wind generation. Not your National Grid, but friendlier and greener. I fell for one of them myself. You get a great deal for three months, six months, a year , and then boy you are back to reality and rates higher than National Grid. Beware. Get all the details. National Grid will probably tell you they are legit, but lobbyists for all these independents operating out of storefronts in South Philadelphia and Paramus New Jersey have been busy in Boston.