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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Silence Never Makes Me Feel Better

When I feel disappointed, I try to express it assertively, if it's worth it to me to do so. If I don't make the effort to say something, I usually run the event or problem over and over in my head and don't feel resolved.

Sometimes writing letters or in today's world, a thoughtful email, helps me put an issue to bed.

For Christmas for the past few years, I've given my nephews and nieces (all of whom have most of what they might want in the way of material things) donations to the Heifer project. I'm a beekeeper myself, so I usually give a hive of bees in each of their names as donations to the Heifer Project.

The Heifer Project page announces that you can notify the people in whose names you made donations via a printed out donation card that you send to them via US Mail or by E Card. In the past, I've always printed out the actual card and sent it to my relatives whom I was honoring. This year I thought, "Why not save a tree and keep the gas pollution down and send the E Card?"

On the Heifer Project page, the donor gets to pick the E Card that represents what you are donating: flocks of chickens, flocks of ducks, a sheep, beehives, etc. I donated the amount for six beehives and chose the beekeeper examining a frame of honey as the picture for my E Card.

Finishing up the process meant entering each relative's email and making a personal gift message. To each, I said that I was donating in their name and hoped they had a Merry Christmas, but on only a couple did I mention that I was donating bees since I thought the picture on the card spoke for itself.

I got an email thank you from my niece, Rachel, and scrolled down and clicked on the Heifer project link to see what the card looked like that she got. To my shock, there was the card, but no picture. Now I realize there's some remote possibility that my computer didn't allow the picture to show but I was greatly disappointed.

I went onto the Heifer Project site, found "contact us," went through the FAQs and didn't find this problem addressed. So I wrote the following to customer service:

For Christmas, I sent donations of beehives in honor of six of my nephews and nieces. They received E Cards, but there was no picture of the beekeeper on the card and the card did not in any other way indicate that I had given hives of bees because I assumed they would see the bees in the picture.

I am a beekeeper so it means a lot to me to donate beehives. I am very disappointed because I wanted them to know I had spent the money for bees and not just made a general donation.

If your E Cards are not sent in the way they are represented on the site (with an included picture of the bees), then I don’t think you should offer them.

If I donate next year, I will not use an E Card and will instead waste trees printing the print-out cards that you also make available.

In Disappointment,

Linda Tillman

I don't know if I'll get a response, but simply writing this email made me feel better.

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