Service of Thinking Twice: When NOT to be Generous

July 3rd, 2023

Categories: Air Travel, Charity, Generosity, Lending Money, Lessons Learned, Retail, Travel

Image by Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay

My nearest and dearest are breathtakingly generous, consistently giving to causes that sorely need support.

However, I think there are instances in which the faucet of human kindness should be turned off and sharing information for small immediate gain reconsidered.

Here are some examples.

You should think twice before giving…..

  • Your mobile phone number to a company so it can send you texts in exchange for a one-time minor discount–unless you don’t mind incessant text pings announcing a new product or sale.
  • Money to beggars. Charities recommend you should instead give money to them. [I know—this sounds self-serving, but it is the prudent thing to do.]
  • More money to someone who didn’t repay you for the last loan–unless you consider both a gift in which case say so.
  • Up your aisle or window seat in exchange for the middle one in a long flight because another passenger made a last-minute booking and nevertheless wants to sit where you are–next to a family member.

The New York Post covered this topic with a compelling example. The flight originated in Japan. The woman who wanted to switch her middle seat for a window seat so she could be next to her toddler was part of a tour wrote Brooke Kato. The passenger who wouldn’t budge said the mother should have asked another tour member or the tour operator or a flight attendant for a switch and yet she only approached her. I don’t blame her digging in her heels and wonder if I’d have the guts to ignore her request. But enduring a middle seat on a very long flight…..I think I’d find the strength.

What are more examples that suggest that people should zip shut wallets and keep mobile phone numbers to themselves or refuse to do what might seem to be the right thing? Is this line of thought counterintuitive if you are trying to address some of the world’s inequities?

Image by Niek Verlaan from Pixabay

6 Responses to “Service of Thinking Twice: When NOT to be Generous”

  1. Martha Takayama Said:

    I think the advice about sharing mobile phone numbers, giving to charities or people who didn’t pay loans is all logical and to be followed. Being asked incessantly to contribute to major hospitals with useless rewards such as labels or notes is annoying and a waste of money that could otherwise be used by the party soliciting the funds.

    Awkward demands to modify travel arrangements should best be orchestrated through travel or airplane representatives to minimize confusion and conflict. Endless “go fund mes” for causes that are far removed from your circle of concerns have to be processed with great restraint. All of us have people or causes whom we feel the need to support and they should be given prime consideration.,

  2. ASK Said:

    Never have switched seats, even at a steward or stewardess request, especially in the past 5 years or so when you have to pay extra to choose a seat you want. I don’t sign petitions either, even if I agree with the cause. Nor do I respond to internet surveys. Judging a purchased filter for my Dustbuster…what is there to say?

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The flight attendant would have to hand me a voucher for a business class ticket to anywhere in the world for me to change a good seat for a middle one unless the flight is an hour long. And you’re right: the passenger who thought she’d guilt the other passenger into switching to her crummy seat should have gone to an official–she crossed swords with the wrong person.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I write positive reviews when CVS asks about its service–because their staff is for the most part helpful and cheerful– and I wonder if that’s why they send me as many 40 percent off coupons as they do. But ask me what I think about rolls of Bounty or boxes of Kleenex….faghedaboudit.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    Paying for a needed sandwich/meal works for me. I will help with plane seating if the exchange is to my liking (no middle seating) and/or if failure to accommodate results in undue discomfort and distress. I’m a small person, so leg room is no problem, and I sleep on long flights so as to avoid jet lag. I’ve not run into deadbeats up to now. Perhaps I have a look which discourages requests for loans…..Good!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Decades ago organizations sold tickets for meals that you could buy and distribute to people asking for money. I don’t know why this is no longer done.

    There was a time I was a deadbeat magnet. Don’t ask. One person blew up at me when I realized that the money didn’t help them for long—it wasn’t a bridge loan but a drain for me.

Leave a Reply