Fuck you, St Vinnies! Fuck you, Salvation Army!

It’s not often you’ll find me ranting against charities, let alone telling them to get fucked. But yet, here we are…

All I want to do is give you my stuff. It’s not crap. It’s old, but it’s good quality stuff.

You want cash? I can understand that. But you also take STUFF that you can sell to get cash. Sometimes you just give that stuff to people in need. So my stuff has some intrinsic value. You even arrange for people to come out and take my stuff. That’s very good of you.

However, if I am not home, you will not take the stuff. I can’t leave a key for you, because apparently that’s against policy. OK, I understand, you don’t want your volunteers taking the wrong stuff and being accused of theft. But my old house is empty, except for the stuff. No, you say, we won’t do it. Fine. I can’t be in attendance, because I work fulltime, so I’ve organised for a friend to come by to my old house, to let you in so you can take the aforementioned stuff. But I don’t want my friend sitting there between 8am and 3pm. So I ask, would you mind calling her before you head out there, so she can come by to let you in? No, you can’t do that, can you. Your drivers don’t have mobile phones. Your drivers are accompanied by volunteers who also don’t have mobile phones. And your drivers don’t know what route they will take anyway, so they couldn’t even call from a landline at the depot before they start their run.

Do you actually WANT my stuff? Because you’re making it awfully damn difficult to give it to you!

My stuff is not crap. I want you to have it, because, hey, it’s charity and otherwise it will get thrown out. Here’s the stuff you’ll be missing out on:

A 3-piece lounge setting, including a three-seater couch, made of teak, and matching armchairs. The couch has some minor tears in the fabric. This, apparently, is just not good enough for you. Excuse me, you’re getting a thousand-dollar lounge setting for FREE! Hell, the needy families getting this could just put a damn sheet over it (that’s what I’ve been doing), and they’d STILL be better off than they were before. If you decided to sell it for a song, the people buying it could replace the covers and STILL be out less than a couple hundred bucks.

You won’t be getting any of my computer science textbooks either. Now, I know computer science textbooks “age” pretty quickly, however you have an annual bloody book sale wherein all SORTS of outdated computer books are snapped up!

You won’t be getting my ex’s perfectly-working, never-bloody-used walker/exercise machine either. All because you couldn’t be arsed coming to get the other stuff.

Not to mention the TV unit (also perfectly working, undamaged). Or the shelves. Or the undamaged, perfectly-working picture frames. And the candleabras and other knick-knacks. It all adds up, you bunch of donkeys, but unless I’m home to let you in (thereby taking time off from work), you don’t want it.

So fuck you.

Fuck all of you. I want to give to you guys. All you have to do is come over and TAKE IT. But oh, actually COORDINATING with anyone to make it happen is clearly beyond all of you.

So fuck you all. With a bargepole. Without lube.

I hope it hurts.


I tried to give them some lube. Only slightly used too. Bastards wouldn’t take it.

Seriously, I know what you mean. They can seem strangely picky at times. I’ve had good quality stuff knocked back. Still, they’re better than the bastards at railway stations that are on 40% commission. I guess they have their reasons, but it’s still a piss off right enough.

For us non-Australians: What? What bastards at railway stations? I don’t understand the reference. :confused:

Thanks for the info.

In the Australian experience, the charities of St Vincent de Paul (Vinnie’s) ans the Salvation Army are generally well respected as getting a significant proportion of donations through to the needy, with minimal administrative costs. On the other hand, the kind of pushy, in-your-face collectors for many other charities (the sort that block your exit at the station “excuse me siur. Sir! Sir!”) are on up to as much as 40% commission of what you give them. They tend not to divulge this.

