Ok everyone, Operation JINGLE is underway. On Saturday Sean and I went out to run a million & one errands and the Salvation Army bell ringers were out in full force.
Operation JINGLE stands for Jen Is Not a Greedy Little Elf. To read more about this experiment, click here. Basically, I want to make sure I have the right attitude about Christmas, that it means more to me than just buying stuff and getting all materialistc, etc etc. So I've promised that I will donate money to every Salvation Army bucket I pass. Here is my experience thus far.
The day: Saturday
Location: Target in B-town and then Manhattan.
I live close to a Target that is part of a larger shopping center of sorts. Kind of a mall but not as many stores. Total for the day, we passed six SA bell ringers. 3 in the Target and 3 elseplace.
To be honest, I'm not sure how well it's going. I I noticed things that were a little below what I would expect someone who is not a greedy little elf to be. But, it's still the beginning of the experiment. I have room to grow. Here are my notes:
1. 5th avenue: I love that on the back of the jackets the bell ringers wear, it says in huge letters "BELL RINGER." I'd love to get a picture but I don't think I can amidst all of this hubub. Also, important to remember: if you pause on the sidewalk to take a picture, people will hiss and curse at you.
2. First indication that my experiment isn't going as well as I'd hoped: I am only donating coins and while i love avoiding any guilt that would normally come from trying to ignore a bell ringer as i scurry by, seeing dollar bills inside the bucket kind of brings back a little twinge of guilt. Maybe I'm not the greediest, but I'm greedier than those people. Something to consider.
3. Second indication, and also something to think about: As i came up out of the subway, I passed a homeless person and suddenly realized: I'm donating to all the Salvation Army bell ringers but walk right by homeless people sitting on the ground, holding out their hands for money. I reflect: is it easier to donate to a bucket than a person? why? am I still affected by my rejection that one time?.
4. Amusing observation: I realize I am starting to become conditioned by the sound of the bell. After passing by 3 or 4 SA bell ringers, and not wanting to miss any, I am hyper-sensitive to the bell sound. ANY bell sound, as it turns out. The pedi-cabs also have a bell of some kind and I find myself immediately reacting to it. I am almost literally a Pavlov dog but instead of salivating, I instinctively reach into my bag to get my wallet. This happens several times throughout the day and though I laugh, it could be a problem.
As i reflect back, overall, my experience was very pleasant. People were very grateful and i felt better by their thanks than by donating my lame 35 cents or whatever it was. It's probably a rough job. I got a "thank you and God bless!" and "thank you! happy holidays!" and i got a mint from another one. Sweet! Wait, no, crap! I am not doing this for a reward. I am not. I took the mint because I wanted to show that I am grateful for their gratefulness and will accept the Mint of Gratitude.
Now, pondering the previous paragraph and prodded by my record-taking of the ringers' reactions, I wonder if I'm more motivated by the thanks I get or by the feeling of donating something to a good cause, regardless of what people say to me. Would it bother me if they said nothing? If i got no thanks? Am I now wishing I'd donated tic tacs instead of coins? Friends, I'd appreciate your input. I have decided that Operation JINGLE is off to a mediocre start and will keep you abreast of my progress, if there be any.