Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hello God it's me...

Susan, calling St. Michael's and getting hung up on. (bonus points if you know the book title I am playing with here.)

For my new readers, my mother in law passed away November 2006 after nearly a year long battle with congestive heart failure and renal failure. She was a parishioner of St. Michael's and until she was too ill, she sang faithfully in the choir.

That said she has been gone almost 4 years. H and I had her mass at his home church in his home town and then as she had requested, we made a donation to St. Michael's and asked that a mass be said in honor of her death.

It should be noted that H and I currently do not practice any particular faith for a variety of reasons.

Yesterday in our mail, was a letter from St. Michael's, on St. Michael's letterhead, addressed to my mother in law, requesting her pledge to the Bishop's annual fund.

Are you kidding me? She is dead, if her faith is to be believed, she is hanging out with angels and singing a heavenly tune. Furthermore, for us mere mortals, I distinctly remember both H and I calling St. Michael, in 2006/2007 - informing them of her death. I might have actually written a letter. I did alot of letter writing on her behalf that winter.

I found yesterday's letter to be in extremely poor taste and insensitive. This is not the first time in four years St. Michael's has solicited a dead person for money. With reincarnation, this might actually make sense, but given that she is dead and I am not counting on her coming back, the polite and sensitive thing to do is remove her name and our address from their mailing list(s.) One would think there would be a procedure for that.

In my mind it would work something like this -

1. Get notice of parishioner's death
2. Delete name from master mailing list
3. Once a month, update all committee lists.

In the world of email and word processing, it is really that simple. Four years hence, there is simply no excuse.

So I called.

I spoke to who ever answered the phone. I explained that I found it to be insensitive and rude for them to soliciting money from my mother in law who is deceased. I explained that we have contacted them a few times in the past.

She began to make excuses and I cut her off. I explained that their administrative inefficiencies were not my problem, but that I wanted us removed from the any and all mailing lists. Before I could finish my sentence, she hung up on me.

Yes, let's type that in BOLD.


Where is her grace and humility is what I would like to know.

So I called back (but then you all knew I would.)

I called back and asked for the priest and instead got his voice mail, so I left a very clear message as to how I felt about being hung up on and how I felt about getting a letter on their letterhead, four years after my mother in law passed away asking for money. I shared with him we are not members of his church, nor do we intend to be and could he do the right thing already and get us off the mailing list(s). I also suggested that whoever was answering his phone needed to look deep and find her humility and grace.

It is bad business to solicit money from dead people and it is rude to hang up on people. If you want to run a campaign asking for money, then you need to scrub your lists and make sure it is accurate. You wanna play in the big leagues. Act like a big league player.

I have no patience for excuses or people who are rude. She should be fired and St. Michael's should have to pay a fine, that is what happened when I worked at Merrill Lynch. If we solicited someone who had asked to be removed from a calling list or a mailing list - we got fined.

And no, I am not in a charitable mood, thank you for asking.

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