Like (I suspect) most people these days, half the mail I receive consists of appeals from a host of charities.
It is no exaggeration to say I average around 10 a week. By no means all of these are charities I have chosen to donate to on past occasions, so I assume my address is passed on (probably with the word "Sucker" underlined in red on the list.)
It irritates me, occasionally elicits a response, and even more rarely is added to those to whom I pay a small amount each month by direct debit.
But, and it is a big but, there is one thing absolutely guaranteed to send me into orbit, hissing and spitting, and that is the appeal which arrives in a suspiciously bulky package presaging the inclusion of some tatty, totally unwanted 'free' gift.
Just as there is no such thing a a free lunch, so is there no such thing as a free gift. "A spratt to catch a mackerel" is the phrase which springs to mind.
Today, a particularly huge envelope included a shopping bag with 'cute' animals on the front. It is the sort of bag I would never be seen with in a million years but that is not my objection. It is quite strong and well-made w hich indicates it would have cost something to produce - a something which in my opinion would be better used to care for the animals they claim to be trying to protect.
Don't missunderstand me, this is a reputable charity with a good record in animal care and welfare but in my opinion this method of "blackmailing" soft-hearted people into paying what often they cannot really afford is completely unethical.
I have blogged on this subject before but will just confirm that this particular charity will never again receive a penny from me - yes I will be writing to them AGAIN - and as before, the 'free' gift will go to another charity containing really free gifts.
Is it just me?