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Tug at my Heart Strings, Don’t Yank Them Out of My Chest

Melodrama will get you nowhere with me. Just ask my pink guppy, Millicent, who straps herself to the undersea railroad tracks in her tank on a daily basis, screaming about how she can’t pay the rent while Thrashfield, my algae eater hovers over her twisting his moustache, screaming how she must pay the rent. Never a dull moment, those two.

I will admit that those over-the-top-sad-puppy-dog-eyes, Sarah-McLaughlin-background-vocal-trackedย  commercials for the SPCA (or whatever suffering animal organization it is) can get to me, but not enough to pick up the phone.

And what annoys me, actually offends me, is when my emotions are assaulted prematurely. Like, before you’ve even had a chance to peek inside an envelope like this:

cambodian charity envelope

Really? An uneducated Cambodian with my home address is having problems focusing on her homework because she’s hungry? I mean, REALLY REALLY hungry (because it’s underlined, so she’s one of the super starving.) She can’t be THAT hungry if she has managed to study enough to write perfect English.

Can you tell that if you resort to fearmongering or guiltmongering, you will be mocked? I do not like to be so blatantly manipulated into action. If you can do it subtly, then that’s different. That’s proper manipulation. But this lazy job of “give us money or you’re a horrible person” feels like spam and I won’t have it in my house. An envelope of this nature doesn’t even get opened around here.

This behavior is outrageous and unethical because they are trying to make ME the bad guy here, but their efforts fall flat, therefore, THEY are the guilty ones. They should be ashamed of themselves.

They have the audacity to think they can say what they want, how they want and that no one would DARE say anything bad about them because they are a CHARITY. And it is highly politically incorrect to slam any charity.

And now that I’m on a tirade of sorts, I will also now add that you can’t expect me to feed one faceless person out of the hundreds of millions that go to bed hungry every night on this planet. I can’t actually see this so-called “student” who is starving in Cambodia, but I see plenty of hungry people every day in my own country, my own state, my own city who could use a meal. We have dirty-faced hungry helpless children in this country too, you know.

See? Now they’ve made me go all enthnocentric when really my point there was that if they want me sending my money outside my country, they should have been nicer about it.


Dear Lame Charity:

If you really want my money, don’t bite the hand that feeds you and don’t insult my intelligence. Engage me, don’t bully me. Don’t you see that your ugly envelope has had its opposite intended effect on me?

There are a lot of needy people and organizations in this world and not enough money to give to them all and I understand that everyone is constantly competing for everyone’s dollar, but it’s crap like this that pisses me off because it’s showing an inappropriately ugly side of doing business. And it’s crap like this that makes me NOT want to give. You’re spoiling it for the rest of them and giving charities a bad name. Knock it off, already.


A Really Angry Person Who Has Worked Herself Up Into a Lather and Will Now Go Kick A Dog Because of You

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  1. Jenny H says:

    A dog? Wow! That's anger. Usually I kick a chicken when I'm all riled up, but to kick a dog, I'd have to really angry.

    What I hate is when I donate and they send me another request for more money 3 weeks later. “You gave us money last month, but it wasn't enough. Give us more, more, more.” I thought about writing back to them and giving them a big sob story about how I need THEM to send ME money because the economy is bad and I just lost my job, but what would they care? *kick*

    1. What a beautiful comment because YES! – it riles me up to have them ask for more money 5 minutes after I give. It makes me regret giving it to them and makes them looks like they aren't grateful for the mere pittance I gave them. Whatever happened to “every little bit helps”? I think I'll respond to them with THAT next time.

  2. Bravo!! I feel exactly the same way.

  3. kathcom says:

    There is no way for me to respond to this without sounding like a villain, but I get annoyed at billboards that say, “If you could help a child, would you?” I resent the confrontational questioning.

    But I love goats unconditionally, so I can't be all bad. (Baaad?)

