A lot of guys I know are working part-time jobs on the side these days. You know, bring in a few extra bucks, have a few little luxuries now and then (tank of gas, marshmallow topping on a snowball). Some guys deliver flowers, some drive a cab, some pick up work here and there doing odd jobs.
I get the mail!
All of a sudden, every charity - name one, and they are doing this - is sending a nickel along with their letters asking for money.
And the letters go on to ask for money!
So, I understand the plan. It's a mini-version of the deal that Pastor Robert Tilton used to use on TV. His deal was convincing the rubes that:
a) they wanted to get into Heaven
b) no poor, ill-clad, ill-fed, ill-housed loser is going to get into Heaven
c) God will swing wide open the gates of Heaven to a well-dressed, well-fed, well-housed preacher - and his flock
d) so if the audience would send Tilton their donations - he called it seed money - he would be that sort of prosperous televangelist and lead them all into Heaven.
It worked for quite a while until his operation was shut down for all sorts of violations. You might recall the time that Diane Sawyer did a story about his racket on ABC, and reported that he was renting his mansion from a drug dealer and taking all this "prayer money" that people were sending him and tossing their prayers, unread and unprayed, into the dumpster.
The charities that are sending me all these nickels - and it does add up to around, oh, 15 cents a week - are banking on that nickel making me feel like the biggest ingrate in the world if I were to pocket the picture of Thomas Jefferson and not send them 50 semolians in return. And the truth is, we do give to charities if the charity is worthy, in our estimation. If it seems like something that should chug along without our money - like the kind of mailing we see asking for money to buy fur-lined gloves for the retired population of Key West - I keep the change.
In other words, sending me a nickel isn't going to make a diff as to whether or not we will contribute. But oh boy, am I proud of all my nickels!