Month: July 2016

Blocked From GoFundMe For Being Poor

Locked Out Of GoFundMe
Not in a good mood. Apparently I am too poor to be allowed to use GoFundMe

At the beginning of July, GoFundMe Ireland took over the administration of all North American GoFundMe fundraising drives. Why this was done was something I did not care about for as long as it did not interfere with my own GoFundMe initiative: to raise awareness about my homeless situation as well as funding to be raised to help me return back to financial self-reliance and sustainability.

I guess it was too much to ask for.

I logged on my GoFundMe account dashboard to post another update, but I was blocked by a prompt asking for a telephone number for two-tier verification checking. Try as I could, I couldn’t get around it. It’s a modal window designed to receive a prompt from the user before allowing access to the frames underneath.

I’m sure you are familiar with this security feature if you use FaceBook or GMail. When enabled by choice, the telephone number you entered in your account information receives a text code sent after you try to log on. Before you can continue with your log on, you must enter that code or you are kicked out. It does not matter if the user ID and password combo is correct.

The feature is supposed to protect you if your user ID is compromised by another person who figured out your password. It’s great on paper, but to me it was never something that was needed for as long as you kept your password to yourself, made it hard to guess (don’t use your birthday for example), and changed it regularly. As I stated above, some services like FaceBook and GMail make it an optional choice. They recommend they use it, but you do not have to so it’s optional.

GoFundMe decided that was not good enough and decided to make it a mandatory feature. By doing so, they effectively killed my initiative which has raised $90 Canadian and ran for nearly a year.

How did this happen?  Let me explain.

For those who follow this blog regularly or at least have watched a few of my GoFundMe updates on YouTube, I had to cancel my mobile phone service because I could not afford to pay it on the scant amount of money I was making doing odd gigs and jobs. Some members of my family hate me for doing that, a few of my friends have complained that it was damned inconvenient for them to use Email to reach me, not to mention dangerous for me to not have one in case of an emergency. I don’t dispute the latter part but it does not dismiss the fact that I did not have the money for it. The money that was freed from maintaining that service went straight to my groceries and transit costs. I don’t regret making that decision, it saved me from a lot of health problems I would have gotten down the road for not eating properly. Anyone who disagrees with that? Well, I hope we can agree to disagree at least and you respect my right to deal with my problems my way, especially if you did not offer to foot the bill for my expenses.

But now I’m stuck at this modal window and I can’t get to my GoFundMe dashboard to post an update. I contact customer support and to their credit they were not only amazingly fast in their reply, they were very friendly in their first response:

Hi there David,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write in today. No worries, I can definitely help you with this!

To verify your account and eventually make a withdrawal, you do need to add a phone number to your account. This is called 2-step authentication and ensures that in the event your email address is compromised, your account and its funds are still secure. This is why we can’t send the code to an email address directly.

Is there a close friend or family member whose number you’d like to use instead? They’ll need to give you the code each time you log in to GoFundMe on a new device. The codes expire in 10-15 minutes so make sure it’s someone you can quickly chat with.

Please let me know how you would like to proceed and I’ll be right here to help!

Maybe this was their standard stock form they used for every reply to a customer inquiry, but it gave me some hope I could ask for an alternative or at least allow me to post a final update to my donors know not to continue to donate through GoFundMe. They said no to the alternative but went with the update, which they did for me:

Thank you for getting back to us, David.

I’m afraid you’ll need to enter this verification code before proceeding, but if you’d like, I can post that update for you!

Just let me know what you’d like to say in the update and I’ll get that added to your campaign right away.

Thanks so much,

Olivia

So the update went through, and this was what I stated, my final update:

Hello all.

You may have noticed I have not been updating my GoFundMe initiative lately. This is because of a new security verification system implemented by GoFundMe that requires the mandatory use of a phone to return a verification code.