  4. […] Tug at my Heart Strings, Don't Yank Them Out of My Chest | Nanny … […]

  5. britt says:

    Dude. My grandmother was sending a significant portion of her social security check to feed a hungry child because she couldn't bear to look at his picture, (that she framed), and think of him hungry. I pointed out that most of the money she was sending was going towards paychecks and commercials, and everyone got the same picture. We argued about this until the commercial came on with the exact boy in it.

    1. Gasp! What did she do then? I love that she framed the picture she couldn't bear to look at. Amazing.

      1. britt says:

        She called me an asshole. Like *I *mass mailed the picture.

  6. Cheri Pryor says:

    I really shouldn't laugh. I mean, there are hungry people who can't study. This also reminds me of how uncomfortable I get being accosted at the grocery stores by those cute little wide-eyed girl scouts during cookie season. Damn those girls with their sweet crack-like boxes of yumminess. Those sad little eyes as I decline and continue on my way make me riddled with guilt.

    Great. Now I need a drink. And a cookie.

  7. Shark Guy says:

    Those ads didn't do much for Lilith Fair

    1. oh, SNAP!!! Take that you waifer thin mints!

  8. CB says:

    Bitch! I AM trying to eat my chocolate donuts here!!! Now, I'm feeling guilty about the well educated, VERY hungry Cambodian!!!! HAHA!

    Those fuckers need a lesson in manipulation from the master… why ME of course!!!

    I only use my stunning manipulation skills and feminine wiles… for booze or a new pair of stilettos…

    Ha… LOVE your blog skank face!

    1. Do you mean that you love my blog skank face as in you love what I've done to my face because it's got blog skank all over it? Or did you mean that you love my blog and you're calling me skank face? Either way, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!

  9. That stuff drives me crazy too. It's so heavy handed and insulting. I also hate the non-profits that send me greeting cards, address labels, calenders and other crap AFTER I've sent them $25. They should have just put the money towards the actual charity not a bunch of junk that lands in the garbage. Grrrrr.

    I'm back from vacation and off to catch up on your older posts. Hope all's well with you almost Birthday Girl!


    1. Why, yes, it is almost my birthday!

      And I hope you have a wonderful time in Ohio, was it?

  10. Jb says:

    I see you already have 74 comments about this so you probably won't even see this, but I cannot even think of enough ways to say that I totally agree with you!

    1. You've GOT to be kidding me! I treasure (and read) each and EVERY comment! And don't let the comment number fool you. Half of them today are mine. Also, it's nice to not feel alone in my frustration.

  11. Linda R. says:

    I don't get much “save the children” stuff. Mine is for abused cats, dogs, save the wildlife, rainforest, etc. They've got me pegged-animals are my weakness. However, I ignore and recycle. I have my charities like the local humane society,etc., and will not be guilted into doling out $$ to every open paw.

    1. Also, you usually reach a point in life where you have your favorite charities, so most new kids on the block won't get your attention, short of epic disasters, maybe.

  12. J. Bear Savo says:

    Hmm… Funny how the starving Cambodian child can write in English and send you a letter. Can't be too hungry if he can learn English.

    By the way, threatening to kick a dog will only be a mouth-watering tease to those starving Cambodians. That's like telling them you're going to tenderize a steak for them.

    1. Oh, dear. I should have seen THAT one coming.

  13. You know what, I actually give to an organization for a child that is amazing… the CFCA – a representative came to our church with folders about each child or elderly person. A boy's picture jumped out at me… Wilmer from Guatemala. You send now $30 a month and that helps for food, education, etc. But the BEST part? It is a REAL charity and you write letters to your child or elderly person… and THEY WRITE YOU BACK! For years I have written to Wilmer, have heard in letter format from his mother, have heard about his family, get drawings and pictures. He is my son in my heart… I can't say enough wonderful things about CFCA !!! The other ones? Never tried… I have my guy and I'm sticking with him! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. That's awesome, Katherine. It's good to hear about the legitimate ones. And that you were appropriately approached in a way that induced you to help. Sounds like CFCA does it right. And that you've made friends for life. I see that they don't just assist children, but aging people as well. And you can visit the sponsored members as well.

