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Monday, August 28, 2006

Covenant House goes on my "do not give" list

Dear Sister Patricia Cruise, SC,

Today I got my copy of your recent mass mailing asking me for a money donation to Covenant House. I must admit, your pitch that "[e]vil predators are out there robbing kids of their innocence and making them do unthinkable things" sure pulled at my heartstrings. But I'm afraid that I can't, as you ask, "help me rescue them."

You see, the weaselly marketers that you hired to put together your fundraising spiel decided it would be a good idea to enclose a metal object in the envelope to make sure that I did not shred your junk mail without reading it. I've gotten these shredder-wreckers before, and I've recently blogged about them. They purport to be objects of a sacred nature, meant to appeal to my presumed religious fervor, but their real intent is to teach a lesson to anyone who would shred your appeal without first opening it to remove the metal. In this case, it purported to be a cross necklace. Although you may be too other-worldly to realize this, I can see it for the money-grubbing device that it really is:

And so, Sister Patricia, even if you really exist, you may not want to stay up late at the convent waiting for my check to arrive. Groups that stoop this low don't get charity from me, and I hope my readers don't give them any money, either. Best wishes for your success in saving the children from those predators, though.

God Bless you, too.

Jack Bogdanski

Comments (1)


I know this is your hypothesis, but is there any support elsewhwere for the idea that these items are put in mailings to prevent shredding or ruin your shredder?

I share your irritation, but am unconvinced as to that being their purpose.

Posted by: TomR at August 28, 2006 08:08 PM


My guess is that a lot of "little old ladies" who are devout Catholics will be swayed by a religious icon such as you received. I doubt they own shredders or throw any of their mail away unopened.

You might say it's analgous to receiving a coupon in the mail from Les Schwab for a free tire rotation. It gives the recipient a sense of connection to the plea for business or a donation.

I doubt there is anything about shredders involved at all here.

Posted by: patrick b at August 28, 2006 09:06 PM

You're naive. These fundraising campaigns are big, big business. There may not even be a Sister Patricia. Those metallic objects are there to make sure you open the envelope.

If you want to bring me nearer to God, the traditional holy card will be fine, thanks.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 28, 2006 09:30 PM

I HATE it when I am sent objects (like the rosary or gum-backed printed return address labels with my info on them, etc.) I am sent something I don't want, in hopes that guilt will make me pony up some bucks.

And have you ever tried to get off of mailing lists after you've cancelled a magazine subscription? One and a half years later, I'm STILL getting "won't you renew your subscription" pleas. Ugh. I hate a hard sell,and appealing to my guilt just makes me angry because it's so intrusive.

Posted by: Lily at August 28, 2006 09:46 PM


I'm probably going to get court-martialed or have to walk the plank for this, but you sometimes remind me of Capt. Queeg (Humprey Bogart) of the Caine Mutiny.

"That nun knew she would wreck my shredder and I want to know who she is..."

Posted by: patrick b at August 28, 2006 09:47 PM

... I got the same mailing... same cross... last spring I was sent a rosary too....

Posted by: Eric at August 29, 2006 07:54 AM

Dude, I just had to websearch the happy Sister, and there she's got her pitcher and evr'thang, right there on the happy Covenant House LLC Incorporated Holding Company website. Looks like her outfit helps "32,000" kids every year around the world. None around here, of course.

Maybe her pitcher is like the ones in The Onion. Hard to say. It certainly is blank and shiny like fake people in The Onion. Thing is, she doesn't look like someone who worries atall about anybody's shredder but her own. The whole thing definately looks like an industrial cash extraction machine.

Other thing is: all those happy, metal cross-shaped objects -- if they're getting mailed out to the proud, white-haired benefactors of the "32,000" -- must be cheaply produced indeed; after all, costly charity chatchkes cut into one's profit margin. Probably made by heathens in the massive factories of a Communist nation. No offense to them, I'm sure.

Amen. And save the children, er, the shredders. Or whatever.

Posted by: lisaloving at August 29, 2006 08:43 AM

Despite the apparent irony of a Catholic looking entity focused on gathering huge clusters of vulnerable and confused children for a safe place to wash up and sleep, it sure looks to me like "Sister Trica" isn't anymore fictitious than, say, Cheney or Osama.

Take a look: http://www.covenanthouse.org/stc_bio.html

As well, if you take a look at the annual reports, you'll see lots informative stuff, like 2004 contributions of about $144M. The list of foundations and other contributors is about as large as the population of Seaside. Can they all be dupes and suckers?


Posted by: WoodburnBob at August 29, 2006 09:30 AM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Covenant House goes on my "do not give" list:

» With malice aforethought from Jack Bog's Blog
I got another one of those shredder buster junk mailings from charity the other day -- the kind that will wreck your shredder if you don't open them and pull out the metal piece. Yeah, I'm a grouchy old coot -- guess I won't be giving any money to the ... [Read More]

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