DEAR ABBY: A co-worker has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She's not sure how long she may have. She is relatively young, so it's tragic. We have excellent insurance from work, national health care and disability insurance.
Another co-worker sent out an email with a link to a crowdfunding site as well as an invitation to a party selling products. The proceeds will be donated to fulfilling a "cancer bucket list," which includes pampering, trips and other luxuries.
I sympathize with anyone having a terminal illness, but why does that mean I have to give money? Do they have a right to be pampered on other people's dime?
This kind of fundraising, without real financial need, seems to happen often: Co-workers who have had accidents, fires, unexpected or stressful incidents all have office collections set up, even when they are fully insured and the damage is covered by their policies. A friend (or Human Resources) contacts everyone who has had even a passing interaction with the individual and solicits donations.
I am happy to write letters and notes to people I know are having a hard time. I visit with closer friends and may bring a meal or flowers to their home. But people I've spent only a few hours of my life with asking for money for luxuries seems nervy to me. Am I a tightwad, or is a financial donation necessary to express condolences? -- TIGHTWAD IN CANADA
DEAR TIGHTWAD: Because you receive a solicitation does not mean you are obligated to respond to it. (Unless the "solicitor" is holding a gun, in which case I would advise you not to argue.) Whether to make a donation for something like this is your choice, and if you choose not to join in, you should not feel -- or be made to feel -- guilty if you decline.