Just a few words in the various charities’ defence:

As someone who has done volunteer work with Vinnies (including picking up furniture) I’d just like to say that Vinnies is **very ** grateful for what it’s given, BUT:

  • it’s a charity. It can’t afford to spend huge amounts of money. It has to rely on volunteer labour, many of whom don’t have mobile phones (I don’t);
  • Vinnies can’t afford to issue mobiles to all and sundry, so the collection process may not be as “professional” as a delivery from David Jones;
  • also, unless the furniture is in pretty good nick, it’s not really of any use;
  • you’d be surprised at how many people basically think of Vinnies as a free alternative to paying a proper rubbish removalist. Your furniture **Maxxxie ** sounds like it’s pretty good. But the bulk of what I’ve seen on collection runs has been utter crap. Because so much of what’s being offered is rubbish, the collections can take up a lot more time than expected because you have to do a lot of sorting. You also have to spend quite a bit of time explaining to “offended” householders why you’re not going to take their couches with broken backs and springs; their lumpy old mattresses that are covered in mould; their broken computer monitors dating from 1990, their various electrical appliances that don’t work etc.

I won’t cover the “why won’t you take my good stuff” angle of this story. What I will suggest is something that I’ve learned in my many years of getting rid of stuff that people want but will not pay for-put it down at the street with a sign that says “free”. THe vultures will come a’runnin.

It’s the easiest way to not have to deal with psuhy, snobby, uptight charities and requires nothing on your part but some tape and a piece of paper. Chances are, someone in need will get your stuff anyways, so your angle of charity will be fulfilled.


Cunctator and GaWd, I find myself agreeing with both of you here. It’s a tricky one.

Hey, what about, say, driving it down yourself?

OP might not have a truck, ink.

But, yeah. I gave Goodwill a perfectly good 1999 Compaq [with monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, scanner, tons of software] and they never came to get it, either. Had to take it down myself.

If the gear in question were small, and liftable by someone my size, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I’ve already driven down huge bags of stuffed toys, blankets, doonas etc. But this stuff is big furniture that I just can’t carry myself. And I don’t have a truck to put it in.

Err, upon preview, what chatelaine said. :smack:

GaWd, that’s very tempting. Now, if only I could get a couple of big burly men to carry it out of my house and dump it on the footpath. Any Brissie dopers want to help out?? :slight_smile:

Cunctator, I see where you (and Vinnies) are coming from. It’s shameful that people see Vinnies as a free garbage disposal service. I guess I see this stuff as useful and in good nick. It’s a waste to toss it.

Ahh, I feel better now that I vented. Like I said, I feel bad pitting a charity. I just got so damn frustrated with them!


Do you guys have Freecyclce in Austraulia? It’s this system of email lists or Yahoo groups where you can list the stuff you have to give away and people will reply and arrange to pick it up. It’s a great way to pass on good stuff to someone who will actually use it.

OK, I actually did a little reasearch and went to the website and they do have Australian chapters.

I was going to recommend Freecycle, too. You could arrange to meet people at the house during non-work hours. I’m in the process of getting ready to move, and have given away a ton of stuff that way. It all goes to someone who wants it, will appreciate it, and is willing to come over and pick it up. What gets better than that?

Back in my pre-Freecycle days, I had a perfectly good sleeper sofa that was in excellent shape except for one small patch the cat had scratched – maybe 1" x 3". The Salvation Army came to get it and refused it because it was “damaged.” So I took a piece of fabric, sewed a patch over the scratched spot, and they came back the next week and took it without any problems. Except it had looked better before my homemade repairs.

I understand they don’t want junk. But they make it awfully difficult to give them good stuff sometimes.

We had kind of a similar experience as the OP with a local charity that feeds hungry people. My Dad has friends who are farmers and so he buys beef one cow at a time. The meet usually lasts about a year. Dad needed to make room in the freezer for the next load of meat. He made arrangements to drive what was left of last year’s meat (which was a trunk load full and in excellent condition) to the charity. When he got there he saw that the kitchen was up a story by stairs. Dad has a bumb knee and asked for some help carrying in the meat. He was told that the volunteers were all too busy to help. Dad noticed that many of the clients were sitting around not looking very busy. Dad asked the staff if one of them could help. The staff seemed horrified and stated that they would never ask a recipient to help. Is this normal? Dad delivered the meat himself and will not be bothering that charity again.

Not an option if it’s *my * local St. Vinnie’s. I have a box of stuff for them. It’s waiting for the next weekday where I happen to have the day off *and * be in town.

See, they only accept donations between 10am and 4pm weekdays and Saturday. The store is open until 6pm weekdays, but they only take donations until 4pm. There’s a camera trained on the back door (where they accept dropoffs) and a big sign threatening to prosecute anyone who drops off stuff outside of posted hours. I assume they’re serious about this.

