Monday, November 15, 2010

The Not So Caring Tree

The Caring Tree at the restaurant where I work has me a bit angry fluffed.  Every holiday season, we set up a Christmas Tree near the entry of our restaurant and a local organization hangs cards on them that are filled out with the gift wishes of local children who are "less fortunate."  Our customers can select an ornament, as it were, from The Caring Tree and purchase the child's requested gift.  They then bring it back to the restaurant where it is then collected and wrapped to be delivered to the child for Christmas.

Sounds great, right?  Really, it is a wonderful idea and every year I pick a card off the tree.  Here's what has my feathers a little ruffled.  Most of the gifts listed make perfect sense: sweatshirts, jeans, remote control truck, CDs, and Barbies.

This year, there is one particular card that hangs on our Caring Tree that stands out.  It reads:

13 year old Boy. 
Gift requested:  XBox Game - Wanted: Weapons of Fate

Seriously??  Oh let me count the ways that this is inappropriate!!  First of all, I wouldn't consider someone to really meet the requirements of being a participant in this charity if they're rocking an XBox at home.  Maybe this is just my ignorance showing through here, but we were only able to get a Wii game console this year and that was because we redeemed my husband's airline miles for it.  We're hardly "less fortunate"....quite the opposite, in fact.  But this isn't about me.  I can't help but wonder if this "less fortunate" family is now qualified as such because they have foolishly spent their money on things like and XBox rather than clip coupons, set a budget, live frugally, and save their money.

Second, I'm all for requesting a gift that isn't neccesarily for something the child "needs" because part of the thrill of the Christmas gift is to get something that's more of a "want."  I'm down with that.  However, I would argue that it is in very poor taste to request this type of game. 

Wanted: Weapons of Fate is a game that "revolves around a centuries-old, secret fraternity of assassins that kill people as dictated by the mysterious Loom of Fate."  The player can "curve bullets and kill your targets, just like the characters in the blockbuster film."  Ready for the cherry on top?  It won't come as much of a surprise that this game is rated M for Mature.  And don't even get me started on the dangers of such violent video games to our young men.  (Read "Boys Adrift" by Dr. Leonard Sax if you're interested.  Rocked my world!)

So sorry Caring Tree, I don't consider it charity to buy a mature, violent video game for a 13 year old boy.  I consider it irresponsible

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