Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thank You For Calling....We'll Get Back To You

Oh. My. God. I live in Snoburbia!

What a truly descriptively accurate term, although I cannot and will not take credit for it. Snoburbia is a term developed and used by, but it is a term that describes where I live.

I've mentioned my volunteering dilemma on Facebook, but I don't think I've mentioned it here. I've never lived anywhere that volunteers are discouraged or declined. Most organizations I've been involved with welcome volunteers with open arms. In California, I put in my share of volunteer hours at Planned Parenthood, a suicide and crisis hotline, women's shelters, Boys and Girls Club, Police Athletic League and a community recreation center. Every non-profit needed and appreciated their volunteers and, usually, if you show up, they would find something for you to do.

Apparently that is not the case in Snoburbia. It appears that all the volunteer opportunities in our little town are full. Well, they are full unless you know this person or that person. And this person and that person are prominent people in the community, just so you know. It is not enough to just recognize the names of this person or that person, you must know this person or that person personally, enough to recognize them on the street or in the grocery store, say hello AND they know you well enough to recognize you and respond in kind. Attending the same church as this person or that person is a huge plus.

I don't KNOW this person or that person, so no matter how many non-profits I call, I get the same response, "Thanks for calling. We'll call you if we have something." It doesn't matter that two minutes before that, the volunteer coordinator outlined several areas where she needed volunteers before she asked the dreaded, all important question, "Do you happen to know this person or that person?"

My response, because I don't travel in the appropriate social circles, is always the same, "I know OF this person or that person, but I do not know this person or that person personally." Silence on the other end of the phone, then the inevitable, "Thanks for calling."

I'll make follow-up phone calls which are never returned and after about 4 or 5 calls, I stop. It's just too embarrassing.

So, now I have a new phone number, a new person to call to volunteer my services. I am hopeful. I am always hopeful.


altadenahiker said...

Thinking of something pithy to say, but I'm just too slack jawed. Unconscionable, on so many levels. Keep the big heart, Teri.

gina said...

Here's what you do: start dropping names of your, my name for instance! "Gina, you know, Gina, recommended I call you. You don't know Gina? How unfortunate!" Maybe they'll start feeling a tad bit inadequate.