I turned down a good cause. A door-to-door representative from the Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) approached me and I flatly declined to donate either my time or money to the cause. Donating my bone marrow was out of the question. Was it worthy cause? Yes. Were they asking for much? No. Could I have been inclined to help out? Maybe. So why didn't I?
It was the sales pitch. The boy, bless him, was such an android doing everything he had been programmed to do. He started off by offering me some very unpalatable alternative ways to be a contributor. While he wasn't asking for my bone marrow, he suggested that I could be a volunteer like him, then he reminded me how busy I probably was and so I wouldn't be likely to consider contributing that way.
Next, he went on a heartbreaking spiel on how young some of the bone marrow recipients were -- "months... months old only" and how would I feel as a parent of such a child, separated from parental love being confined in a glass box and stuffed full of tubes? I happened to be holding on to the dog at the time, so it was hard to empathize.
He complimented me on my interior decor (seriously?), hoping to trigger a psychological reminder of how well-off I was, then offered me a suite of possible tax deductible donation plans and which demographic each plan was targeted at. He surmised that like so-and-so and so-and-so who signed up (ooh, neighbour envy), I might undertake the middle-income plan, at which point I had heard enough and closed the door on him with a "thank you for the information, sorry for wasting your time."
Understand that the boy did everything he was taught.He smiled at the right time, he picked up on the right cues, he asked for reasons for my concerns... he was trained well. And that's my problem. I turned him down because he was doing what he was told. While he may well have been personally motivated for whatever reason to volunteer for this worthy cause, his performance was perfect as a mouthpiece for whomever trained him and didn't sound sincere at all. Most of all, I hate being manipulated. This template-dialogue just made it so obvious.
Perhaps karma will bite me in the ass someday, but if and when I do donate to a good cause, I want to do so because I genuinely believe it is the right thing to do, and not because I couldn't say, "no", to someone groping around looking for the right buttons to push on me.