Sunday, 25 April 2010

Cold Calling

One of the privileges of staying home in the middle of the week is receiving cold calls trying to sell you stuff. Or, in the case below, get my money contribution:
[Note: the following transcript is accurate only in spirit; my memory is not that good]
Cold Caller: "May I ask if you'd be interested in selling raffle tickets for our Save the Children fund?"
Yours Truly: "No, I choose to be selfish. A line has to be drawn and there are just that many causes I or anyone else can support in this world of finite resources."
A rather confused Cold Caller: "So you are not willing to help save the children?"
Yours Truly: "No."

You may think the above makes me an idiot asshole. You're probably right. Still, think about this: There are something close to an infinite number of good causes out there, yet any one of us hardly does anything to support but a few of them. Why should I surrender to this particular application of psychological extortion? Is it just because it was my phone number's turn to come up on some elusive call center's queue?
The reality is none of us does as much as we can to address good causes. Not the guy from the call center and not even you, because if you were to do everything you can to help the needy you wouldn't be reading this but rather helping the homeless. Oh, and that cake you've had? Think how many starving kids in Africa you would have nourished there. There is no end to these things and a line has to be drawn where I choose to become selfish.
My point is that we all have to make our compromises and decide at which point it's worth to stop giving and start living, given that we only have one life each and that one life tends to be rather short and chaotic. The only difference between me and everybody else is that I am not about to shy away from my selfishness and pretend that by giving away a dollar to a cold caller I have saved the world.
What we should all be doing is pro-actively think how we can best improve this world we live in. For some of us the answer would be giving away money to charities, for others the answer would be different; but no cold caller intent on maximum profits per call time should be causing a significant revolution to my priorities. Or yours.


Uri said...

it's not the not-willing-to-donate that makes you the IA, it's the fact that you give the "draw the line somewhere" speech instead of just saying no (which I'm sure plenty of people do).

I really hate these type of calls. At least with the door-to-door collections somebody has to work. Here the trouble on their side is pretty minimal.

Moshe Reuveni said...

I think it takes a special breed to be able to make cold calls. Which is why I'm not going to give them the privilege of leaving me feeling guilty and why I answer back.