Ring Ding Dong, Ringa Ding Ding Ding Dong

In case you were wondering, the title is an actual lyric from the highest earning rapper of all time, Dr. Dre, billionaire pioneer of Gangsta Rap (still not sure if he’s a Ph.D. or M.D.). But that has nothing to do with this post.

I’m not sure if this is an international phenomenon, but in the loosely United Americans of States, it is Salvation Army Bell Ringing Season. From the beginning of December until all minds of all shoppers are lost, a person stands in front of the largest sources of consumerism with a bucket and incessantly rings a bell. It’s auditory torture meant to, presumably, hypnotize you into donating money to the Salvation Army.

salvation army bell ringer
It looks so ominous.

I understand and appreciate that the Salvation Army needs to raise funds to help its mission, but I think we have all learned from the recent publication of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation methods, that torture does not work. And torture is the only way to describe the Salvation Army’s method of attention-getting through relentless bell ringing. I’m surprised bell ringing wasn’t in one of the Saw movies or something Eli Roth made.

How the bell-ringers avoid madness is supernatural, worthy of testing their brain. Do they have some sort of mystical ability to tune out the ringing? Maybe this is the same muscle that allows people who whistle to not register how annoying whistling is or how those who chew with their mouths open don’t feel like stabbing themselves in the swallow tube. Are people who create the annoying sound immune to the annoying sound they are generating?Salvation Army Discrimination

No matter the Salvation Army’s justification, there are a vast number of alternative options to fundraising that don’t involve annoying people into submitting their money.

“We hope to draw attention to our cause.”   ~Salvation Army

“Punching random people in the face would have the same affect,” I would retort, “Why not festoon your donation bucket with spastically flashing LED lights? You’d save money on what I can only assume are generally unemployable addicts of some stripe. Or maybe preserve their dignity by giving them a sign to spin? Or, have a sale at those shops where you’re selling things that are given to you?”

“Every one of those 3 trillion chimes is granting wings to angels.” ~Salvation Army

“Are there some angels who have multiple wings, like a spider-angel? Because the bell ringing is far outpacing any god’s ability to create angels plus the number of people who have ever died. You’re creating an excess of wing supply.”~Me

Do you need further reason to avoid the bell ringers?
Do you need further reason to avoid the bell ringers?

My point is, there is no justification for Salvation Army bell ringers…except it apparently works, or else they wouldn’t do it every year. Probably because, as people leave whatever department store they throw loose change at the bell ringer, hoping he/she will stop, or even pause. Please, I ask you to stay strong this holiday season, hold on to your change. If you truly feel like donating to the Salvation Army, donate directly to their corporate office, preferably with a note begging them to stop the bell ringing. The only way they will stop this aural assault is if they see a dip in donations from those stupid buckets. Stay strong.


Add yours →

  1. Weirdly, I don’t run into a lot of bell ringers. Maybe it’s because I rarely leave my apartment (i have a cat now, you know), and I avoid malls at all costs. Just withdraw from society!


  2. Well, sounds kind of Grinchy this morning, right? I’ve done the bell ringing once, but only for a two hour stint at a WalMart. I agree that it is somewhat annoying, but it’s a way to get people to donate even their small change to a cause for charity. They do a lot of excellent work, and maybe aren’t as visible otherwise to the public? Not sure. The bells are a bit annoying, but all the ringers are pretty friendly. Just sayin’.


    • Grinchy? No, not right, in fact, quite wrong. The Grinch was someone who waged a war against consumerism, stealing all of the gifts from the Who’s in Whoville. Are the bell ringers not doing the same by taking money from people that could go toward purchasing heart-felt gifts for loved ones as an physical manifestation of the happiness that those loved ones provide? The bell ringing, preventing families from talking, driving them away from centers of consumerism where those gifts are procured! I say thee NEIGH! Tis’ the bell ringers who art the embodiment of Grinches!

      Sorry, I can’t help myself, especially when someone takes issue with a post that mentions “spider angels.” Though, it appears you may have only read part way through the first sentence before firing off your missive. So, counter to the spirit of “just sayin'” (a loathsome, dismissive term interchangeable with “stuff your dumb opinion back in that shriveled think-box of yours”), please take a moment to reread, realize that I addressed all of the points you mention (in fact, I intimated that the bell ringers may have superpowers!), and come on back so we can talk about alternatives to using noise pollution to seduce people into donations.
      Oh, and when you say the Salvation Army “does a lot of excellent work,” please address Katy’s comment below.


  3. This is a funny post, and I should not inject a note of venom and bitterness.

    But I will.

    The Salvation Army is a wacko Christian cult. A law office where I worked represented an HIV+ client who had been turned down by one of their programs based on his health status. We didn’t sue – we were just trying to figure out “What gives?”

    Their responses were shocking. “General and Mrs. X, Captain and Mrs. Y, Corporal and Mrs. Z, etc.” (seriously – 8 sets of names signed each letter) informed us that they were strictly a religion and could do whatever they wanted. Based on my own research of old cases involving the Salvation Armyat the time, it appears they ARE and they CAN.


  4. Here in Canada, we have laws against this sort of thing (seriously). Sally Ann bellringers are NOT allowed to indiscriminately or incessantly ring those bells in malls. They are restricted to a small bell which can only be gently rung once in a while. Some don’t even bother using bells anymore. Doesn’t matter to me though. I haven’t given those homophobic bastards any money in decades. There are lots of other excellent, non-discriminatory agencies that do just as much good among the poor so they get my rainbow bucks instead.


  5. abeerfortheshower December 15, 2014 — 10:02 am

    Ch…ange? What is that? People still use coins? I always love when I get hassled by a bell ranger for spare change and I remind them that as a young(ish) person in the year 2014 I haven’t used paper money in years. And I joke about it, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before these clowns start ringing a bell while standing over a big metal credit card reader.


  6. The ring-a-ding doesn’t bother me too much. It’s kind of like unanswered call bells in a nursing home or hospital. Let those patients keep on ringin’. Their pain meds I won’t be bringin’. ‘Cause I took them myself. Are my lips blue?



  7. I have never seen a bell ringer in my part of the world


  8. I guess the ringing doesn’t bother me so much as the guilt I feel for not putting money in their bucket. Even though I give to lots of other organizations. Instead, I shuffle past and look at my phone, as though I didn’t even hear their ringing or see their sad, hunched over forms just hoping for my 35 cents so they can reach their nightly quota. Do they have a quota do you think? Although, probably not, because if they did, you probably would see some attention grabbing, special effects bell ringing going on for the more ambitious ones, wouldn’t ya?


  9. Fun fact: the seraph class of angels in the Jewish/Christian angelic hierarchy are thought to have six wings each. And they fly around singing “Holy holy holy!” Which I imagine would be at least, if not more, annoying than all the bell-ringing.

    More random things: The first song that I thought of on reading your title was this 1970s Europop, which I guess says something about me culturally. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI78Bqp6z6g

    And while I was trying to search for the right combination of Dings and Dongs for the title of that last one, this came up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPrnduGtgmc

    The bells are sounding more appealing.


  10. Sounds a little bizarre. Thank goodness they dont do it here


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