Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Missing the point, in a big way

A woman wrote to Miss Manners complaining about someone selling t-shirts:
Two days after my town lost three teenagers to a tragic car accident, a community member began selling memorial T-shirts that were donated by a local family in the T-shirt business. All proceeds are to be given to the families to help with final expenses.

On the front of the T-shirt is an “inspirational” message, and the back has the names of the three children with their birth dates and the date of the accident.

I think their hearts are in the right places but, to me, it seems to trivialize and cheapen the memories of these children.

When I suggested that perhaps donations should be sought in order to provide a more lasting tribute than a T-shirt, I was accused of “starting drama.” I was trying to think of how I would feel as a mother if next year someone is washing his car with that T-shirt or dropping it off to charity.

I suggested that a tree planting with a small plaque or a small monument at the school the three children attended would be more lasting, and was surprised by the nasty responses I received for not supporting the T-shirt sale.

Miss Manners, I don’t want to further hurt an already grieving community, but am I wrong in thinking that a “T-shirt memorial” is cheap and tasteless?
This woman has completely missed the point.

The T-shirts are not a "memorial". They are a fund-raiser. People are trying to collect money to help these families out. A tree or a plaque won't put a dime - a much-needed dime, I'm certain - in the coffers. They can't bury their kids with a plaque. They can't deal with any insurance or legal expenses with a tree.

What baffles me is that she actually says "All proceeds are to be given to the families".

Plus, I really doubt any of those kids' mothers will even recognize that shirt if they walk past someone washing their car with it.

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