For those of you who have been following my situation, I cannot afford a phone, either smartphone or land line. Until I find someone who is local and can be trusted with my verification code of my GoFundMe initiative, I cannot access any part of this page, including posting updates, and accessing the money that has been donated to me.

This ends my GoFundMe initiative. This does not end my quest for finding full time work that will keep me off the streets, and return me to full self-reliance and self-sustainability. This is a serious setback but I will not give up. I won’t go down without a fight.

Please go to my Youtube Channel ‘David Needs A Job!’ and also my job search and homelessness blog at davidalangay.wordpress.com for continuing updates on my efforts.

I thank you for your past support

David Gay

So just like that, my GoFundMe initiative came to a screeching halt. I can’t use that service any more. I can’t even withdraw the money raised. I’m sure that will piss off the donors.

Some people may object to me using the phrase “I was blocked by GoFundMe for being poor”, arguing I was not being disciplined for having no money. The literal may be true but I cannot afford a land line or a mobile, so  I can’t use the GoFundMe services, even though I could before for the past 11 months, and had verified both my personal identity and my bank account information.  I know my user ID and password but I cannot log on due to a process GoFundMe added. I can’t afford to start up a phone service that would help me get around this and for security reasons I won’t ask for someone to access my codes.

That counts as being blocked for being poor.

The very idiocy of GoFundMe’s decision to block me defies the reason why I started the initiative on their service in the first place: I’m not financially self-reliant and self-sufficient enough to afford things without donations.

Such as rent so I don’t become homeless again.

Such as a phone that is now a requirement for using a service that was supposed to help me from not being homeless.

I’m not sure if it is some kind of example of cruel irony or hypocrisy in why GoFundMe exists in the first place, but I want to state I disagree with their decision. It’s a form of discrimination to the economically challenged, and it hurts those who only want to get out of the hole they are in through no fault of their own. Such as myself.

Thanks for reading.

David.

 

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The School’s Out On This One.

BackToSchoolAlready
I received this ad in my Email on July 4th, 2016. Not August 4, bloody damn July!

Times are tough. I’ve explained this enough times to the point of being hoarse, but it’s not just me talking about this. Look at the tons of videos on YouTube from university students lamenting how post-secondary education has become a financial sham, from mature adults enraged about  ageism in hiring, and from activists sounding the alarm about the rise of corporate fascism transcending the authority of elected governments and the rights of individuals.

However, the real “meat and potatoes” clues are hidden in plain sight. Take for example the back-to-school ads.

Back in the day when I was but a lad, these ads came out around the second week of August, before the start of the Canadian National Exposition (CNE). As of this year, if Staples continues this trend, back-to-school promotions will begin before the little brats start their summer holidays!

Why now? Why so damn early?

Let’s get back to what I said before about these being a symptom of why times are tough. Again, when I was a lad, those back-to-school ads came out in August because that’s usually when parents get their kids ready for school. In those days, jobs were more plentiful and the terms “downsizing” and “austerity” were not in everyday conversation. Consumer confidence was also much higher so wallets were easier to open up for knapsacks, clothes, and supplies.

Flash forward to now, and it’s a meaner, leaner, and more worrisome time. It’s an employer’s market now, people are VERY frightened about the increased chance of losing their jobs, and that fear is translating into more conservative spending habits. More staycations. More budgeting. This new consumer market can be a real challenge for businesses selling products and services, and clearly the cuts to retail prices isn’t luring consumers in, so what-to-do?

Simple. Start the promotions earlier and run them longer. Businesses have to do this. It’s not going to be as easy to milk the back-to-school crowd these days so they have to work harder, longer, and yes, sadly, more in our faces.

This is why you are seeing back-to-school ads the moment people are heading to the cottage, the same reason why we now see Christmas ad promotions two weeks before Halloween (as opposed to the previous date of November 1st when I was a little tyke).

We may try our best to ignore these early ads, but never ignore the reason WHY they are happening in the first place.

As I said, times are tough and people need to realize this.

Thanks for reading!

David.