Intercepted Email: There's Something I Need to Tell You About the Money You Donated to my Walk for Hunger, and It Involves $1,350 in Scuba Gear
Using our patented email location and decrypting technology, Thing X scours inboxes from across the globe to bring its readers the most interesting workplace correspondence of the week. Barbara Goldfarb, an inventory manager at Atlanta medical supply company Vantage Diagnostic Equipment, sent the following email to her colleagues on October 15, 2012.
Subject: I am so, so sorry
Many of you were recently kind enough—in these difficult times, no less—to sponsor my participation in a 10K Walk for Hunger. Thank you so much! But it’s my sad and shameful duty to inform you that I took the money you donated to support a good cause and spent it on $1,315 in scuba gear. It’s all piled up, unused, on my living room floor and I just feel sick about it.
I honestly don’t know what happened! I pass that dive shop every day on my way to work, and it never even crossed my mind to step foot in there. But suddenly, there I was, frozen in front of the store window, knowing with all of my being that I would not see my home and family again before I purchased a wetsuit, mask, fins, tank, and whatever else caught my eye. I guess it’s like impulsively buying a candy bar in the checkout line except in this case, it’s buying 2,000 candy bars with money intended to help fund a local food pantry that serves our city’s neediest residents.
You are no doubt angry about now, and rightfully so. If you’re wondering why I’m writing this pathetic note instead of immediately driving to the store and returning every single item, it’s because I actually tried to do exactly that and ended up spending the remaining $175 on a cute yellow underwater camera. I also bought a mesh bag. What’s that for, anyway? Oysters? I don’t know, but I got the biggest one in the store.
Yes, I got the best gear they had. The sales guy even said, “You know, as a beginner you probably don’t need such a high-capacity buoyancy compensator,” and I just told him I needed one of those whatchamacallits more than I needed anything in my life and a bunch of those corrosion-proof titanium knives, and throw in two dozen designer flippers, too. The cheap stuff only comes back to haunt you in the end, and I hope it’s some comfort to you that I bought top-of-the-line merchandise that’s going to last.
It’s not like I forgot I was taking money out of the mouths of hungry people. I knew the cost of that diving regulator—I think that’s what that thing was called—could easily have provided two weeks of nutritious meals for a family of five. I knew purchasing that depth gauge would ensure that children went to bed hungry and lightheaded from not having eaten for 12 straight hours. To be fair, though, I’m sure even they would have bought it if they’d been in my shoes. It’s apparently a very important piece of equipment.
Hate me if you want. I certainly deserve it! But I hope what I’ve done doesn’t keep you from donating to worthy causes in the future. The folks who organize the Walk for Hunger itself are good people who won’t squander your donations on specialized wetsuits insulated for arctic diving. And you should also buy the Girl Scout cookies Fran is selling for her daughter because that money will go to those girls and not the purchase of a speargun and stainless steel spears. I guarantee it.
If it’s any consolation, I’ll never use the scuba gear—not once. That’s partly out of guilt and partly because I am a pretty terrible swimmer. On the other hand, all 37 of you are welcome to use the equipment any time. I know it’s not the same as having your money back, but each of you should consider my snorkel 1/37th yours. Starting tomorrow, there will be a sign-up sheet right by my desk.
PS. If any of you have any extra room in your work areas, please let me know! The pressurized oxygen tanks are pretty big and I bought way more than I need. Thanks.