'Tis the season for the Salvation Army bell-ringers. Who make me uncomfortable for two reasons:
1. They look like they're freezing their asses off. Here in upstate New York, standing outside a grocery store ringing a bell for hours at a time is NOT where you want to be this time of year. I feel guilty as I rush by them, all bundled up, to get into the nice warm store.
2. Okay, here's where the Grinch in me really comes out. I'm sure that the Salvation Army does many, many good things. And one of the good things is that they have a residence hall, not far from my office, for homeless men. That's good, right? Except, every freaking time I drive past that place, there's a bunch of the guys from the hall out by the curb, smoking.
Now. If somebody wants to smoke, well, that's their right. I did it for many years. But. These are the homeless men, whom the Sal has given a place to live. Where are they getting the money for the cigarettes? In this neck of the woods, cigs are now, like, NINE BUCKS A PACK. Shit, one of the reasons I quit smoking was because it was getting so expensive.
And I've got a sneaking suspicion that the money for the cigarettes? Is coming, directly or not, right out of the bell-ringers' red kettles. Oh, I'm sure the residence hall director isn't exactly saying, "Here, Joe, here's ten bucks, go buy yourself some smokes", but realistically? These homeless men are being supported by the Sal. And are somehow able to afford cigarettes. And I put two and two together, and, well ... it's been a long time since I've put any money into those red kettles.
Just call me Grinch.
Anything about Christmas that ticks you off?