Thursday, March 23, 2006

Escaping Collectors

Last year, my parents sent me with Mishloach Manot to one of the very fancy houses nearby. Yeah, like finding a tree in a forest. I didn't have a choice, so I approached their door clutching some 99cent basket wrapped in cellophane, hoping to possibly get some Purim gelt out of the whole thing.

On the door, a sign reads, "The checkbook is not home."

Now, of course the countless collectors that go there are in for the money. And I don't blame them for being fed up and frustrated about it. Who knows which ones are real, and they're pushy and sometimes just plain rude. There are other people, however, who are there to do what Mishloach Manot does--form a connection.

This year, my mom took note of the people who said they were "running away" on Purim, so she doesn't get stuck with extras this year. These occupants of ostentatious mansions complained to my mother that it just gets too busy on Purim, and they must escape it. (Another proof of people viewing Yomim Tovim as burdens)

I'm sure you've heard, "You make your bed, you have to lie in it." Well, for this crowd, "Your maid makes your bed, so now you can lie in it." You built/bought a mansion, you have to pay the price. You're gonna be bombarded with collectors. It comes with the territory. I'm not saying these people don't give a lot of Tzedaka. I'm sure they do. I don't doubt that most of them are generous in their donations. I never looked in their checkbooks, and don't care to. Although the wives' credit card bills might seem entertaining.

Everyone has the right to build whatever they want. BUT, if you have a 2 million dollar house in Brooklyn, you have no right to complain about collectors. If you run away, you're avoiding the consequence of your own actions. I know it's tempting, but hey-you did it to yourself. And the big Ba'alei Tzedaka who live in nice, large houses, (not ostentatious ones) are also frustrated, but they have a right to complain. They're not asking for it. They didn't get on the list because of the monstrosity that took 3 years to build. They got onto the list simply by doing the Mitzvah of Tzedaka.


At 3/23/2006 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People do have a right to be free from solicitors showing up late at night or during family dinner time.
People also have the right to be free from drunk rowdy boys cruising around in limosuisnes.

At 3/23/2006 5:50 PM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

michelle you are 100% correct

At 3/24/2006 6:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and getting the place trashed year after year

At 3/24/2006 7:45 AM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

I agree as well. While we shouldn't be counting others people money and judging how they spend it... I always found it frustrating that those who really seem to have it disappear when Purim time comes along.

At 3/24/2006 8:03 AM, Blogger The Real Neo said...

1st of all, on Purim you are supposed to give to anyone who comes up to you asking for tzedakka and you are not even allowed to ask wht it is for.

Secondly I agree when you say that if you build a mansion people coming to you for tzedakkah comes with the trritory.

Thirdly, I think the chutzah doesn't come from the need to escape rather from putting such a rass note on the door. If you aren't going ot be home, then simply just not be home.

Great post, good shabbos!

At 3/24/2006 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the tailor: the wonderful, baal- midos, not drunk at all, full of good intentions, yeshiva bochurim, who are so respectful of baalei battim and their clean houses left that note on the door.
The smart baalei battim don't let the boys into the house, they insist on taking an envelope and then they mail in a check - this way the money goes where it's supposed to and the house doesn't get wrecked.
Also, they give tzedakah in Miami or wherever they go. And maybe they even write out huge checks to organizations they know about on that day specifically. Don't judge on what you don't know. But they are still entitled to keep their houses and self-respect intact; something drunk yeshiva leit are wont to destroy.

At 3/24/2006 12:17 PM, Blogger Angry Miserable Dater said...

anon: I was once in a friend's house Purim night - a fancy house, mind you - and when drunk collectors showed up, to his credit, the guy just threw them out. Hey, it's your house; don't be afraid to send people out.

I totally agree with Michelle on this one. These people oughta stick around and give to the collectors that act like mentschen. And tell the smashed teenagers where to go. That's aside from the fact that I wouldn't want my donation going to Tel Aviv Limos, but that's a whole different story.

A lot of people like to defend the wealthy, claiming "oh, they're fancy people, but they're spiritual, too." But when they pack out on the yom tov of "kol haposheit yad...," I have a hard time believing the apologists.

At 3/25/2006 8:35 PM, Blogger SephardiLady said...

The note was crass, but I think a person has a right to set hours that they will take visitors, even on Purim.

