Please Give Genuinely

During the last few weeks of work, I signed up to Trip Advisor purely so that I could read one of my colleague’s scathing reviews on the over-priced sandwich shop that was within spitting distance of our office.

He’d told us what he put, but still it’s nice to read these things as well. And you can’t read a whole comment on Trip Advisor without signing up for an account because what do they get out of it if you can find out somewhere is shit or good without all that faff.

And since then I have been bombarded with emails from them. They’re like the new LinkedIn when it comes to emails.

You get an email, for example, if you search for something specific on the website while you’re logged in. Not straight away, because that would be too invasive. But a couple of days later you find an email in your inbox from Trip Advisor, creepily asking if you’re still interested in whatever it was you were looking at earlier that week.

Like, say, someone catches you staring at some road kill, trying to work out what it was n life, and then a few days later there’s a knock on your door and they’ve got something recently flattened on a shovel and are shoving it in your face saying “Go on, we know you like this…”

Sort of. You get the idea.

And then they send emails encouraging me to write reviews about things. Places I have been or whatever. I think it must be linked to my Facebook account – like EVERYTHING these days – as it knows where I have been if, for whatever reason, I have been checked in there and demands I say something about it.

And then today they sent me an email saying that Syrian Refugees needed my help.


Which is not the usual fare for good ol’ TA. It threw me. And just for a moment, for a fleeting moment, I feared that they had crossed to the dark side. That they were asking me to provide reviews of places that they would be welcomed, reviews of good camp sites, boat hire, all that kind of thing.

It’s not. Obviously. It’s for an appeal. Which is a noble cause. Although there are so many appeals for the refugees in Syria it’s hard to know which ones actually get the money to the places that actually need it.

I’m as likely to give money to a cause that has emailed me out of the blue as I am to a man on the streets of Edinburgh who accosted me and demanded money when Madeline McCann went missing. That is to say, I won’t do it. And I will be quite terse about it too. I like to know that the charity that is getting me money is the one that is going to do the most with it.

I once saw a collection bucket, again in Edinburgh, which said on it “Please Give Genuinely”. Now I assume, to this day, that they meant “generously” but royally fudged it up, but I also like the sentiment. I want to give genuinely to a cause.

And somehow, I don’t think Trip Advisor’s the one for me.