April 24, 2012
It took me a while to decide if I wanted to post this on my public blog. I don't want to seem ungrateful. However, it's a funny story and I'm still giggling about the whole process. I hope you get a chuckle, too!
I am helping with a fundraiser for one of the charities I volunteer for. About a month ago, I sent off a number of donation requests to several high profile organizations, including sports teams. The response has been amazingly positive. I was mailed a signed football from a pro sports team (GO BROWNS!), two box tickets to a ballgame (GO INDIANS!), 4 tickets to Walt Disney World (yeah, really!) and then an unnamed pro hockey team, not only approved my request, but contacted me via phone to inform me of as much. The same city's football team doesn't respond to unsolicited donation requests. I understood, they are a very successful business that can pick and choose who they donate to.
The community relations person for the team asked me to make an appointment to pick up their donation and had me spell my name twice for security purposes and reminded me to make sure I had a photo ID. It was explained that I would be on a list at the main reception area, to check in there, then they would send me on the elevator to the donation/community relations department. My anticipation was high, with such an incredible amount of filters, I could hardly wait to see what they were donated. Would it be club seats? Signed merchandise from one of their very famous players? What sort of donation must they be making to require such high security measures?
I couldn't drive to pick up the items for nearly a week after I received the phone call. The suspense was killing me. But I had my appointment and even received a confirmation call about the pick up date and time.
This morning, filled with excitement, I drove 75 miles each way to pick up the item. I paid to park and walked into their palatial offices, thrilled they were donating to our event. I was handed a bag with their logo and not wanting to seem too immature, I simply thanked them and walked out of the office. I didn't risk opening whatever valuable merchandise may be contained within while walking to my car, but I just tried to be patient until I was back in my car and could check what was in the bag.
(I know the anticipation is killing you, too, isn't it?)
I opened up the plastic drawstring bag to discover a pile of giveaway junk. Yes. Really.
There was a folding cardboard zamboni filled with corporate logos. A t-shirt and baseball cap. A cardboard 11x14 sign welcoming back a prodigal player. A video about the arena where they play. And a picture of some players complete with corporate logo across the bottom. A stretchy bookcover with the sponsor's logo.
I realize beggars cannot be choosers. I realize a donation is exactly that, it's what the organization wants to giveaway. But would a donation of a marginal value been too much to ask? According to Forbes magazine, while profits are down, the average NHL hockey team is worth $240 million, with an annual aveage revenue of about $103 million. I think they could have done better. Instead of breeding good will, I have sour grapes. I really wish they had just said, "we don't make donations". I feel like I got an entirely new understanding of the term, "cheapskate".