At 3/25/2006 9:29 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

First of all, (the last )Anonymous, I'm sorry but I think the only charity they're giving in Miami is to Paris and Nicky Hilton's inheritance. Get real.

The first anon-you are 100% correct about the limos. I think that's a huge waste, and totally inappropriate. TRhe drunkeness as well, goes without saying.

Sephardlilady-I hadn't thought of that. Let's say they allow collectors until 11 @ night, and till 6 Purim day, that's fair. This way they have enough time to show up at a decent hour. In general, those should be the rules for everyone.
Running away, however, is not an escape.

I never said these people don't give Tzedakah. Maybe they DO write out huge checks. But building a mansion simply makes more collectors come, and understably so. You're painting a dollar sign on your forehead, and that was YOUR decision when you made the freakin house.

A little off topic, but I HAVE seen some large houses that are nice and well maintained but modest, which I doubt generate such a mass of collectors, because it's clear that they are not flaunting their money.

At 3/25/2006 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michelle, you have never collected on purim so you should ask your brother or cousin how it works.
Many of the things you have said are untrue and based on false assumptions.
For example the boys have printed up lists that they use to target houses. They don't pounce on ostentatious ones and avoid modest large ones. Such a system is not practical and doesn't work. It's easy for outsiders to build up large theories and then blame everyone. Try to be an insider.

At 3/26/2006 5:40 AM, Blogger The Real Neo said...

Anon 1,

With all due respect your comment towards me was way out of line. It seems as if you have inside/actual info regarding this matter that I do not have. I think it is interesting with what you wrote regarding me cautioning me to not be judgemental, what exactly were you being?

There was nothing wrong with what I said, especially with th inforation I had which was from the post. If the info wasn't accurate how was that my fault?

Plus I think you missed what I was saying anyway but I shall stop here as to avoid furthe mussar.

At 3/27/2006 8:51 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Anon-read carefully. I wrote about the large non-showy homeowners that, "They didn't get on the list because of the monstrosity that took 3 years to build. They got onto the list simply by doing the Mitzvah of Tzedaka." I know that there are lists. The lists don't just come out of nowhere. Think about that.

At 3/27/2006 8:22 PM, Blogger Nemo said...

I collected once, albeit without the limos and dorky Shpiels. We didn't have a list, we just started walking up and down the streets going door to door. Persians didn't give much; a dollar or two if they even bother to open the door. But that's an old story. Our best 'hits' were at the moderate houses and the large ones were just overly packed and almost not worth the wait for the measly $50 check. I'm not complaining, I had fun anyway!

At 3/30/2006 4:08 AM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

I don't agree, assuming the money used was honestly earned; collectors have no right to even walk on the owner's drive way if he doesn't wish them too.
It's called trespassing.
Some people prefer donating large amounts to established organizations.
The Rambam says that there are two Tzedakahs, one where the donator makes a huge difference (by paying for an entire wedding for e.g.) or when the donator by himself makes and insignificant difference.
Wealthy people often choose the former.

At 3/30/2006 4:58 PM, Anonymous Chani Vegh said...

I don't approve the sign-if you don't want to let people in, just don't open the door, but there's no need to have an attitude about it. I also don't approve of the drunk boys in limos thing. It's not my place to tell boys/men not to drink on Purim, but if you're going to drink, at least make sure someone makes you stay inside so you don't humiliate yourself in public! I definitely understand how some people might not what a bunch of drunkards in their homes. However, if they're not drunk, there's not really any excuse. There's an inyan to give to anyone who asks(even drunks?). C'mon, just give a dollar, if you can't/don't want to do more, but give! The highlight of my Purim was when I was walking with my little sister & an old lady asked me for tzedaka. I didn't any money on me, but without blinking an eyelash, my sister pulled out the dollar she had just gotten at someone's house & gave it to the lady. I was so proud I almost cried! Honestly, we don't have collectors coming to us on Purim-we don't live in the 20s & our house is nice, but modest. But my sister does hear my father discussing how much money he collected in shul for his friend in Israel, & maybe that lead my sister to give tzedaka so readily. Even if the rich people are inclined to be tightfisted, if they thought about the impression they could be making on their kids by giving to all those people, I would think they would be more inclined to give.


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