Tuesday, December 6, 2011

For Whom the Bell Tolls

I've decided that at this time of year I just need to carry around quarters.  

Because everywhere I go, the Salvation Army Bell Ringers are there.

Ringing that blasted bell.  

Making me feel like an ass if I don't put something in their bucket.  

"Merry Christmas!" they call to me, as I'm walking away from the store.   

Which, after going through the Tanya Filter gets translated to: 

"Go ahead and LEAVE with your frivolous purchases, you haughty, cold-hearted prig! There are starving children right here in the good 'ole USofA, but you just carry on with your day. That's right! Walk away! Don't worry about the single mothers caring for three emaciated toddlers!"

To assuage my guilt, I have been known to explained to them that I'm not dropping anything in their bucket now because I donated to another bucket at the last store I visited 30 minutes ago. 

To which they respond: "Thanks so much!" 

To which I then translate into: "SURE you did, you lying, miserly, twit." 

They torture me. 

Naturally I wanted a picture of one for my blog. 

So I went to Hobby Lobby with camera in hand and chatted one up on my way in the store. She was nice enough to let me get her photo and I had planned on posting it without her name, per her request.  

On the way out, however, I noticed shift change had happened while I was in consuming and there was a new bell ringer.   

I had, simply put, hit the mother load. 

Because not only did the replacement bell ringer don her gay apparel...

Wait, the full body angle is much better...

Do you see them? 


Let me help you out: 

I'm sorry for the spot color. I won't do it again unless it's absolutely necessary. 
Anyway, where was I?  

Oh yeah.  

Not only did she sport her Buddy the Elf ensemble, she....get ready for it...sang as she was ringing that bell.

Silent Night
We Three Kings
Deck the Halls 


A lovely voice, in fact. 

Go on. Walk away from THAT without parting ways with at least a buck. 

I dare you.  

It gets better: come to find out she was the Salvation Army Bell Ringer Coordinator for all of Norman, Oklahoma one year. 

But wait! There's more!  

Her name is Holly.  

Listen folks, I can't make this shit up.

Holly, bless her, was extraordinarily nice and answered all the questions I peppered at her, rapid-fire like Oprah on a caffeine binge. She was also exceptionally tolerant of my sitting in front of her for what felt like an hour, but was in reality probably only 10 minutes, snapping pictures and doing it badly.

Here are some things I learned:

1. The bell-ringing campaign is the Salvation Army's biggest fund raiser of the year.*

2. The bell ringers in Norman are volunteers, although there are some around the country who get paid. 

3. There are hundreds of bell ringers in my town each year, and they sign up for their spots months in advance. 

(You read that correctly: months.)  

4. Naturally the coveted spots are the ones where the ringing happens inside.  

5. Wal-Mart makes the ringers suffer the elements**

6. The volunteers come from civic organizations, local businesses and churches.

7. Holly said coordinating the volunteers was a "hard job."  To which the Tanya Filter translated into "it was a huge pain-in-the-arse and even if you threatened to shave off my eyebrows and pull out my nosehairs with a horse-powered clamp I would never do it again."

8. I donated $4 to Salvation Army that day, $2 in the bucket for each bell ringer I approached. 

Because it's so appropriate, I'm posting my absolute favorite Christmas carol of all time (video 1:28)->

*Ok, this tidbit I learned from a woman who used to work at Salvation Army. 

**Holly didn't tell me this either. I just know because the ones over there are exceptionally forceful with their "Merry Christmas" as I'm walking away having donated to another bucket 30 minutes ago.


Deirdre said...

I know my son's boy scout troop donates time and acts as bell ringers for Salvation Army. Not sure which is more moving - Holly in her "Buddy the Elf" costume - or a young boy scout in full dress uniform ringing the bell - reminding you of all we have and those who have nothing.

That said Tanya - come to Macy's outside Quail Springs Mall this Saturday to free yourself of all that annoying change!

Super Earthling said...

Wonderful holiday post! :)

Tanya said...

Deirdre: Just might have to do that.

SE: Thanks for reading!