Grousing About Giving

One way to reduce stress and angst in your life is to let people live the lives they choose. It’s a libertarian philosophy. As long as we are all consenting adults making choices without coercion then who am I to tell someone what to do or how to live? We can talk freely about how to best navigate through things but that’s another question.

But there are a few things that really get my goat. Here is one.

I listened to a podcast yesterday. It’s a daily blurb with the intent of enlightening the listener. The topic was giving and the podcaster talked about ways to touch those around you. You can pay for meals or write thank-you notes. If you see something someone might like, he said, snap a photo of it and send it to them with a note saying that you are thinking of them. Help with charity drives or in local shelters. Pay it forward. Smile at people.

I was feeling all warm and cozy and then the podcaster let the air out of the balloon.

The reason for these niceties? Because people respond and your business grows. People see what a swell chap you are and want to be part of what you are doing. It’s a tit-for-tat, lets scratch each other’s back scenario except the other person doesn’t know they are being used.

It bugs the daylights out of me. No one says that you have to be nice or pay for the coffee for the lady behind you at Starbucks. You are free to come and go as you please. Be an ass. It’s fine with me. But posturing as a generous soul in order to grow your business puts you in the same bin as televangelists and ambulance-chasing attorneys.

How about being nice because it’s who you are? And because you value other human beings? Because you enjoy helping people and lifting their spirits?