Ervin: White Elephant Disaster

Mike ErvinIf I become a hoarder, it won’t be my damn fault. You can blame it on sick children.

The little runts pulled a fast one on me by moving from their raggedy old hospital into a shiny new one. And never did anyone stop for one minute to consider how this move would affect me. Because across the street from the old children’s hospital was a resale shop called White Elephant. All proceeds benefitted the children. So whenever I needed to dump stuff like old faded clothes, dilapidated books or cassette tapes, I could turn it into an altruistic exercise. All I had to do was dump it all at the White Elephant and in return I received a warm feeling of peace and satisfaction for helping sick children as well as an in-kind tax deduction. Pretty sweet, eh?

So it was a win/win/win situation for me. But the White Elephant is closed now. And the new children’s hospital is supported by a bunch of highfalutin endowments and stuff. They don’t need nickel-and-dime philanthropists like me anymore. So I’m left out in the cold, with no place to dump my crap.

I’m sure as hell not giving my crap to Goodwill. They’re not worthy of it. Oh sure, they hire a lot of cripples, but it seems they also pay a lot of them crap wages. There’s this provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was passed in the 1930s, that allows businesses to pay certain cripples less than minimum wage. And there’s no limit to how little they can pay. After groups like the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and the National Federation of the Blind started encouraging people to boycott Goodwill for paying less than minimum wage, NBC news did some research and found that Goodwill has paid workers in Pennsylvania as little as 22 cents an hour.

And here’s what’s really funny. Goodwill CEO James Gibbons is blind and his annual salary is $443,000.

Goodwill says that approximately 7,300 of its 30,000 crippled employees are paid less than minimum wage. But they say the average hourly wage of those workers is $7.47. So I guess they could say even the lowest-paid cripples at Goodwill make six-figure salaries, as long as you count the numbers after the decimal point.

Goodwill isn’t the only one paying subminimum wages. They defend the practice by saying that some cripples are such unproductive workers that no one would hire them if they had to pay them minimum wage and thus these cripples would never experience the “benefits of work: independence, participation, dignity, self-esteem and sense of accomplishment …”

Whatever. It just seems like a part-time street beggar is productive enough to pull down more than 22 cents an hour.

So I will not give my crap to Goodwill. But I can’t give it to the Salvation Army, either. Gay people are pissed off at them. They say they’re raging homophobes. I looked it up for myself. The Salvation Army has on their website “positional statements” on a whole bunch of hot topics from abortion to pornography. But I was amused to find that when I clicked for the homosexuality positional statement, that page came up blank.

Whoa! Maybe all that gay pressure is hitting them in their red kettles! But in the positional statement for those attending its officer training school, it says same-sex unions are not equal to heterosexual marriages and that gay Christians are called upon to “embrace celibacy as a way of life.” But wait! There’s more! In the same statement it says that all unmarried people, gay or straight, should be celibate.

Wait a minute! Are they trying to say that if they had their way, only married people would be allowed to do the nasty? Now I’m really appalled! They’re not getting my old clothes!
See how those sick kids messed me up? I’ve got second-hand crap piled up to the ceiling. Where am I supposed to dump it now? AMVETS?

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