The Suicide Scam

08 May 2006

Very recently, a Belgian newspaper apparently featured a story that was titled: “Every Week, Two Teens Commit Suicide”. That’s bad. I’m well aware of the fact that troubled minds don’t always seem to find a way out and opt for the (to them) easiest way: ending their life. In my humble opinion, suicide is a selfish way to go. If you think you can make the world a better place by punishing the ones you’ll leave behind, you’re not only stupid but you definitely lack respect for those who love you and are left behind with a load of questions and insecurities. And believe me, there’s always someone who loves you. They might not always show it or say it, but there’s always someone who cares.

Today, just a moment ago, my doorbell rang and some fugitive was standing there. The type of beggars you see in the ‘big’ cities, holding a plastic-wrapped sign in 4 languages that states they have 7 kids and no home, usually with a paper cup from a fastfood restaurant in the other hand. Only this time it was a plastic-wrapped newspaper article and a French and Dutch text that asked to sign the petition against teen suicide. This pissed me off. Not only didn’t the woman speak any of the languages mentioned above, she didn’t seem to be alone either. I looked out my door and saw another women on the other side of the street going door to door as well.

I refused to sign. I’ll tell you why.

Not only is this a lame form of begging, because signing the petition would mean you’d also have to pay €5 (5 Euros = $ 6.45), the woman clearly had no idea at all what she was walking around with. She didn’t understand Dutch, nor French, nor English. She just pointed to the article, the text and the price you’d have to pay. This is an outrage. Really. That ‘official petition’ she walk around with was a simple bundle of blank papers, which featured about a dozen of (fake?) signatures already. No heading, no columns, no nothing.

The other reason why I refused to sign is: I agree that there is a problem with teen suicide, if that article is real (I haven’t seen it myself in the papers I read). Heck, I know that there’s a problem, even without that article. But collecting signatures while going from door to door isn’t going to make the situation better. How can any troubled teen benefit from the fact that ‘x’ people are against teen suicide? That doesn’t help the teen, it doesn’t solve the problem and it sure doesn’t make things better. There was no official organization backing this up.

If it would have been a recognized organization that went door to door, then I’d have signed, but surely not paid. I wouldn’t have signed ‘against’ teen suicide. I’d only have signed if it was to help troubled teens. If they would have sold a calendar for their organization, stickers, anything… then it would have been different. But this was clearly an illegal scam where some imported women were dropped off by the dozen to go around and scam some citizens. I should have called the cops, come to think of it.

How can anyone fall for this? It’s so obviously fake. Even more: how can you go around exploiting a weakness like teen suicide? Dammit it’s stuff like this that makes you narrow-minded, I know. I’m not a racist. I agree that everybody should have a fair chance and that some rotten apples can spoil it for an entire community. That you have to look ‘around’ the rotten apples. But man, there sure are A LOT of rotten apples lately. And apparently a lot of naive people too.

1 Comment

Posted by Miel Van Opstal in Spam & Scam, Thoughts


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  1. frédéric

    May 8, 2006 at 9:40 am

    This has scam written all over it. Never heard of a petition for which you actually have to pay to put your name under it (rather the contrary).
    From experience: a way to be pretty sure about the destination of your donations is if the other party holds some official card that proves he’s working for an accredited organization — think it has a police stamp and signature on it. Typically, they are allowed to ask you for donations in the supermarket, they don’t come sneeking up on you on the parking. And they *always* speak your language.