Tuesday, January 13, 2009


i know, i seem to be pissed alot lately, but this one is justified.

sometimes political action groups have a place. however, the ones who 1) target seniors and 2) fear-monger are #1 on my shit-0-meter.

here's the story. my dad was a big one for small donations to these political action groups. when he died, my mom continued to receive requests. she donated in the small quantities that my dad had. did this for years. i know this. it's her money, and it wasn't hurting her to do so.

until recently. i got a call from the bank today, saying that her check to the IRS (she pays quarterly) was going to bounce because she only had $19 in her checking account, and there wasn't enough in her savings to cover it.


my mom is comfortable. she can buy what she wants when she needs it. she's loaned money to me and my kids and my brother, and not been bothered by the amount.

so i told them we'd be in as soon as i could pick her up. i called her, told her to get out her duplicate checkbooks (thank god for those, it helped me figure out what was going on), and i'd be right over.

i looked at them as she was finishing putting her coat on, and realized that the "small" donations she'd made in the last month were more than my car payments! i'm not going to give figures, but it made me very, very angry. i asked her what she was thinking, and she couldn't tell me. she got angry with me, until i told her that this was causing problems with her bank, and that this point, i wasn't even sure if she had enough $$ to go grocery shopping! that made her pause.

we went to the bank, and after going through all kinds of paperwork, we were able to place a series of stop payments, to at least stop the hemmorage of $$ from her account. we were able to cover the IRS check, and leave her with $$ to live on until her next checks came. we did eventually end up going to the grocerystore.

when we got back, she grabbed some letters that she had set out for the mailman totake (he hadn't been yet) and brought them back in with her. she said to tear them up and throw them away. i looked at them first. the "small" donations they used to ask for were,apparently, a thing of the past. the smallest "minimum" donation they were asking for was $100! this was with 3 different committees! kind of explained a few things.

one was asking for money because sure as shooting, Obama and Ted Kennedy were not going to protect her social security and medicare rights, and try to socialize health care, etc, etc, etc. (my mom's a republican, can you tell?) i'm not sure my mom would be able to make it if it weren't for medicare (she has numerous health issues that have her at the doctor's on a regular basis).

FEAR MONGERING! run, be scared, give us money so we can scare the shit out of you! that's what i read.

Traditional Values Committee
National Committee for the Preservation of Senior Rights
American Seniors Rights Committee

that was the 3 i saw today. these people were terrifying my mother, and as tiny and old as she is (she's 4'8" and will be 81 on the 30th), the only thing she thought she could do is give them $$.

i think i've found a new cause.

my mom has promised not tosend $$ to these people any more (and i have things in place to monitor this more closely than before).

but she's going to still get the mail for them. i've asked her to save them for me, and i'm going to do some investigating. finding out who is legit, and who isn't. and i'm going to act. contact my congressmen. my governor. my attorney general. i'm going to stop these fuckers. stop 'em hard.

i'm done.


lori said...

that is really sad. :(

fillyjonk said...

Could you list her name with the Direct Marketing Association as someone who no longer wishes these kind of solicitations?

(how to stop junk mailings: http://www.obviously.com/junkmail/)

If she gets in real financial trouble, and you think she may not be able to control her spending on it any more, you might be able to get yourself (or some other responsible party) declared her financial power-of-attorney, and that way she cannot write large checks without your knowing.

This kind of thing pisses me off, too. My parents get these things all the time but they are less gullible and they laugh at them. Sometimes my mom writes the place a little note asking them to take my parents off the mailing list, and then sends it back in the post-paid envelope (which actually works sometimes - the group has to pay the postage)

But yeah, most of them claim $100 is the cheapest donation you can send.

EVERYWHERE does that. I've had conservation-oriented groups call me up and ask for some big whopping amount to "save the elephants" or some such, and when I say I can't do that, they put on the guilt, like I don't care about the elephants or something. (I generally take that as a cue to hang up the phone).

Anonymous said...

I'm nearing retirement age and it's amazing how many requests for funds I get. One that really pissed me off was Prevention Magazine. I asked for some information on line, and they sent me out the info plus an offer for a subscription. I tossed it. The next month I got a BILL from Prevention saying that they had put my name in for a subscription. An older person might not have realized that they didn't owe anything. The next couple of months I got more bills. I finally wrote a not very nice letter to them, telling them to take my name OFF their list, and that I definately didn't owe them anything.

Companies who do this kind of marketing are not honest in my mind. My mom usually had a Prevention Magazine around the house. Now I think I know why. Whe didn't realize that she hadn't ordered it somehow and was too embarased to admit that she couldn't remember ordering the magazine. THESE PEOPLE ARE DISPICABLE!

Anonymous said...

The FBI has a list posted of known mail fraud organizations. You might want to check there. My MIL (85yrs old) was taken for over $15,000 in mail scams before we caught her. The bank actually seized her account - that's how we found out. It's in the RCMP's hands right now. Good Luck Min!

Brendajos said...

Sadly, these organizations sound (by name only) like the types of organizations that your elected officials will support. :-/

Norma said...

Your outrage is justified! Your poor mum....she thought she was doing the right thing, and things really got fuzzy and out of control for her. I'm glad you caught it when you did.

Ina said...

A lower life form and a less useful one than leeches. Give 'em what for!

TitaniumRose said...

WOW! What a mess! I wish you the best of luck on your new crusade. People who prey on the elderly should be placed in like the 7th level of hell I think.