DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I was nine months pregnant, a co-worker stood in front of my desk in a crowded office and loudly verbally assaulted me for being the only person in the office who did not pledge money for her "thon."
At the time, I was suffering from both raging hormones and an aching back, and I told her (none too pleasantly) that I chose to spend my charitable dollars elsewhere.
Could you please voice your opinion of charitable organizations that expect their members to extort funds from friends, relatives, acquaintances and co-workers?
GENTLE READER: That the charity business does not mix well with the blackmail business. It has always puzzled Miss Manners that people who are in the very act of being charitable toward people they don't know, which is admirable, feel entitled to be rude to those they do.
Philanthropy is no more an excuse for rudeness than are, by the way, raging hormones. It was fine to say you were committed to other causes, but you might have said so civilly.