Friday, March 03, 2006

Arrogance or Ignorance?

When I started BC Digital Divide just before last Christmas, I was willing to accept most anything (beggars can't be choosers) and was willing to go pick up the items from the home of the donor. But as things have evolved, the number of donations have increased dramatically, especially from the corporate sector. And the quality of the equipment has increased as well, especially from these same corporate donors.

So we decided last month that we could no longer pick up items from individuals, though we're trying to find a way to let them drop off equipment [we can use] once a month. But when we get an e-mail from a prospective corporate donor, I always give it special attention.

Today I went over to see one such donor, a mid-sized medical firm on Vancouver's west side. I met the woman I had been dealing with, the assistant there, and she was very nice. But the equipment she showed me was far from recent. Much of it was at least 10 years old, clearly much older than anything we could take. One monitor had a "Broken" label on it, though she still assumed I would take it.

But the ultimate slap-in-the-face came when I met her employer, one of the doctors there. He hauled an old clunker out of his office, that was circa 1995-97. I looked at it and politely told him that we could not take it. Then his assistant told him that I had mentioned a recycling firm that could take such items away. He responded in the most dismissive tone, "I don't care how we get rid of it, as long as we don't have to pay for it."

Read that line again. How is it that an educated man in a multi-million dollar medical practice could ever make such a statement?! What part of his life experience makes him think that he can call up a private firm and get them to cover the cost of hauling away his junk?!?

I've got to tell you, encounters like this one make me question why on earth I've put my own work pretty much on hold since mid-December to focus on Digital Divide. Thankfully there are some AMAZING people I've met too, but today's events provide a vivid reminder that selfishness is alive & well in Vancouver!

1 comment:

Bonnie Paquette said...

Hi Robert....

Thank goodness you're NOT like that Dr!! You have a beautiful Spirit & compassionate heart Robert!! Sadly, many people today are so caught up in themselves & what they want, there's no room for anyone else. What a small world they live in.

Bonnie