I’m Sorry – I’m Busy and Broke

Have you ever wanted to write someone a letter, to tell them how you really feel? I have. Below is a note I’d write to a man I met in Union Square once, one of those “Sponsor a child!” types I usually ignore:

Dear British African-child-saver,

You’re cute. And British. That’s why I let you talk my ear off about sponsoring a child, even though I can barely take care myself financially. I’m sorry I let you run through your spiel only to get a “no thanks,” but you were so sweet and earnest — it was soo adorable! Throw in your wide-eyed, “I just moved to New York!” expression and well, I couldn’t spit out a few curt words without feeling like a jerk.

But don’t fret, I haven’t robbed you of that experience. You’re in New York now, and people hate being approached for money — whether it’s for a homeless guy, starving African children, or bootleg DVDs — so you’ll feel our welcoming cold shoulder soon (if you haven’t already).

It’s not that New Yorkers are an uncaring bunch — we really do wish that kids didn’t go hungry, in Africa or elsewhere — but when you and your colleagues chase us down to sell us your non-profit, you’re invading our space and forcing your way into our already tight schedule.

Listen, when we say that we’re busy or that we’re broke, we mean it. There’s a reason why we rush from the subway to our destination. And please don’t tell me that sponsoring a child will only cost me “a falafel a day!” It’s catchy as hell, but dude, I can’t afford falafels everyday — that’s why I brownbag my lunch!

I admire your efforts to help these children. Really, I do. But you and your friends are annoying bunch — stop chasing us down to guilt-trip us and ask for cash! That’s why we run away from you and give you mean stares!


Have you ever been approached by anyone trying to sell you something, philanthropic or otherwise? Ever wanted to tell them how you really feel? Feel free to draft your own letter in the comments below!

About Lisha Arino

Contact Lisha Arino at arino@motthavenherald.com
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