Cork 183


I used to see the world of charities with (apparently) hot pink-colored glasses on. Surely these women–the women who pour their hearts, souls, and time–into events that raise awareness for those less-privileged…these would be the women who I would aspire to be. Warm, gently, nurturing, and generous are just a few of the words I would use to describe them in my head.

All of that just recently changed for me. For those of you who know me, I’m generally amicable and can get along with different crowds of people. So a non-profit event would only offer me the opportunity to be around like-minded people all working together for the greater good.
Scene: I am quickly shuffled from my previous responsibilities (with 15 hours now under my belt at this event) onto a new task. I relieve a set of high-school kids who assure me that this station is ‘easy.’ People pay $20, they draw a cork at random from the basket, read me the number, and I find the corresponding number on a wine bottle behind me. Ta-dah! You might luck out with Moet Hennessy, you might walk away with something of lesser value. It’s a game of charitable chance.
Enter Villains: A couple in their late sixties walk up to the table. She begins rifling through all the corks and reading all the numbers. I jest and say, ‘you wouldn’t be cheating now would you ma’am?’ She doesn’t respond. I help about five people in between. She finally hands me the two corks she is buying. I retrieve 1 of the 2 bottles because the second bottle is not behind the counter. I have no idea where it is…I just relieved the previous shifters. I explain to her that she may draw again, but that the bottle is not there. She becomes immediately indignant…demanding that she won’t leave until she gets that bottle–183. Now, none of us know what 183 is/was, we just know it isn’t there–it doesn’t exist. I restate this. This time I offer her her money back and she won’t take it. She points to the most expensive remaining bottle on the table and demands it. I tell her that won’t do because someone else has a cork for that and it would be unfair. She says I am unfair. She now says she won’t leave until I give her that bottle. The situation escalates. I now have about 9 people backed up in line, just watching and waiting (a drama-filled feature of charity women).
The climax: She peers at me with her beady little eyes and says…”then go get your mother.” That’s right, she is communicating that I am a dumb and young part of the ‘help’ with her nasty words. I spit right back with ‘excuse me, you did not just ask me to get my mother.’ She frumpily says,’ whoever is in charge of you.’ I tell her ‘no one.’ Despite this, I do bring someone else out to deal with her. She finally leaves the table.
Did I mention the $20 is for charity? When revisiting the story this morning, someone notated that I should have shown her some charity by taking cork 183 and offering to put it where the sun don’t shine.
I wish I could have ‘Michael-Moore-d’ that evening and shown the homeless exactly how these drunken crazies behaved. Next time, I will be less charitable with my language!

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