Unsolicited ‘gifts’ guilt her into giving

Published 1:54 am Saturday, September 8, 2018

The package came from a company I have never heard of. Inside was a fabric tote bag. Nothing else. No card telling me where this latest “gift” came from. My son held it up to look it over. “That’s pretty neat. You can throw it in the car and use it to carry those great tomatoes you get at Wingard’s Produce,” he suggested.

I laughed. Not at his suggestion, since it wasn’t a bad idea. Actually, I was wondering if I would have room for the tote on the hook in my closet where ten other totes hang. A really nice one with several pockets and of good quality arrived after I subscribed to a news magazine. Recently I removed one to pack a five-piece set of my husband’s Reverend Alabaster Armstrong Mystery books for a friend. I told her to keep the bag. Most of the rest on that hook showed up in the mail asking for a donation to some cause.

Two shelves in an organizer cabinet in my office are jammed full of address labels—wads of them. There’s enough to last me a lifetime and more. I asked for none. Some have flowers, lots have flags, others have animals, part of them has cute children pictures, a few have stars, and many have religious symbols and various other things on them. Lately when more come, even though they are pretty, I cut them up over my wastebasket.

I just opened a letter from an organization to which I have often made donations. It came with a 2019 personal planner and a request for another donation for which I can either receive an American flag or, yes you guessed it, an attractive tote bag. At least on this one, I can check a preference box to use the full donation for the organization instead of receiving a gift. I will, if I donate.

When I cleaned a dresser drawer last week, I found four or five sewing kits, complete with several needles, a spool of thread, and a handy little threader, all compliments of some unknown organization. On an end table next to my recliner, I have stacked several little square coasters with the cutest pictures of children on them. To date, I have received three sets of these. Twice over the years, I received pretty little throws.

So far, at least four or five unrequested 2019 calendars and close to the same number of personal planners found their way to my mailbox.

If they must, I wish these organizations would just ask for money. I don’t want their gifts. I no longer feel guilty ignoring requests for money when I get an unexpected gift. When I donate, I want the money used to help those who need food or help in some way, not to pay for something I did not order and for postage to mail it.

I think I’d be safe in guessing there are many who feel the same way.



Nina Keenam is a former newspaper reporter.