I have problems with projects that are out to shame me into giving my time, money or service to their organization. There is always an air of superiority about them, as if I'm not really good enough to join their little program, but if I do their challenge, I might be able to join their clique. This will inevitably involve me walking a mile in someone else's shoes so I can understand the challenges those who will be helped by the project goes through every day.

I saw something on the web called Live Below The Line. It is a project to show awareness of extreme poverty around the world, which effects about a fourth of the world's population. Hugh Jackman has a PSA on YouTube teasing people to join the project and when you go to the site you learn a bit more about the organization, but to really understand the impact, the people are asked to join this five day challenge where you live off $1.50 a day for food. An actress from the new 90210, Gillian Zinser, has a two minute video showing what it is like to live off $1.50 a day. Maybe there should be a longer video or maybe someone else should have been used to speak about the project, but she, and by proxy the site, was one big guilt trip and a 'we are better than you' experience.

Maybe she is living so well off 90210 she forgot what it is like to be a starving actor, but if you want to live off $1.50 a day you don't start by going to Whole Foods. What are you going to find at Whole Foods that would work into the $1.50 plan. Now, unlike her, I have had to live with $5 for a work week. Honestly I think a lot of people have lived through lean times, and they know they can't dip a toe into Starbucks. She did the little Hollywood pout about not being able to hit a Starbucks because the overpriced coffee was, surprise, over priced.

Surprisingly, what turned me off was the manipulation they did other than the Starbucks and Whole Foods. Zinser went to a 99 cent store and bought a couple of cans of food to 'survive' for the week. It was so sad to see her sitting down for the meal, with her having to measure her meager meal out to reach he goal, but she was so proud of herself. Meanwhile, people who actually watch their money, like myself, wondered where the Raman was. At any given time Raman is on sale for anything form 6-10 for a buck. So for a buck or two you could have the building blocks for the week, maybe a two cans for a buck for vegetables and if you add bread you probably are close to spending the allotted money for the week.

Now, you would think with all the trashing I just did of the organization I would be against it. I'm not. What I grow tired of are celebrities, politicians, people of stature in society trying to convince me by manipulation to give to their projects. It sounds too much like a government funding project where they give tax breaks to the rich and tax the poor because of trickle down economics. You want me to live off $1.50 a day for food. Well I hate to tell you but proportionally I do. I don't long about missing a Starbucks coffee because I can't afford a Starbucks coffee. Shopping at the 99 cent store; it's a necessity not a way of being able to complete a project. Whole Foods, no I go to Albertsons, Safeway or another mass market supermarket because I can't afford the high food cost in Whole Foods. At the end of the day, you can sacrifice for a week then go back to shopping at the high end places and have money left over for a semi-lavish or extremely lavish lifestyle. I don't live that far from the line you talk about, yet you ultimately want me to spend money to support your cause, while you will end up at promotional events where thousands of dollars will be spend on food, people will dress up expensive gowns, and you will look at the camera with sad eyes asking me for help. I would suggest before asking me for help you might want to take the dress back and using the money you have to help before asking me.


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Stop Shaming Me for Money - May 10, 2011
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