Oh, the power of the internet.
In case you missed it, Matthew Inman (hilarious cartoonist at The Oatmeal) received a letter from an attorney representing FunnyJunk.com. Due to some past drama between the two sites, the attorney is threatening to sue Inman in federal court. Or, conveniently, if Inman wants to send a check for $20,000, all will be forgiven.
Inman decided to raise the $20,000 through donations and send a picture of it (plus a cartoon insulting the recipient’s mother) to the attorney and/or the owner of FunnyJunk.com. He stated he would then split the money between two charities.
In less than 24 hours, Inman raised over $100,000 and the total is still increasing, even though fans are aware that he met his $20k goal. (donation site)
Let me say that I think this is awesome. I believe Inman really will donate the money to charity, even though I doubt his fans would mind if he used it for toilet paper (because that’s how popular his site is). And I love the way people have come together for a (somewhat goofy) cause.
Anyway, in the midst of all this, one of my friends sent me a message on Facebook. “You have all those blogs and stuff!” she said. “You should totally put up a donation button – I’m sure lots of people would be willing to send you a few dollars!”
That’s not the first time someone has suggested that I put a donation button on my site.
Here’s the thing – I don’t need people to give up their hard-earned money for me. My bills are paid, I own tons of gadgets that could easily be sold, I have steady income coming in right now (knock on wood), and I have family members who are able to help if I need it.
It would be entirely different if my son was terminally ill or we were on the brink of starvation. If that was the case, I wouldn’t hesitate to slap a button on my sidebar and ask you guys to send money. But my conscience will not allow me to ask people for something for no reason.
Sure, I’d love to be like “Hey, I want bedroom furniture! Send your spare cash my way!” But I don’t need karma kicking my ass. What kind of person takes money (in a non-charity situation) from random strangers when there’s no emergency and their needs are met?
There Are Always Exceptions
I won’t pretend I’m some super amazing moral being. There are some times when I have accepted things I didn’t necessarily need, and in a few situations, I didn’t even feel guilty about it.
Example: I bullied a car salesman into agreeing to fill the gas tank in a car I bought, even though I could have easily afforded to do it myself.
Example: I still use my student ID to get discounts at certain stores and restaurants even though I graduated in 2006.
For me, it’s definitely situational. I feel far less conflicted about getting something from a faceless corporation than from an individual. Does that make it any better? Probably not. But I just cannot take something from another person when I know darn well I can make it fine without it.
What do you think about The Oatmeal’s fundraiser and the huge response from fans? What responsibility does he have where the excess donations are concerned? In what situations would you accept something you didn’t need?