Wednesday, January 20, 2010

PayPal becomes obstacle to our Haiti Relief Run

I've invaded the marathon man's blog for the course of training for our Haiti Relief Run. Hi from the ultra-wife!

So, PayPal's turned into a huge obstacle in our fundraising effort. I wrote to them last Friday when we launched this campaign, in the hopes that they'd waive their commission on each payment so that 100% of the funds received could go to purchase medical equipment. Their fee is 2.9% + 30¢. The fee is pretty competitive (for example, FirstGiving charges 7.5% of total donations received), but I thought PayPal might be willing to waive the fee in light of the humanitarian disaster.

Well, have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? It's been 5 days of that. PayPal just responds with canned automated drivel, doesn't read anything I send them, won't let me speak to a decision-maker on the telephone. It's been exasperating. Not only have they failed to waive their fee, but they've put a limitation on my account until I supply them with proof of my tax-exempt status. But I can't provide them with that proof, because I am just an individual trying to take advantage of an amazing discount on medical equipment for disaster relief. I still hold some hope that a thinking person will read through my messages, think about it for a few seconds, and clear the situation. But if they don't, Borut and I will make the total whole at the end of our fundraising to make sure that 100% of your donations make it to Haiti.

I want to thank all of you that have helped, it means a tremendous amount to both of us. We've raised over $1000 so far, but have a long way to go. We'd also like to thank all of you who have written to us to let us know that you've already made donations through other organizations. It's been so wonderful to hear of the outpouring of support from all of us that are in a position to help. So thanks, it's all about the end goal.

The news we are getting from Haiti is grim. Today's aftershock was intense, and I can only imagine the terror that each person in Port-au-Prince must have experienced. Partners in Health reports the following: "Our team on the ground reaffirms that the reports of violence on the streets of Port-au-Prince have been grossly exaggerated and have become a major obstacle to mounting the response needed to save tens of thousands of lives each day." Please, can someone tell me who wins with the scaremongering? It's pathetic and deadly.

It's been a rough week of training. On Sunday I was scheduled to run 13K, but the gym closed early and we had to cut our workout short. So I ran 8K @ 9K/h and then booked it for 2K @ 14K/h at the end. Tuesday was hills, and that's just rough no matter which way you slice it. And then today, I finally ran the 13K, but had to book it again. I was late getting to the gym because I was wasting time firing off missives to PayPal, and by the time I got there I was so frustrated, that all I wanted to do was run hard. I finished the 13K in 70 mins. I don't think I've ever run that fast for that long.

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