I went down to the Salvation Army for Bell Ringer Orientation. There were about 30 people there. However, David and I were the only volunteers. The rest of these people were going to get paid minimum wage, or $8.00 per hour. I didn’t even know that they paid people to do this. I had already said I would volunteer. I don’t mind really. Every hour I work, saves them $8.00. The guy in charge explained that it would make the charity more money if they had more volunteers and asked if anyone would be willing to give up their $8.00 per hour for the charity. Only one person said yes. She could only work evenings and one day a week, but at least it was something.
I understand that these people probably need the money. I know how they feel and I am traveling that path too. However, in my opinion, if they are paying you, it is a job and therefore should be treated like one. Example, several people smelled pretty bad and were wearing dirty clothes. Some of them had brought their children. Many of them complained about everything. They complained about the “no gum” and “no eating while ringing”. They complained about the no cell phone rule. A lot of them were pushy about getting a lot of hours and where they would work. They complained about the apron or the “no sitting” policy. Shifts are either 4 hours or 8 hours. Of course, there are breaks and lunches. Even as a volunteer, I should follow the same guidelines.
One particular family really got to me: a mother and her two daughters who were going to do it, and their dad, who was waiting for them. After the orientation, people who had not filled out their paperwork in advance had to stay and fill it out. David and I had to and so did this family. They were loud. The daughters were probably about David’s age; one maybe a little older and one a little younger. The older one was pregnant and had a little boy with her. They were loudly arguing about what they would do with their 8 dollars per hour. They loudly complained about only getting four-hour shifts. They loudly argued about how they all lived in a two-bedroom house. The dad was not doing it. He was just standing around wearing a shirt with a pot plant on it… IN A CHURCH! I am not overly religious, but have some respect. Anyway, Gary, the guy in charge, came in and handed each of us a packet. He instructed David and me, as volunteers, to skip certain sections. (We did not need to submit an employment application, I-9, or W-4. We just needed to acknowledge the rules and regulations and consent to background check.) Anyway, when the youngest daughter heard this she yelled at me, “Why the hell would you want to work for no money?” (Reminder… We were in a church.) I told her I could not afford to donate money, so I was donating time. She said that was stupid. I almost beat her up in the church. Then as we were sitting there, filling out the forms, this same girl is loudly telling her mom about how the welfare stopped sending her checks and are “going after her for no reason” because she claimed her son lived with her and he did not. Apparently, the father of this child also was collecting aid for that child and when they looked into it and found the truth, they apparently want her to pay it back. She does not think that is right. Her exact words… “I had the damn kid and I need it to take care of myself.” Seriously, I finished my paperwork and left before I killed her. They should be calling me and letting me know when I will work and where sometime this weekend. They officially start ringing on Monday. I think it will be fun. I wish I could get some Christmas-y shirts or a Santa hat or something festive to wear.
Anyway, it’s a good cause and if you have the time, save them some money and ring a bell for free for a few hours.