Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Thursday, 2017.06.29
When I sell liquor, it's called bootlegging; when my patrons serve it on silver
trays on Lake Shore Drive, it's called hospitality.

		Al Capone

2006.12.25

Crap For Tots

NBC affiliate AZ Central had a news bit about an apparent down-and-out mom complaining about the quality of the toys her children received from the Toys for Tots program The piece was rather condescending, perhaps even a bit mean spirited, in my opinion. Actually, it was down right snarky.

Talking Head One at the end of the piece accentuates: “Toys for Tots say they gave out 28,000 gifts in Flagstaff this year and only received…twocomplaints….I don’t know what to say about that one.”

Talking Head Two: Yeah.

I know what to say. Two complaints for 28,000 toys doesn’t mean what the Talking Head thinks. That doesn’t translate to near pure satisfaction among the recipients. I would say it is likely that the parents who suffered the humiliation of having made the decision to partake of charity, such as the Toys for Tots program, at this time of year particularly, would more than likely not compound that humiliation by complaining about what they received. I would venture there were others similarly disappointed as was “Jessie” in the news bite. It’s just that they didn’t speak up.

Where did they find “Jessie?” Did she come forward or did the news channel seek her out? Either way, I’d agree with Jessie. What she got was crap while the hand offering the gift was promising something better. The attitude of the well paid Talking Heads, as well as the prevailing sentiment in a thread on the news bit over at Hot Air, is that she’ll take her gruel and damn well better like it.

Wow. She’s returning the toys and going to buy her own. So, why didn’t she buy her own in the first place?

This says more about the Toys for Tots program than it does about Jessie. Is their program so shoddy that a down-and-out mom would rather scrape to find her own presents than accept the junk dispensed by Toys for Tots? To their credit, Toys for Tots will exchange gifts if a parent chooses. But again, what parent would choose to endure the same humilation twice? Perhaps they think all the toys are of such quality and an exchange would be meaningless. We’re not told by the Talking Head how many of the 28,000 gifts were exchanged.

My take on listening to Jessie is not that she’s complaining for herself but for her children. Working on the assumption that her children would receive something worth about $10 (still a paltry sum in today’s market), she likely didn’t shop for gifts. Now, at the 11th hour, she has to deal with the disappointment of her children. Speaking from experience, some free “gifts”, like free advice, do more harm than good.

I don’t know how the Toys for Tots program works exactly, but it seems to be a bit of a roll of the dice on what you get. Will it be age or even gender appropriate? What prevents the parents from knowing what is in the package? It would likely make for better matches between gift and child.

And what of the donor? If the value if the gift is supposed to be around $10, what the hell were they thinking by tossing $1 gifts in the donation bin? And why did the Toys for Tots volunteers event bother wrapping them when they could plainly see the value was a paltry 97¢? May the donor receive 97¢ worth of coal this Christmas.