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Love Notes ~ Burning money

Posted on April 2, 2014 by Maple Creek

If somebody dared you to burn $5,000, would you do it?

Ninety-nine per cent of us probably wouldn’t, but big radio stations apparently aren’t like us. Because that’s exactly what Calgary’s Amp Radio did when they were challenged to set five grand on fire.

The stunt was all part of a contest that asked listeners to vote on whether to “bank or burn” the money – that is raffle off the cash or incinerate it. They called it the ultimate social experiment. All listeners who voted were entered into a draw for the $5,000. If “bank” was the prevailing vote, one name would be drawn to get the money. If “burn” was voted by the majority, the cash would go up in smoke.

When more people voted to see it set on fire, Amp Radio followed through with their promise.

I liken the radio station’s actions to that of a 10-year-old being dared by his friends to lick a chain link fence in the middle of winter. They keep pushing him to do it because no one actually thinks he will. Then when he does, Timmy is the one who gets flak for being stupid enough to actually follow through.

None of the people who challenged Amp Radio to lick the fence likely expected they would do it. Now the station is the one getting reamed out for it.

It was Amp Radio’s call to make, but I can’t blame the overwhelming number of people who were appalled by the waste.

If you’re not going to let one person have the cash, at least give it to a worthwhile cause. But all too often it seems people would rather burn their money on senseless things than do good with it.

It’s a little ironic that this happened in the province that is reported to have the most generous people. According to the Fraser Institute, Albertans give the most money to charity.

The Calgary radio station’s decision to follow through on their pointless promise annoyed me because it was the most useless form of self-promotion.

Call me frugal, but I’m the kind of person who thinks not only twice, but about half a dozen times before spending a lot of money on something. I also think it’s important for everyone to invest in charities that mean something to them.

So to literally burn a huge stack of bills that could have been wisely spent on any number of humanitarian projects or programs all in the name of fun and games makes me shake my head. How many meals could that have meant for a homeless shelter? How many new jerseys could that have bought a minor hockey team? How many chickens or goats could that have bought families in developing countries?

Wouldn’t that be a better way for a company to promote themselves – showing how it invests in the lives of people both at home and abroad?

Sure, companies dish out the equivalent amount or more on ad campaigns all the time, but at least that money goes towards paying wages and doesn’t just go up in smoke.

It’s a sad state we’ve reached if watching money burn is supposed to be entertaining.

But it looks like the shock that the station caused by actually sticking to their promise has caused viewers to change their minds. Last week 91 per cent of responders voted in favour of giving $10,000 to one lucky winner. Amp Radio will then donate another $10,000 to the Children’ Miracle Network.

The question is whether this one good deed will outweigh the bad enough to win back the many viewers disgusted by their actions.

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