      According to Charity Navigator, (the Better Business Bureau for charities), they have the highest rating of 4 stars and a fantastic efficiency rating.

      Thank you for sharing this, Katherine!

      1. I had forgotten about their high rating. My mother sponsors a girl in India and loves getting mail from her. Her drawings are amazing! We have stayed with our same children for years and years and years. I will hate it when Wilmer is too old for the program!

  14. Baddog says:

    Aw, don't go kicking no dog. Sometimes I get even by taking out their pre-stamped envelope and sending it back to them (empty, of course), which, if nothing else, helps the post office stay in business one more stamp at a time.

    1. I've done that. Not to charities though I don't think. I haven't done this recently, but if someone annoys me and they have a business reply envelope, I tear up whatever they sent me and stuff that envelope and mail it off. I think it's supposed to send a message.

  15. Wow. After reading that I guess I better go kick a dog too.

  16. Well, at least you're not kicking a cat.

    I feel the same sense of indignant anger at this sort of thing. Lately I've had the same reactions to those commercials that try to guilt me into sponsoring a child. That's a step up from the faceless letter, but it still makes me mad. I've got problems of my own, buddy. That doesn't mean I can't or won't help a person or animal in need, but it's MY CHOICE. A choice made after careful research into the organization. Spare the guilt tactics. I'm not biting.

    1. Yes! I suppose I should have mentioned Charity Navigator, but didn't think to work it in. That's OK, I got another Charity-related post on my ToDo list. It'll even have goats in it. Judging from everyone's disapproval, these manipulators are wasting a lot of trees.

  17. You tell 'em girl! Baby mama don't need no drama! Mm-hm! *snap snap snap* Sorry, just channelling my inner sistah. It really puts you off the charity when they lay it on so thick. How unprofessional!

    1. Ha! I could totally see you snap snap snapping, even if it was some character off In Living Color!

      1. The sad thing is I'm the whitiest white thing there is. But I got booty, and that's what counts. I'm like the Weird Al Yankovic to Queen Latifah. ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Baby got back? Me too!!

  18. sheilasultani says:

    I'd just like to be a fly on the wall of those charity marketing meetings while they all sit around trying to outdo each other and see who can come up with the biggest sob story. But, what I think is the SADDEST thing about all this is that these mongrels who run these charities and live like kings is how bitter and cynical most people are because of the few scammers out there. I wrote a post about some crap going on with “feed the children” a charity that I THOUGHT actually did something for starving kids – of course I was wrong.

    1. That's disgusting and sad, Sheila. How do they sleep at night? They give charities (and Christians) a bad name.

  19. Momma Drama says:

    I 100% agree with you. I take care of the people – the children – in my community first before people I don't know. It's one thing if you want to help people in other countries, but do it with a reputable agency! Not just a postcard in the mail ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Amen, sister. You know what else I support more than giving money to foreign recipients? Giving your time to them. Joining the peace crops and Habitat for Humanity and the like. Not that I could do it, necessarily, but I have a lot of respect for people who can and do.

  20. DrowseyMonkey says:

    lol…but I totally agree with you. I despise having my emotions manipulated by those ridiculous commercials and ads. Give me some facts – that's all I need really. I dunno, maybe other people need more and that's why they do it.

    1. I can only guess that their approach must work on somebody or else they wouldn't be doing it. Like those Nigerian emails.

  21. Janiss says:

    I'm so glad for this post – it absolves me from feeling guilty for tossing these things when I get them in the mail! I really need to sit down and figure out what works because occasionally Sparkle sends out pleas for a cat that needs rescue or medical attention, and more often than not, people (and cats) respond. But so far I haven't really dissected them to see what went right. All I know is that when you're asking for help, there's a right way to do it… and there's a mediocre way… and there's a way that will utterly and absolutely insult the audience you are trying to reach.

    1. I'm so glad you're so glad for this post. I was wondering if anyone would come over and call me names – it's certainly happened before when people weren't quite getting my message. And I know what you mean about finding the right way to ask for donations. It seems everyone has a cause (or twelve) these days that they are trying to get help with and you want to stand out without resorting to low tactics.

