Breast cancer is now accepting donations
As we approach the much dreaded Breast Cancer Awareness Month there are cloyingly sweet pink billboards and product promotions popping up everywhere. I headed to the outlet mall recently with the very specific purpose of finding a small handheld bag because my typical large bags feel too heavy on my shoulders after surgery and my crossbody bags are out now too. So, I go into Coach because I know they have small pouch type bags. I’m greeted at the entrance by a lady in a white button-down shirt and Coach scarf and she has on brown lip liner and pink lip gloss. I don’t know if I’m more offended by her make-up choice or what happened next. She hands me a coupon for 20% off anything in the store. She then tells me about a further promotion they are having for “breast cancer awareness”. If you donate $1 you get to have 25% off anything in the store or if you donate $5 you get 30% off anything in the store. I asked,
“What organization is the money being donated to?”
Coach Lady: “Breast cancer”
Me: “I know the money is for breast cancer but who is the money being raised for?”
Coach Lady: “It’s not for a person, it’s for breast cancer.”
Me: “I understand that but what is the organization?”
Coach Lady: “You know, the whole breast cancer thing.”
At this point I realize she’s a dumbass. I know, I’m slow and give people the benefit of the doubt. She’s not trying to be rude, she just doesn’t get it. I’m ready to give it up and just look around but she leaves her front entrance post to go behind the counter and get a pretty pink flyer for me. I flip it over and on the back it specifically says The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I point this out to her and she says, “yeah, that’s what I said, breast cancer”.
So, I’m thinking, look lady, breast cancer does not have a bank account. Breast cancer cannot accept donations and doesn’t care if anyone is aware of it. Breast cancer lives only in the hidden darkness of a woman’s unsuspecting body only to be discovered by accident or routine screening and all too often way too late to be cured. No, I do not want to support breast cancer. I hate breast cancer.
I wander around the store but didn’t see anything and was feeling too bothered by the situation to look. On the way out of the store I hand to flyer and coupon back to the lady and tell her that I’ve already donated my breasts to breast cancer and I think it’s very important to be specific about what you are collecting money for. Because otherwise it’s just marketing and trying to sell product and that’s just insulting. She stood there nodding and looking dumbfounded and I left.
Now, I realize that I can’t take on every company who uses a pink ribbon to make money but this was my first confrontation and I felt a need to speak up. I think that’s my biggest problem with the pink thing. Aside from my general angst and non-conformist attitude and need to reject enlistment into any group to whom I do not identify I do not like using sympathy and guilt as a way for a company to make more money. And in this case it was just the bottom line of a small donation gets you a bigger discount which may get you to spend more money at the store and probably does profit some money for breast cancer research. It was just the fact that the employee had no idea for what she was soliciting donations. If you are going to have this big of a promotion and if you really cared about the donations for breast cancer research then you would educate the staff about the goal of the money.
Just remember this next month during breast cancer awareness month. I think we are all quite aware of breast cancer. Let’s do more to fund research to beat it.