Friday, April 04, 2008


I ended last night depressed and pissed off. NG and I were hosting our latest charity bash, and frankly, it was not a night I will remember fondly. NG is the chief organiser of our events, and I draw lists of guests and print things off. It had taken many months and very many hours of slog to put together an evening in aid of a very worthy LOCAL cause - a bone marrow transplant centre.

Guests were welcomed by charming ladies who took names and money to buy bottles and glasses of wine. They were able then to mill about looking at the paintings that were to be auctioned, with a glass in hand. Several of our artists had given their work to be auctioned off, all proceeds to go to the cause. This is significant, because it's a generous gesture and normally they would expect to sell their paintings, and, for some, eat.

We had a professional auctioneer, the best of the local guys, and he did what he could to rouse the sluggish audience. Despite being very pleased with themselves, a lot of the guests had never attended an auction before and were surprised at how fast it went. At the end of the auction several paintings had not been sold and the rest had gone for way less than they were worth. It was incredibly disappointing.

Having had their patience stretched to breaking point, when access to the buffet was opened, the guests fell on it like a pack of ravening wolves. As usual. I got three morsels. After sorting out cheques for those people who had bought paintings during the sale, I then had to sort out buyers who came forward to buy those which hadn't been sold. The Cause turned out to be an irrelevance to most people. They were more than happy to walk off with a bargain and probably congratulated themselves on their luck rather than remember the bad luck of those we were trying to raise money to help.

As I tried to hawk the last painting to a group of obviously loaded smokers, all I got was sneering and ignorant comments by one particular woman about the fast speed of the auction. What made me laugh was that as soon as someone said that the auction had been conducted as it should by a guy who obviously knew what he was doing, that same person agreed, without shame, and said that as it was a pro who was the auctioneer, of course it went fast.

I found it difficult staying polite, and had to move off rapidly before I said something sarcastic.

Luckily I had some super pals with whom to spend the end of the evening and did enjoy myself. I also came home to a lovely email from my someone special wishing me luck for the evening.

We didn't make anything like what we'd hoped. People just do not want to contribute voluntarily. If there's a next time, we'll have to make them pay up front and if they don't want to, we'll cancel the evening. Simple. But for what we made last night, the effort, stress and bloody hard work putting it all together just ain't worth it.

Montpellier 'people' just don't understand charity. For them it begins at home, literally.


  1. Found you through a friend of mine who writes
    I will be back to find out more if that's OK.

    Sorry your auction didn't go too well. We have them at my school and the wealthy parents are all very generous (while the poor teachers take part in the raffle!) At least you tried.

  2. Here Here! When you see my edito for the Eening I put together, the funny thing is I have said more or less word for word...but in french, the same thing.....with a slightly sacarstic remark about "thre most generous people there were the sponsors and the painters!!!"

    Pissed off too - very!

  3. Hello Working Mum. Do please come back whenever you like!

    I'm not sure the French 'get' charity. Certainly not down our way anyway, except for a small number of exceptional exceptions.


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