  22. Nicky says:

    Darn! I knew I should have gone with the “Dearest missis Margaret-sai, hungry I be, study I cannot”. Nah, that would have been too ex-Jedi-turned-con-man-ish.

    BTW, how do you do anything other than watch the fish all day?! They're hysterical!

    1. Yeah, those fish would probably take it on the road, except that it would probably kill them.

  23. Jenny says:

    Goodness gracious, Millicent is quite the drama queen! Thrashfield is no help. I did not know guppies … not to even mention algae … had such a flair for the sensational.

    I concur with your assessment because I am just like you in that that blatant appeals to my “better” nature will only result in the appearance of my worst nature. I can't help it; like you, I don't mind being made aware of others' problems but I don't like being told what I must do about them.

    The starving animal commercials never make me want to pick up the phone either. And I love dogs! Almost as much as I love goats.

    1. I love how you worded this: “blatant appeals to my “better” nature will only result in the appearance of my worst nature.” That sums it up perfectly. I wish I'd thought of that.

      1. Jenny says:

        YOU, humorblog maven diva empress, wish you'd thought of something I said? I'm done for the day!

  24. Just as bad are the envelopes that contain a gift, usually a handcrafted (I don't think) bracelet, a pen or a sheet of address labels. This is to guilt you into sending money for something you don't want. Well it doesn't guilt me! I hate being pressured into giving. They end up in the bin.

    1. What? You don't KEEP the address labels?

      1. I tried using them, but they don't work very well on an email.

  25. “An uneducated Cambodian with my home address is having problems focusing on her homework because sheโ€™s hungry? I mean, REALLY REALLY hungry (because itโ€™s underlined, so sheโ€™s one of the super starving.) She canโ€™t be THAT hungry if she has managed to study enough to write perfect English.”

    OMG. That was hilarious.

    And, seriously? What MORON is behind this idea?

    1. You know, Mr MudPuppy and I were just discussing this and it's probably not the charity so much as the “marketing” people they hire.

      1. You're probably right!

  26. SueAnn says:

    Boy I know how you feel! But spare the dog!! Kick a charity monger instead!!

    1. You're right. (because some of those charity mongers are “dogs” themselves.)

  27. Oh I hate those. I also hate the kids that come to my door selling popcorn, the ones who want to go to camp or whatever it is they want to do. I know it's a scam, and I refuse to buy microwave popcorn from some kid who is begging but yet has an iPhone attached to their ear while they are making their pitch to me.

    However, the Sarah Maclachlan commercials almost make me want to do something, but then my daughter starts crying, and now cries whenever that song comes on the radio so she has ruined her music for me because it is just too much drama now.

    1. JunkDrawer says:

      I cry too at the Sarah Maclachlan commercials. I stop in my tracks when one comes on so I can turn the channel, or at least mute it quickly. Can't take it. I don't need them hammering me over the head with a guilt trip. I do my part. My last two cats came from a shelter, so leave me alone!

      And Nanny G, I'm with you on helping in your own neighborhood. I really wonder where all that money goes. I'd rather give to the Red Cross in times of disaster or famine because I know they have a low overhead. But I also know there are plenty of people in my own backyard who I can help directly and all of my money or time goes straight to them. Great post, my dear.

      1. Thanks, Kathy.

        And I just want to change the channel when that darn commercial comes on too. It's just too much.

    2. I'll bet you and your daughter are not the only ones to whom that happens to now when they hear one of her songs elsewhere. I wonder if a poll has been taken about that very thing.

  28. Ginger says:

    I'ma going to call the RSPCA on you….kicking a poor inocent dog who did nothing but love you. If they cant get a willing donation, they should get it in fines at least. haha

    love the post title.

    1. Innocent? Have you seen my dog? He wakes me up by biting my arm off every morning. He drags me out of bed, with a blood trail down the hallway to the kitchen so I will feed him a slab of half a cow. Raw.

      He just laughs when I kick him. He thinks it tickles.

