Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Begging for money

So I set up a Facebook Cause. Lets see if this social networking thing works.

I've been trying to find contributions for this cause.
The hospital has grown a tremendous amount. They need some laptops, so I tried Microcenter. Anyone who knows me knows that I have probably carried Microcenter through the recession. Certainly if you add my father into the mix, we've spent a bundle there (OK, maybe not that much, I'm just trying to give you a sense of my geekitude, and the thousands of dollars spent there).
I thought this business would be perfect. A couple of laptops. No problem. The technology recently changed, so there should be some older models, at the back of the shelf, that wouldn't go missing.

Except Microcenter only does their donations in August....


Look, I know you're a big company. I know you have to have a process, but seriously? Once a year? That's it?

It's funny. I've asked a couple of businesses now. So far, I've only had two notable encounters. The first, at the local grocery store. The minute I talked to the pharmacist about a 21 day supply of Malarone (a current generation anti-malarial), she said "God bless you. Let me see what I can do."
She can get me a 10% discount on $180 worth of medication. Yikes. One hundred and eighty dollars of medicine. For three weeks. We can do better! We need to find better medications, or even a vaccine.

The next (and actually my first stop once I found out I was going) was Casual Adventure, in Arlington, Virginia. I wanted to talk to these guys because they outfit people going all over the planet (I'm surprised they don't have a photo of their sticker, located on the space station). I had some questions about water purifiers, mosquito netting, well, stuff. I also wanted to find out how much this stuff was going to cost. More importantly, I wanted to talk to guys who sold you what you needed, not what you could afford.

So I walked in the store, and saw that they were already collecting for Haiti. I told them where I was going, and they (Well, Eric, actually) lit up, with a smile. They're going to try to put together what they can for the hospital. They'd rather send it with a guy they know, than to a general supply depot in Haiti.

Local business, working locally, to help globally. I love this.

On the flip side, I helped some friends consolidate their business this week. Consolidate is a nice word for "take two locations and merge it into one". It sucked.

I was really hit hard by this. The restaurant was a local place, just up the street. Good food, lots of beers, really friendly staff. I started volunteering there right after my divorce. It was a project to throw myself into, and something I could really believe in (Good food, good drink, within stumbling distance of the hosue? Hell yeah, this was a local project I could get behind!).

The two owners are local minded ladies as well. I was thrilled when I saw the T-Shirts blazed with "Drink Local" across the back. They worked incredibly hard, not just with the businesses (which were their whole lives, 24/7), but to improve the community on so many levels. It's a real privilege to work with them.

So I definitely recognize that we're still in the tough times. Watching someone fight for their business is just like watching a parent fight for their child, except for the constraints of professionalism. It's truly incredible watching their passion, and perseverance through incredibly tough times.

And still they're fighting

I'm going to try to end each post with the "Donate" button. I'm going to Haiti. I need help. 'nuff said

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