i thought they are locked and the SA has the key.
*cough* the average padlock I've seen on the kettle's can be picked in fifteen seconds with simple tools. Yea, I had a housemate who was an expert lock pick. Never got locked out of our house, that is for sure! The saving grace is that the kettles are kept in public areas and often removed when there is no bell ringer. But I am sure unsavory SA employees who pick up the kettles get sticky fingers once they are out of the public eye...
Bad me, that's one org I've never supported. All too often the ringers are paid and I don't trust the SA (ok, I don't trust any Christian church, but that's another matter).
But when I get told go *beep* off for not putting my change in the open bucket as a new mother with an infant living on an E-2 paycheck, meh, I really don't support them. Seeing as that was about an EVERY shopping experience in the Christmas season that year, I got pissy.
I don't support any charities (especially religious ones.. but that's just the way I am). I have heard from some people where the SA helped them a lot and I applaud that.. BUT they also got a healthy dose of religion right along with the help they received.. which was ok for them since they are devout church goers.. but personally it's not my thing.
For me.. well.. i USED to donate to some groups.. but then found out that the money wasn't going where they claimed it was.. so since then I keep my money at home.
Here recently, I have been debating about what charities to donate to and I finally decided that instead of donating something to a charity and me not knowing who gets my donation if they get it at all, I have contacted one of our local representatives in my district to find out what needy families are in desperate need of help this Holiday season. He knows 1 family as of now and will try to find 2 more families in my rural area. Once he finds the 3 families, I will be donating an entire Christmas Dinner to these families. The packages will include a turkey, stuffing, vegetables, bread, desserts, drinks and paper goods. I will probably include a $25.00 gift card that they can spend anywhere they want. It's not much but it will be more than they already had. I feel better knowing that my donating IS going directly to someone really needs it and I will know exactly who these people are.
My buddies daughter got paid to ring the bell a few years ago. She also got a bonus for collecting the most money one week. They keep up with what they take in and from where. The most profitable spots are always covered and they will add another ringer if they think they can get more. For example, the Walmart in our area is a good place. They have a ringer at every entrance and at the garden center entrance.
I try to always drop my pocket change in the bucket when I pass. Around here there is a lid on the bucket and a lock. It is a challenge to get a unfolded dollar bill in the lid. And the ringer is not allowed to touch the money. You have to put it in the bucket yourself. I guess that keeps the ringers from putting it in their pocket instead of the bucket.