Where’s the free water?

Life for all of us has changed drastically since last Wednesday. Somehow in the wake of all the death, tears and devastation, sports don’t seem to matter…for now.

Yes, Auburn is still the dirtiest program in America, but even the filth from two decades of perfected cheating in Lee County pales in comparison to the mountains of rubble in city, after city, after Alabama city.

I’ve been fortunate enough to help on two relief efforts since last week and look forward to more this week and in the near future. But a question has haunted me every time I make my way onto a work site where supplies are stockpiled for those desperate for resources.

Where’s the free water?

Or the free flashlights? Or the free food, clothing and other supplies?

Now before you shoot me down, I’m not talking about those who bring it. Countless individuals are digging deep into their pockets to donate whatever is needed to help their fellow man make it through another day.

What I’m talking about are those who are selling it. Maybe there are some out there, but I’ve yet to find a store in our region making water available free of charge to the victims of this tragedy. But they’ll be happy to sell it to you by the caseload. And friend, they’re selling a lot of it.

Today Charlie Sheen made his way to Tuscaloosa for a surprise visit, a very big gesture by a very big name. The story leaked that he went to a local K-mart and bought a ton of flashlights, paying the $324.07 bill with his personal VISA.

My question: Why are these items for sale down there? Why isn’t K-Mart corporate donating these and other useful survivor-esque items en masse to those organizing efforts in the region, even just for right now? Why does it take a millionaire…or dozens of po’folks like me…to foot the bill?

Heck, I’ll go even further. Forget free. I’ve yet to see a store selling needed items (water, toiletries, hygiene items, baby wipes, diapers and non-perishable food items) for even a discounted price. Yet these items show up on the scene free of charge to those who need it…as they should. I just wonder why the consumers in this region aren’t being met half way.

Now look, I understand economics, and nobody really gets a free lunch. And I also know that I’m not omnipresent…I’m sure there are some store owners somewhere footing the bill so that good can be done.

But are you telling me someone can’t set up a non-profit foundation, even as a facade, where these corporations can donate what they’re requiring us to buy? Can somebody get Chet Williams on the phone?

Small, individual mom and pop places don’t have levity to make a large-scale impact. But could Wal-Mart? Could Target? Could Publix or Winn Dixie? Could Coca-Cola or Pepsi?

I am more than happy to lay down what God has blessed me with to help those who need to feel His touch right now. So if you think this is a complaint about having to sacrifice on my own, you’ve missed the point.

Simply put, there’s just a lot of profit being made from these basic necessities being shipped in by the semi-truck load to these regions…trucks that keep a’comin’ because stores can’t keep what they are hauling on the shelves.

And while some on one side of this tragedy are desperately trying to recover what’s left of their homes, it just seems like others on the opposite side of the spectrum are posturing to build bigger ones.

Am I against capitalism? Absolutely not. But every time I buy a case of water or other items to donate, I just have to wonder who I’m making richer at the expense of good hearted people trying to help.

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Add Yours
  1. 1
    I disagree

    There is plenty of water at nearly all of the disaster sites due to the charitable contributions of individuals and companies, but you are unhappy because stores are not giving the stuff away?

    I know you are not against capitalism, but every store is not simply sitting there with a million dollars in the bank while giggling at your misfortune of having to drink free water given to you by someone else.

  2. 2

    After katrina, I evacuated to try and find water. I had to drive about 50 minutes in land from the Ms. Gulf Coast.
    There was one store open. and the little old lady who ran the country store had opened up after hours to help out. she was selling gas for $1 a gallon, which was less than half the cost anywhere else. As it was almost my turn to get gas the local sherrif’s deputies came and told her she had to close down. She refused. After I filled up to head back I went into the store to buy water. I asked for 10 cases and grabbed some Potato chips and other food stuffs. When I started to pay the old lady asked where I was from, (I suppose she saw my Harrison County tag.) I said “Gulfport” She just starting bagging up my stuff and asked if I needed help loading the water. I said I would be fine. I asked her what was the total….. And she said “Son, your money is no good here”.
    As I recall the old country store looked just that…. old. It looked more like a shack than a store. And it was indicative that the old lady wasnt rich. At least not in money.
    But in Character, that old lady was wealthy beyond measure.

  3. 3

    And to I disagree. Someday I hope that you dont have to see your family, friends and neighbors weeping, hungry, thirsty and wondering where they can use the bathroom. It is quite humbling.

  4. 4

    Amen, almighty. And my point isn’t that individuals shouldn’t pitch in and donate their resources to help. That’s not my point at all.

