On the Nature of Giving

EXT. SUPERMARKET – DAY

SIMON (29) walks outside the front of a supermarket. Ahead, between Simon and the doorway, is a small table with three people hovering around all entering customers in order to try and collect money. Simon looks up and sees them.

SIMON
Oh shit.

Simon takes his phone from his pocket and begins to pretend to send a text. Simon approaches the table deeply engrossed in his phone. One of the money collectors, a middle aged man, targets him and quickly approaches.

MONEY COLLECTOR
Hey there mate, you doing some shopping today?

Simon doesn’t look up from his phone as he walks past.

SIMON
Yep.

The money collector isn’t perturbed and begins to walk beside him.

MONEY COLLECTOR
That’s great, so we’re collecting money for charity if you can give a donation.

SIMON
Sorry I don’t have any cash on me, just my card.

The money collector steps in front of Simon, just in front of the doorway to the supermarket.

MONEY COLLECTOR
That’s no problem, we take eftpos.

He points over to the little table where an eftpos machine sits.

Simon looks over at the table then back to the now smug looking money collector. Seeing the smug smile on the money collectors face Simon puts his phone back into his pocket, and smiles back at him.

SIMON
Actually I’m not really interested in giving to your charity.

MONEY COLLECTOR
You’re not interested in giving to charity?

SIMON
That’s right.

MONEY COLLECTOR
Even a few dollars will help, although we often encourage people to sign up for a once a month donation that can be taken straight from you bank account.

SIMON
But I just told you I don’t want to give any money to you.

MONEY COLLECTOR
Surly you can spare a few dollars?

SIMON
How do you know that? And what if I couldn’t? Would you give me some money? But that’s not the point. I don’t want to give you money, what I would like to do is go shopping.

The money collector steps aside and Simon begins to walk to the door.

MONEY COLLECTOR
Well I’m sorry me trying to do some good has bothered you. Maybe you should give it a try some time.

Simon stops and turns back to the money collector.

SIMON
See, that is exactly why I didn’t want to give you any money. You act as though I’m a such a bad guy for making that choice. How do you know if I’m a good guy or not? I could spend all my time living a good life, helping people, and just being an all around good person. But all of that is deemed irrelevant if I don’t hand over money because you happened to ask for it.

MONEY COLLECTOR
So what? You think people should only be charitable if they think they’re a bad person?

SIMON
People can be as charitable or as not charitable as they want, and that’s exactly my point. You’re not giving me the choice to be charitable you’re just saying I should, and worse you’re try to bully it out of me.

MONEY COLLECTOR
I’m just trying to collect money for a charity. I’m not bullying anyone.

SIMON
Yes you are, and you know it. You continued to pressure me to give money well past the point where I blatantly told you I didn’t want to. I think you like the challenge of trying to force people into giving money, and that just makes me not want to give it to you. If you had just asked nicely without all the games and friendly intimidation I very well might have donated.

The money collector looks abashed.

MONEY COLLECTOR
I, I guess you’re right, part of me does like the challenge. I’m sorry.

This slows Simon down, who visibly calms.

SIMON
I…I wasn’t expecting that. Look it’s alright, just don’t try and bully people in the future. Provide the opportunity to be charitable, that’s all.

MONEY COLLECTOR
Got you. So, would you like to make a donation?

Beat.

SIMON
Shit, I have to now don’t I?

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