      (NOTE to animal lovers: I don't actually have a dog – this whole conversation between Ginger and me? It's what is commonly known as a joke. So, don't get your panties all in a bundle)

  29. cardiogirl says:

    I. HATE. The. Sarah. McLaughlin. Commercials! AUUGGHH! I really cannot listen to her anymore because of those commercials.

    I also hate that one with the sister from Roseanne. Can't remember her name, I think it's Lori something. Anyway, she does the commercial to sponsor a child and her face is so hangdog in that commercial I really cannot stand it.

    I'd *almost* consider donating something to that cause if they promised to take her off there.


    1. Of course we are all forgetting the celebrity who started all this, the first whiner/cryer: Sally Struthers.

      They've started showing one here to replace the (Sarah McLaughlin ones, I think) that just plays WIllie Nelson's “You Are Always on my Mind” in the background.

      I'm just glad to provide a forum for people to finally get this off their chest. You know, a nice safe forum where it's just us and nobody else can see it. Except for the whole wide world, but who's counting them?

  30. MA Fat woman says:

    Can you spare a dollar? I'm hungry…

    1. Oh great! I knew this post would bring out the beggars. Thanksalot!


  31. MadMadMargo says:

    I admit it, those sad puppies and kitties do get to me, but that hungry, uneducated Cambodian….not so much.

    1. I know! I'm such a sucker for an animal suffering. Is it because animals can't act? Or because I don't feel the animals are being taken advantage of for the sake of a commercial the way children can be? I don't know. I can't explain it.

  32. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nanny Goats. Nanny Goats said: New Post: "Tug at my Heart Strings, Donโ€™t Yank Them Out of My Chest" […]

  33. ReformingGeek says:

    Yeah, I don't care for the lame guilt-trip solicitations.

    Now if they were asking me to help pay for panties for their goats, I will write the check immediately!


    1. Ha! Hmmmm, I may have to start a non-profit lingerie distribution center for ruminants.

  34. joannmannix says:

    So well spoken! I've just come home from Chicago and the amount of homeless there is overwhelming. I would rather put money in a dirty palm, even with the knowledge that perhaps it will go to something it shouldn't. Administrative costs of these “charities” rile me to no end. Playing upon guilt is dirty pool in my book.

    Perfect post. Great job.

    1. Thank you, Joanna. While I'm trying to be funny, there is still some passion about something behind it. It's so hard to determine who is more “deserving” – and quite frankly, it's not fair to think of it that way. But you want your own hard earned money to actually help people. What would be nice is if it helped people help themselves, but that's another post for another time.

  35. I get kind of soggy watching the SPCA things on tv. But when I see the “poor foreign kid who needs our help” I get a little angry. Here is some poor kid (the eldest of 7 kids) in war torn (insert the country name). Both of his parents have been killed in the war, or have died of AIDS. So we are to send money to them to help. Excuse me? Why do the parents have 7 kids in this situation. Oh because the missionaries are more interested in saving souls than providing reliable birth control.

    1. Yes, but you're only supposed to have an opinion that goes as far as the commercial. You can't go beyond that with further opinions that might prevent you from wanting to donate. You're not supposed to have that kind of knowledge. Do you read or something?

      1. Damn! I know I sound uncaring, but that's not it. Someone needs to take a look and say, “Why don't we teach people that they do not have to have 17 children?” Were that to happen, I'd be glad to donate to planned parenthood or any organization that could help the root problem. (I also take stray cats in for spaying or neutering so yeah, I am not an advocate of let's just do the “right to life” thing.

        1. Well, if we can't educate people into not having 17 children in our own country, why would we expect to be able to tell that to someone from another culture?

          And you don't sound uncaring to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Surfie says:

    This reminds me of a recent TV commercial telling the viewers to send money to some poor foreign kid, in whatever country he is. The host goes on and on about how terrible life is for these kids. Yet every child they show is not only fully clothes (shirts AND shorts or pants) but they even have shoes on! And the clothes and shoes all fit. They can't be too hard up if every single one of them has a proper wardrobe. Used to be, these commercials would show little kids with just a long ratty t-shirt, no shoes, and flies buzzing around their heads.

