My Crowd Funding Failure & Judging The Poor

Over the weekend I threw up a post about some of the things that have been happening lately; that I'm broke, and hope to get a job as soon as I get my licence, and asked if anyone could throw a few dollars our way to help it happen. I added a PayPal button and sent the thing live. I've seen a few other people do the same sort of thing to unexpectedly bountiful results, so even though I was on the verge of tears (of humiliation, of despair) writing the post, I was hopeful something would come of it, and shyly checked my PalPal account through the day.

De nada.

Nothing. Whenever I've been a bit more financially assured I've thrown whatever dollars I could at this or that cause, and hoped a little karma would roll back my way. Nope. It was like getting rejected by the whole internet, and did nothing to help my mood.

Well I did get something. People who contacted me to say they couldn't give any money, but "have you thought of...?"

Sad to say I have been in this situation before, more times than I care to remember (although it's getting more and more depressing as I reach an age where my contemporaries are moving into their second homes). There is nothing, no way of raising cash, that anyone could suggest that I hadn't already thought of, no avenue I haven't exhausted.

What was worse was the "but what about..." messages. Didn't you just get a new phone? Didn't you just get a new car? Maybe you need to sell it. (Which would leave me unable to work at all, but oh well). By the evening of that first day, unable to take it any more, I yanked the post.

It was a stinging reminder that when you're poor, everyone feels they have the right to judge. People hanging around Centrelink are always smoking, how can they afford it? (And never mind that smoking rates have a correlation with educational levels, and for years tobacco companies targeted people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and tobacco addiction is not a tap you can turn off in tough times, and cigarette taxes have the harshest effect on the unemployed - and their children). What about the X-box? (Was given it second hand three years ago from a relative who upgraded to a newer model). Don't you have Foxtel? (Whose sales tactics involve sucking you in with the promise of cheap or free channels in the initial period, then you're stuck on a contract that costs as much to leave as to remain on). And for what it's worth and not that it's anyone's damn business, but I don't smoke, we don't have a gaming console and we don't have Foxtel.

Depressing, yet this is the kind of judgement you face every fucking day when you're poor. People somehow think they've a right to judge, usually based on that "I pay my taxes!" and contribute to the welfare pool. I don't get it, really. I worked all through my twenties, unmarried and childless, and in later years on pretty good money and paid a fair chunk of tax. I didn't think I was entitled to my own little quota of welfare recipients to appraise and order about ("get out of bed! How did you afford that piercing?"). I was glad to be able to contribute. But now I'm on the other side of the fence, however temporary that may be.

I've thought about re-launching the crowd  funding using a dedicated sort of service, but I don't have the heart to go through this all again. I've added a little donation link at the end of posts, so it's there, but not as obtrusive as directly begging for money. At least I know I've got the means to get out of this situation. Too many people don't, and that's why I'll keep following a career path dedicated to advocating for them.

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