Yesterday, I contributed to society. At least I think I did. My department at work volunteered to solicit for the Salvation Army. So, from 9:00-10:00 am and from 3:00-4:00 pm, I stood outside of a Barnes & Noble and asked strangers for money.
O-MY-GOD! This was one of the hardest jobs I've ever had. The place I stood was in Bobo Central: Anthropologie, coffee shops, and yoga studios galore! Yet, people who claim to be so pro-charity, in general, could not muster a smile, or a "no thank you." Most people walked as far away as possible, instantly got on their cell phones, avoided eye-contact at all cost, and one woman almost ran out into traffic. I asked one man if he'd like to help the S.A. and he replied kindly "F*ck no!" Those who gave, did so without reservation. And they made up for the rest. Almost.
This probably sounds stupid to all of you. But those two hours showed me how difficult it is for some people to muster courtesy, let alone generosity.