    And I agree with Pricilla. Stop wasting money giving away address labels. I have more labels than I would ever be able to use, and I haven't even given them any money! Sending me unsolicited address labels will not guilt me into sending you money.

    1. Ginger says:

      Hi Surfie, I just want to say that the former kind of adverts needed to be stopped cause kids didnt have to be deprived of their dignity just to get money from viewers.

      1. Ginger and Surfie. I think you both make very good points here. That the commercials were so disgusting that someone finally stepped in and made them stop. Although, I still don't like the fact that the children have clearly been told to be on the verge of tears for the camera.

  37. Tahtimbo says:

    Yeah, this school gal really gets around. The zip code on the letter is from Lynchburg, Virginia (can't you tell I have WAY too much time on my hands to go and check that out?). I mean, if she can afford to travel from Cambodia to Virginia (probably first-class too and sucking down champagne, while those in coach fight over a water bottle), than I think she can afford a happy meal or something.
    As for the dog-kicking thing, I think I'll have to call Sarah (as you can see, we are on a first name basis) and have her drop by and sing that song of hers for you a few hundred times ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great post!

    1. Awesome. I'm so glad you ran with the rest of what was wrong with that envelope. Now we just need some heartless cohort to say something about the Cambodian Immigration stamp and I think we can take this thing on the road.

  38. Deblcrh says:

    Ok..your not just Good…your Damn Good!!
    Thanks so much for the enjoyment!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Aw, shucks. Thanks. Hey – where did you come from anyway?

  39. Jayne says:

    I'm sorry. I won't send that to you again… I thought the starving Cambodian kid was a nice angle, but clearly did not think the language thing through. I knew I should have gone with the abused dog theme. That would have only required a paw print. I tried putting a “donate” button on my blog, but have only received $2.00 so far.

    1. What???? You got 2 bucks? What's your secret?

      And yeah, not just a paw print, but make sure it's a bloody paw print. (by the way, am I going to see you in SF?)

      1. If you and Jayne are in SF, I'm coming over to have dinner/lunch/a drink with you.

        1. I'm also going to Redwood City wherever that is so one of those trips could work in seeing you whether meeting in SF or somewhere in my driving path? Would I drive past Alameda to get to Redwood City? I need to look that up since I'm going there very soon.

      2. Jayne says:

        I'm not going to make it. Tiffany is going to try to resell my ticket for me.

        1. dang. If you're ever passing thru Sacramento (cuz that's what people do, they don't actually come here, they're usually on their way to somewhere else) do let me know.

          1. Jayne says:

            Making it to the conference would have required one of those pathetic fund raising letters. Maybe next year they'll have it in Santa Barbara. When you're done with whatever you're doing in Redwood City, just keep heading south on the 101 for about four hours and I'll visit me at the lavender farm.

  40. Kate says:

    I would write a witty comment…..but I'm too hungry. Please send $$. Thank you in advance.

      1. Yeah, what Meleah said. THANK YOU for that. That was awesome.

  41. Don't you have a coupla goat buddies you can feed this horror of horrors to? Cuz for sure that'll teach 'em to send you un-PC stuff.

    1. I should totally feed these to some goat buddies. And film it. And use it for my next threatening message to lame charities.

  42. Pricilla says:

    As long as you are not kicking a goat…..

    It would also be better if they did not waste money on endless reams of tacky return address labels that consistently arrive WITH THE WRONG ADDRESS. This frustrates the publicist to no end. If we were paper eating goats we would certainly not starve with the amount of charitable junk mail received on the Farm.

    1. Oh Lord, don't get me started on the return address label people.

      To send you presents in the hopes of getting a donation is one thing, but to send you labels with wrong addresses, or misspellings. I mean, are you supposed to call them up and say, “Um, look. my name is Bob, not Boob, could you send me some more labels? Thanks.”

      I'm trying to sound ridiculous, but you know what? I bet there are people who actually do that.