Freedom’s just another word

Posted: June 30, 2012 in Miscellaneous, Musings, Words
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Today as we drove downtown to the library, we passed parking for the Rib Fest which runs Friday through Sunday.  I noticed that the parking signs said there was a “$13.00 donation” for parking, to be donated to some youth group.  That’s all well and good, but the word “donation” means a gift.  Surely not everyone decides to give a gift of $13.00.  What if I came to park and said I didn’t want to donate?  I don’t think you’d see my van in that parking lot!

In the same way, I’ve seen church or similar events that ask for a freewill offering.  Excellent.  I have no problem with that and often much more is given than the meal is worth or than the event would otherwise charge.  However, some of them say something like “A freewill offering of $5.”  That’s not free will in any way, shape or form.

I don’t mean to be snarky, but why not just say “Parking $13.  To be donated to _______?”   At church, “Musical concert $5” doesn’t seem amiss.  You can mention where the money goes if you like, but don’t imply that the attendee has a choice.  Maybe it’s a bit of a grammar nazi thing.

  1. Ruth in west london says:

    I agree. The National Trust and other charities here charge an admission price and add on a ‘donation’ as well! You can ask to have the ‘donation’ bit removed if you choose! But a donation is surely something a donor decides to give not an amount that is added on. I want to pay an admission price, and not feel forced into paying £1.50 or whatever in addition or to feel like I am a skinflint if I ask for the extra to be removed!

    • Oh, that’s even worse! To have to ask to take it off does put you on the spot and make you feel bed if you do. Our grocery stores will sometimes ask if you want to donate to whatever cause and I always say no. I want to buy groceries there and I donate on my own time.

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