Now, I work 7am to 4pm weekdays, and I will not haul stuff anywhere on Saturday. I tried to explain the problem to the retired couple who were managing the place when I was there. I asked if I could arrange to drop off my stuff - working household goods and clean clothes in good condition - a little later (say, 4:30) on a weekday. From the response, you’d have thought I was offering to donate dirty dishes and used underwear. I mean, total incomprehension with an air of disgust.

My husband took a perfectly good loveseat, sofa, and end table down to the local Goodwill. They refused to take the loveseat and sofa, but did take the end table, which looked awful. The only thing wrong with the loveseat and sofa were the fact they needed a steam cleaning. They had been sitting in our garage for 6 six months. I’m done donating to Goodwill.

From now on, I’ll take my stuff down to the local women’s shelter. At least they appreciate the stuff.

I could use some furniture. Maxxxie, would you like to send it to me? (Just float it across the Pacific, as I can’t afford the shipping.)

I understand the frustration, but not the anger. Everything you listed seems to be a reasonable response from them. They don’t want their people to enter unoccupied homes because of liability exposure. They can’t make cell phone calls because they don’t have cellphones. They don’t know what route they will take because they don’t know what vehicle might be available for what run. I mean, their policies just didn’t work out for you. Why this makes them such damnable demons is unclear.

Ahh, there’s always one, isn’t there.

Charities, as I understand it, work on the basis of receiving gifts of money or goods from the general public. They then put that money to work, or sell the goods for cash, or give the goods directly to people in need.

It’s a simple concept that is made unnecessarily complicated.

I understand the liability issue. In fact, I said as much in the original post. Did you actually read it?

I understand they don’t have mobile phones. However, I’m pretty sure the depot has a landline they could use. Hell, I would call THEM if they could give me an answer, which brings me to my next point: The fact that they don’t know their route, or, as you suggest, what truck they’ll be using, is not a matter of policy. It is a matter of disorganisation. Still, I won’t hold that against them.

What I am angry about is that every single option that I presented was immediately shut down. Do these clowns really think I’m going to take a day off, to spend it in an empty house, waiting around for hours, so they can pick up this gear? Here’s a clue for all charities: you need to make it a bit easier for people to give you things. Other peoples’ posts in this thread echo my frustration.

And Liberal, maybe you’re above all this, but frustration easily lends itself to anger. Excuse me for having a human response to this.


Like a previous poster, and on the basis of my extremely limited experience of charities colllecting goods, I would suspect that the major issue is that they statistically don’t expect your stuff to be of much value, or even to necessarily have any value at all. For all they know it could be as much garbage. For instance a case of “we need to empty the house of the worthless stuff left, let’s call a charity, it will be easier than getting rid of it by ourselves”. As a consequence, they won’t make huge efforts to collect it if it’s not convenient for some reason or another.
That’s a WAG, but that would be my bet. (assuming that you didn’t tell them what exactly you intended to give).

Not at all. I’m sure that other reasonable, discerning people will post as well.

Yeah, but you didn’t offer any gifts. You offered carrots on the ends of sticks, basically telling them that if they would accomodate your demands, they could have your junk.

What is complicated about it? You’re the one introducing complications by wanting the whole world to adjust itself so your life will be easier.

Unfortunately, I did. Yes. You didn’t mention any liability, and in fact you brushed aside the problem by claiming that your house being empty made some sort of difference. It’s not just a matter of theft, but of vandalism, vagrancy, and any number of other problems. It’s not all just about you and your circumstance.

So, you’re taking back that complaint? All that remains is that you wanted them to come when no one was there — the liability issue that you say you recognize. So wherefore the double fuck you?

I echoed your frustration too, smartass. Did you read it? “I understand the frustration, but not the anger.”

So, I’m supposed to excuse you for “having a human response” to charities who cannot accomodate your demands, while you are unwilling to excuse me for making perfectly reasonable observations with respect to their policies. I’m not above anything, including admitting my indiscretions when people point them out reasonably as I did. Maybe you’re just prone to being pissed off whenever anyone stands in the way of you doing or saying what you want the way you want when you want. Well, boo fucking hoo.