It is sad, but I think my favorite reply to a request is “no”. And what’s worse, I no longer feel guilty about it. I was not always this way, but changes in technology, trust, and other factors have turned me into a declining machine. Here are some things I refuse to join and donate to:
I refuse to join any clubs, groups, or organizations. I belong to zero, none, zilch, nada! I will not join a political party because I think they are all sold out to special interest groups. I do not even belong to a softball or basketball team anymore. What are my reasons? First of all political, corporate, religious, or other agenda driven organizations take advantage of our privacy. They sell our names to others who fill our mailboxes, voicemail, and email accounts with never ending propaganda, requests for money, and pressure to join their club. To make matters worse, these requests snowball over time. Take my advice, if you want to warship God, do it in solitude with your family. All of these ploys are all smart marketing tricks, but I do not like it. Secondly, other clubs such as a hiking club, chess club, or softball league means we must rely on others for their success. And maybe I am off base, but people to me are much less trustworthy than ever before. People procrastinate and are unwilling to help organize events, and worse of all most people fail to help the team, club, or organization to be a success. If I join a group, I am in 100% and will do my role and then some. Meanwhile, others are more often than not less committed and that is very annoying to me.
I refuse to donate to public charities anymore. The reason is simple, you donate to one and then you have hundreds of solicitors asking for more money. My advice to people is to anonymously donate (cash) to individuals in your community that need assistance. This is one way to help others without being overwhelmed with phone calls, mail, and email. I simply do not trust charities anymore. They are not immune to scandals and, on average, less than 50 cents on every dollar goes to its intended cause. On the other hand, if you donate directly to a family in need, all of that money goes directly to its intended cause. Of course, the down side is that we cannot write off these donations, but you still get more of a bang for your dollar. I would give the same advice to those that want to donate to election campaigns. Donate directly to the candidate of your choice and avoid those middle organizations such as the RNC or DNC. A good example of charity abuse is the scrutiny that Lance Armstrong’s cancer charity Livestrong is receiving. The charity spends more money marketing and maintaining Armstrong’s tainted image than it gives to cancer research or to help people infected with cancer.
I even try to avoid buying things online or using credit cards to pay for items. The reason for this is because this purchasing approach leaves a paper trail. When there is a paper trail there is not only a potential for fraud, but companies will sell your information to others to solicit you to buy more things.
Joining a social network site (like Facebook) can also be a problem. I do belong to Facebook, but we can forget about our privacy rights when we join social networking sites. Every group you join on Facebook and every site you hit is recorded. Facebook and friends can also use your biography and interests for marketing purposes. All of this information is sold so ads, which correlate to your interests, are added to your Facebook page. Another issue with Facebook and social networking sites are viruses. We must rely on friends and hope they are trustworthy and responsible to have a virus free computer. It is essential to upload a good anti-virus software so your computer to block cookies, viruses, spyware, and popup windows. Big brother is watching and wants to know everything they can about us.
It is unfortunate, but if you want a hassle free life, just say “no”. Do not join clubs, organizations, leagues, or groups. Maybe I am turning into an isolationist, but life is much less stressful.
My Book: Is America Dying? (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble)