Tuesday, November 04, 2008

So Now I Owe You?

I am a little confused today. And yesterday. And the day before too.

You see, Chinese Auction season is coming up in a few weeks and it seems like Tzipi Caton is the hot speaker to bag for the various organizations this year.

Let me preface by saying that I am already B"H booked and taken for the season with the promise of not speaking for anyone else before I speak for the specific organization that got to me first.

I have no objections and understand them completely. No one wants to be stuck with me if I already gave the same speech at ten other fundraisers in the last month. They want me fresh and new and exciting.

But it seems like I was booked early and since the word isn't out yet, I'm still getting calls from different chessed organizations in the community.

*Disclaimer* What you are about to read is exaggerated based on my mood and on how tired I am. Just take with a pinch of happiness and some salt. Which is not to say this didn't happen, just that people aren't as obnoxious as I make them sound on my blog. Well except maybe me...

CALLER: Hi, Tzipi?

ME: (Hesitant) Hi...

CALLER: How are you???? It's Mrs. A, (or B, or C, whatever)

ME: Do I know you?

CALLER: Of course! Don't you remember me? I taught your little sister six years ago. I met you once in the grocery. I was wearing the pantyhose with the run and the sideways turban.

ME: I guess it rings a bell.

CALLER: Well I MUST talk to you about your book.

ME: (wondering how these people manage to get hold of my unlisted number) Okay...

CALLER: Well first of all I loooooovvvved it!

ME: Thank you. (Talking with the phone jammed between my ear and shoulder while struggling to get my kid into the bath.)

CALLER: And I must ask you, were you in any way helped by or affiliated with (insert name of organization she fundraises for here)?

ME: No.

CALLER: Are you sure?

ME: Yes.

CALLER: Because sometimes we help people but they don't even know. We do things behind the scenes through friends and family and even other organizations so the patient doesn't necessarily know we were involved.

ME: If that were the case for me then I would definitely not know so I couldn't give you a "yes" either way.

CALLER: Oh. Because you see, we really would like for you to help us and we were hoping that maybe if you felt an appreciation to our organization for everything that we did for you maybe you would want to....*voice trails off as if waiting for me to offer my services*

ME: (sits quietly, not about to offer anything I am not ready to do.)

CALLER: (after long pause) Well anyway. We heard you speak in public.

ME: Yes, I do.

CALLER: Well we were wondering if you would speak at our upcoming Chinese Auction (or other event planned)

ME: I am already booked with so-and-so but any time after then, as long as you meet my fee I will be more than happy to speak.

CALLER: You wouldn't do it for free?

ME: No.

CALLER: But we are a chessed organization!

ME: So is everyone else who calls me.

CALLER: But it would be such a zechus on your part and you'd be giving so much chizuk to others.

ME: If I wanted zechusim I could be out every night for the rest of my life and three lifetimes plus, but I just can't. I do my chessed in other ways, for me this is parnossoh. And I can give chizuk when I get paid too. I promise.

CALLER: Oh. I just thought that since we did so much for you...

ME: I'm very grateful. But I didn't know that you put a price on the volunteer work you did for me five years ago. Believe me, I am grateful, but if I were to act on my gratefulness in the way that you and every other organization wishes me to, I would very quickly start resenting everything you ever did for me.

CALLER: I don't understand.

ME: Skip it. It's not important.

CALLER: So you'll do it?

ME: If you meet my price.

CALLER: Okay, we'll get back to that. Another thing. I was wondering if maybe you and your husband would donate a prize to our auction.

ME: What?

CALLER: Well it would give people such chizuk to see that a prize was donated by the author of Miracle Ride.

ME: Even if I would donate something it would be under my husband's name- people wouldn't even know we had anything to do with the book- I don't see how that would give anyone chizuk.

CALLER: Aha. I see what you are saying. Would you consider donating something now anyway?

ME: What do you have in mind?

CALLER: Maybe a trip to Eretz Yisroel?

ME: Do you normally ask young couples at our stage in life to donate a trip costing a couple of thousand dollars?

CALLER: Why? Are you not up to it financially? What does your husband do for a living?

ME: I wasn't aware that I had to balance my checkbook with you.

CALLER: Not at all! I just thought that you having been in a matzav to benefit from our help would want to give...

ME: Funny, I would have thought that someone who has once been a young couple themselves would understand where the average kid my age stands financially and would know better than to ask.

CALLER: I just thought that you would want to give.

ME: And I thought you'd understand that I can't just give even if I want to.

CALLER: Will you talk it over with your husband?

ME: (defeated) I will.

CALLER: Will you call me back?

ME: (Wondering how soon I'm allowed to call back with a "no") IY"H.

CALLER: If you don't call me may I call you back?

ME: Of course.

CALLER: Because I wasn't sure if I should, I mean your number is unlisted and I assume that means that you don't want to be bothered.

ME: That's okay. It's never a bother.

CALLER: Oh good! So I will be in touch!

I love all these organizations, and I love Chinese Auction season- don't get me wrong, but I will start appreciating the donors and entertainers at these functions ten times more now that I know what they put up with to get there....


Shimon said...

anyone thinking they can pull a fast one on you, has obviously not read your book very carefully...

stamazoid said...

Please tell me you really answered like that - they deserve it!

little sheep said...

if she looooovvvvved your book so much, what did she gain by reading it exactly? cuz she certainly didn't learn any tact!

Zeeskeit said...

Ditto Little sheep! I'm hoping this is the exception and not the norm...

and by the way, never answer the phone when giving your kid a bath...LOL!

Ezzie said...

Excellent, excellent. Yiasher Kochachech.

Judy said...

So now I have to actually go to a few chinese auctions instead of just sending in my donation just to hear you speak?!
Or perhaps you will put the speech on the blog so that I can get to bed early when I am so exhausted?

I am so tired of seeing the brochures, and the prizes and all of the materialism that is meant for those that have the means, and must be obtained at any price by those that dont have it and cant afford it.
I am happy that B"H I can buy myself any of the prizes offered but I am genuinely not interested in them.
I am also grateful that I possess so many things that no chinese auction could ever give me.

And when asked to donate a prize of my choice I probably would, but it depends to who,what, when, and where, etc.
Now I need to learn how to answer more often a resounding NO.

I got a call once for a "yeshiva" making a huge dinner in the Waldorf-Astoria. Upon further questioning, the entire "Yeshiva" consisted of a few kindergarteners and a first grade! They were trying to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to "build a building" and to "enlarge the capacity" of something that was so miniscule. They had many old donors from way back and wanted their money even though the yeshiva had fallen apart after many years. After that incident, I learned to question and research everything, and dont just donate to anyone and everyone.
I had no clue that speakers get paid, I always thought they do it because they like to talk alot.
And here they are, actually getting an audience to listen.
Well, I would not speak, even if someone paid me to speak. So maybe I should just write a book !
Thanks again for an entertaining read.

The Babysitter said...

wow, that's crazy, I feel for you!

I hate that they made you feel like you owe them.

I remember in elementary school my principal had come to visit me in the hospital, I was unconscious so I never knew she came. But that's what I heard. So then a year later when the school was having a tea, they put me in choir, and for some reason I just didn't want to be in it, so I refused to come to the tea. The principal called me up at home several times that I should come. But I didn't show up. SO then after that she took me down to breakfast and sat and talked with me. She was like "how could you not come after all that I've done for you". Which made me really hate her. How could she say such a thing, the tea shouldn't have been mandatory. Plus she chose to visit me, I didn't ask her to, and it honestly wouldn't have made a difference to me. If anything I was more embarrassed of her then, because she saw me in a immodest vulnerable state.

Getting back to you, I would love to hear you speak, so would you be able to say which Chinese auction your gonna speak by at the end, so that I can try to go to that one?

itsagift said...

OMG! You are hysterical!! The way you write it up is just too funny for words!
(I know you well enough to take it with a grain of salt or maybe a grain of sugar...lol...but you wrote this really well!!)
Thanks for the entertainment!!

Anonymous said...

I saw your name in the pamphlet of....org. really excited to meet you in person have lots of hatzlocha practicing your speech in front of your mirror

Anonymous said...

very good!
had a good laugh! :)

Anonymous said...

very good!
had a good laugh! :)