A few years ago, as I waited in a long line at the best falafel cart in New York City, I overheard the two men in front of me talking. As the cart and I were downtown, they were very Wall Street-y types. Man 1 said to Man 2 that his daughter wanted to cut her long hair and donate it to Locks of Love. (Locks of Love is a nonprofit organization that says that it donates hair to make wigs for low income children who are undergoing cancer treatment of whatever.) Man 2 said something that I can't remember, and Man 1 told him that he found another place for his daughter because Locks of Love actually does not donate the hair it receives to make wigs for low income children, but rather sells it. "Uh," I interrupted. "I'm sorry to butt in, but did you just say that they do not donate the hair that people donate to them?"
"Yeah," Man 1 said. " I investigated their business model and discovered that they sell the hair they receive."
Sometimes I kind of love crazy Wall Street-y types. Who else would read that kind of stuff? At any rate, the information upset me because my sister and a few of my friends had donated more than once to locks of Love, thinking they were helping people. Eons ago, a donor could even get a free cut at a nice salon if they donated their hair, but more recently, they had even paid to go to a nice place affiliated with Locks of Love to get a cut so they could help poor kids.
Since I generally don't trust crazy Wall Street-y types, I looked up Locks of Love's financial statements myself. There, plain as day, was the fact that Locks of Love derived the vast majority of its income by selling the hair that people donated. That money supported a lot of admin and other costs. And, of yeah, some wigs that they donated to low income kids.
I was furious. I called my sister and the other friends who had donated their hair and told them what was happening. Dana then found that Pantene had a hair donation program, and she used that the next time she donated her hair. We both felt better.
I bring this old story up now because someone on Facebook recently donated a lot of hair to Locks of Love. He was rightfully proud of helping a poor kid, except that of course, he didn't help a poor kid. I debated whether I should comment and share my knowledge since, as is the case with many people I am "friends" with on Facebook, I don't really know him and I also did not want to take away the good feeling that comes with doing something generous and kind.
So of course I left a comment. Within seconds, a woman told me that they only sell hair that they can't otherwise use because it is too short or damaged. I wondered who bought it if it was unusable. She told me that hair can be used to absorb oil spills. Which it can, of course, and is very good at doing. However, that begs the question: if the organization was started to donate hair, should it not then donate hair to oil spills? And even if it is justifiable to sell the hair for other things so that it can raise money to support its actual mission, why is the amount of money they spend on wigs for poor kids a very small part of their operating budget?
No, no, no. No one wanted to hear it, so I dropped it. Just because the evidence is there that an organization does not operate efficiently or possibly even ethically (I think that they advertise that they use donated hair to make wigs for poor kids when they don't is pretty misleading), does not mean that you should question what is going or try and find a place that does good work even better. In fact, how dare I even question them!
Thus I get to what is wrong with America today. God forbid evidence is out there that shows that a belief someone holds is not exactly accurate. Instead of re-evaluating what we "know," we go ballistic and blame the evidence (and the person bearing the evidence) for questioning something in the first place. I give up. When does the next season of Jersey Shore begin?