Saturday, August 20, 2016

Our Generosity and the Second Louis Conn Fight

We gave a few bucks to a favorite nonprofit a while back; I filed the receipt with every intention to forget about it until tax time. But a couple of days ago, among the usual welter of unsolicited catalogs, the mail brought an envelope with the donee logo. I figured it was another solicitation but no; it turned out to be a thank you note for our princely munificence in the recent past--and just to show their sincerity, a small gift. And sure enough, a shake and a tumble and out came--
Hey wait, what is this, a coaster? A coaster a sphere of cork with the donee logo? This is a thank-you?
I mean don't misunderstand: I certainly wasn't expecting a Porsch 911, Really, I wasn't expecting any gift at all but--well, put it this way. I'm not particularly good at the ordinary cues and clues of social intercourse but isn't there a point at which the "gift" is so trifling that it moves the index over to "insult?" Am I to be grateful for a token that probably cost about one fortieth of the price of a first-class stamp? Would't a greater show of gratitude have been no gift at all?
Small memory, in 1946, my dad sold some advertising linked to the second Louis-Conn fight. I've just about totally forgotten the fight itself. But somebody in my dad's operation must have been giving gifts also because I have vivid memories from my childhood of Louis-Conn coasters. Same size and shape, even the same material. Except not just one. We had dozens of them, and they hung around for years--I assume he got to carry home the leftovers, I hope not in lieu of a commission. Come to think of it, if I scratched around in the storage shed, I might find a Louis-Conn coaster out there still. Good: I could match it with the new acquisition and the Missus and I could share the enjoyment of a delicious beverage, basking in self-congratulation at our well-rewarded generosity.


The New York Crank said...

Ah hah! You've touched on one of the great dilemmas of direct mail fund raising — how to make someone feel thanked and important and flattered without breaking the bank sending costly tchotchkes to contributors instead of putting their money to use doing good works.

It should be noted that there are two kinds of fund raising gifts. First is the pre-contribution gift, used to stimulate your guilt. Here are a dozen precious labels with your return address on them. Surely now, you won't turn us down for a generous gift of fifty million gaboozalas.

The other is the thank you gift.The folks at the charity or their ad agency would jump out of the mailbox and give you a big hug.
That would do it, but it's not scaleable, as the silicon people say. If the folks at your charity send you that Porsche, they'd certainly manage to impress you with their gratitude, but they also would go to prison. If they sent you a ball point pen, you'd probably say, "How trite." And even if you didn't, their competitors in the industry would.

So pour yourself a beer, put your damn glass down on the damn coast, and shut up.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

chris9059 said...

I wouldn't actually use that Louis-Conn coaster as a coaster. It might be worth a few bucks.