Terminal Lance #89 “TSA: Keeping America Safe”
December 17, 2010
I’m sure all of those that donated to the Terminal Lance Toys for Tots fundraiser have noticed by now that their money has been refunded to them. I’m also sure that all of you are wondering why I did this. Well, I am going to tell you, because you have a right to know the details of what happened.
The fundraiser went live last Friday, within 48 hours we raised over $2,000 for the Toys for Tots charity. On Sunday, however, PayPal flagged the account because it was receiving a lot of money very quickly. When they realized it was for a charity, they told me they require legal proof that the money is actually being raised for a charity–and not for my own sinister purposes. This is a security measure on behalf of PayPal to make sure your money is being kept safe. Now, all that was required to lift the limitation was a letter from Toys for Tots faxed to them, authorizing us as a legitimate fundraiser on behalf of Toys for Tots.
So, I figured hey, we had already raised $2,000, there’s no way Toys for Tots can turn us down now. I sent an email to the VP, Bill Grein, whose contact info is the only one listed on the http://toysfortots.org website. I didn’t hunt this guy down, his info is publicly listed on the website and is the only point of contact for the organization with an actual name. I explained in detail the situation to Bill, even encouraging him to watch the video I posted to raise funds for them. This is the response I got back:
Dear Mr. Uriate,
While we appreciate your success in raising funds for Toys for Tots, we have not changed our minds and we cannot tell PayPal that you are an approved fundraising agent for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. I’m sorry if this places you in an awkward position.
VP, Marine TFT Foundation
Well, it does place me in an awkward position, Bill. Over the course of the last week, we raised over $3,000 in support of Toys for Tots. In support of a good cause, turned down because of useless politics–irrelevant of the fact that there are kids out there depending on people like my readers, who donate to causes like this. It is very awkward, Bill.
On Bill’s behalf though, I understand his point of view: legally there’s no obligation or motivation to authorize me as a legitimate fundraiser for Toys for Tots. However, I would think $3,000 to charity would be a good thing.
I was left with a few options. My first thought was to close the donations and dump what we had raised on Toys for Tots. I learned today I couldn’t do this however, as I called PayPal and asked if that would be possible, but they told me that since the account was already under scrutiny, a large transaction like that would almost surely be intercepted by PayPal’s security. If no more action was taken before tomorrow, the money would have been placed on restriction for 6 months in some kind of PayPal limbo–unable to go anywhere. My next option, find a different charity to give the money to. Why couldn’t I do this? Because the money was collected under the idea that it was going to Toys for Tots. I am not so bold as to make decisions with your money, on your behalf. Donating to another charity would be lying to you. As well, there just wasn’t time to find another organization and have them authorize the account with PayPal. So, I had to make the call to refund all of your money.
And thus it is that I spent the last 4 hours clicking through PayPal’s slow, slow website and crappy interface to make sure that all of the money was properly refunded.
As disappointed as I am with the situation, I want to say thank you to everyone that donated. The fact that we raised so much, so quickly, really goes to show the quality of your character–and I’m extremely proud to call you my readers.
If you still feel strongly about donating to Toys for Tots, I implore you: go to their website and make a donation.
So again, I say thank you to everyone who participated, and I apologize for the inconvenience. I will post the bloopers video anyway, after I edit it, for shits and giggles.
As for the comic:
I realize TSA has been all over the media lately, but really I just thought of this based on my own experiences in airports. You’d think military personell in uniform would have an easier time, but alas, it proves to be a hassle no matter what you wear or who you are. No matter how many times your stack shows them you’ve been on the other side of the planet on their behalf, some overweight douche-bag with a lot of power will tell you to drop your pants and grab your ankles.