Bob's Links and Rants

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

If you want to support a charity or a cause, give them the money directly

Don't rely on "we'll share the profit" schemes. I just got an e-mail from Amnesty International, a very worthwhile organization, asking me to sign up for cellular service with "Amnesty Wireless." Amnesty Wireless turns out to be a front for Working Assets, which as I found out last year is a front for Sprint (although they've made that harder to figure out now). I've been happy with my Sprint service for years, and have tweaked my plan so I get the most of what I want for the least money. "Amnesty Wireless" offers only a limited subset of these choices (only seven phones to choose from, compared to 31 directly from Sprint, for example), meaning that I and most people would likely end up spending more than we need to.

Get your best deal on what you need, using your conscience to guide you away from the worst corporate criminals whenever possible. Send your savings to your favorite organizations. There is no reason these two activities should be directly connected, and some pretty good reasons they shouldn't. (Suppose Sprint decides to deny coverage to a "rebel" area in some country at the request of the Bush administration, something AI might oppose. Should they be burdened with the conflict of interest of having a stream of income coming from Sprint? I'd rather have AI tell me why I should switch to another company.)

I used to have an Amnesty International Visa as well, but that's probably even worse.

The Amnesty Wireless web site says that "10% of every dollar you bill is donated automatically to Amnesty International, at no extra cost to you." Sorry folks, there's ALWAYS an extra cost.