    I just see stacks of water being bought every time I go to the grocery store, Wal-Mart, Target, Publix or anywhere else, and it’s just curious to me as I see it all ringing up. This is the worst natural disaster on our soil since Katrina. You’d just think we’d be met half way.

  5. 5

    I get ITK’s point. It does seem like regular working people are footing the bill for the RELIEF, while billion dollar companies are profiting off of their generosity. All ITK is saying is maybe these corporations could give these generous souls a break…. The other side of this is we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, and corporations can’t just decide to give millions when they have stockholders to answer to. It takes a little longer to get that ball rolling…

  6. 6
    I disagree

    By the way, I am one of those giving of my time and money.

    It does not mean I am going to slam many of the stores who have given thousands of their profits (Wal Mart $1,000,000 for one example of many) because they are not operating as I think they should.

    Whatever almighty1 you dont know me.

  7. 7

    Disagree, I haven’t seen that about Wal-Mart. Do you have a link?

    And as I said in my article, I’m not omnipresent, so I assume there are exceptions. But go to Wal-Mart, K-mart or any grocery store in Tuscaloosa, mere feet from the core of the disaster and tell them you need to take supplies off their shelves to help people but don’t have any money and see the response you get.

    Look, I get economics. And PhlystheMoon got what I’m trying to say. The whole thing is just intriguing to me.

  8. 9

    I agree with this post ITK, and it’s refreshing to see that even in the wake of tragedy, you are still able to spew BS on the other school. Hey, thats cool…..anything to try to put out a lighter feeling, and to temporarily try to help people eacape from this hell. I just thought that after all the finger pointing and religion mocking that you have spewed the last few weeks, the storms would have at least made you pull back a little. Guess I was wrong, but again, we all will answer to God someday, with or without the trademark.

  9. 10

    It wasn’t religion mocking, it was mocking Auburn and the hypocritical use of religion in trying to promote their football program with it.

  10. 11

    Thats my point Brandy. If thats what you say it is, well then fine. Just because you hate a school, saying that they use religion to recruit is awful. But hey, this is the Bible Belt isnt it. Attacking a fan base based on what you perceive as a “cult” is just damn laughable after seeing the tasteless comments and copyright and trademark posts on here. Oh well, what can we do… again, I guess we will just have to see what the Almighty has in store for us. Relax Tmc, I’m not talking about you :).

  11. 12

    Are you kidding… why bring up Auburn in every post…. This just makes bama look bad…

  12. 13

    There are a lot of Auburn ppl helping in Tuscaloosa, and that’s a great thing. However, there are some Auburn ppl who have slung unnecessary trash about T-Town as well. That’s fine, Alabama fans sling trash about Lee County. However, there are fewer Bama fans who quote the Bible afterwards. If this is unwarranted of me, so are the typical remarks by Auburn fans like, “Harvey is a typical Bama fan,” “Most Bama fans this, most Bama fans that.” get over it. God Bless those Auburn fans who are not in the mainstream of their fanbase who are helping out and walking the walk, not just talking the talk

  13. 15

    Rc, exactly. Which is why I say to write column after column degrading a fanbase based on religion is pathetic. Some people need to, in your own words, “get over it.”

  14. 16

    Like you really get over anything FBJ. If Auburns fanbase is based on religion, then you must be the Pope of Auburn. Auburn fans like you acting holier than thou and claiming god is behind Auburn are pathetic.

    That being said, not all Auburn fans are like FBJ, Hoopie, and the other cult trolls that frequent here. I know some that are really good people, and this type of stuff from ignorant Auburn fans is embarrassing to them.

  15. 17

    I agree with this article. And why not? When i do fundreaisers the majority of the money comes from small businesses. The bigger ones are always the first to tell you that they “already give money to this charity or that one” It makes you scratch your head.
    I understand the concept of the tax write off. Right about now, The Walmarts and Kmarts (and especially Targets) have pet charitys and that is were there money goes always figured down to the peeny to get the most in a tax write off. But Jesus Christ. they have been making money in these communities for years. Would it be too much to ask them to give a few truckloads of water and supplies back?
    To hell with saving the spotted owl and the great Alaskan wilderness, Cant we give Bubba down the street who just lost his family a break and a few cases of water to at least take care of his thirst?
    I agree with ITK wholeheartedly.And why do I feel if Sam was still alive there would be a 100 trucks heading toward disaster areas right now? I guess because the Founder Sam Walton put the communities and Americans first.

  16. 18

    As far as you go Brandy, you are dead wrong. You dont know me…. You want to talk about acting holier than thou you dont have to look any farther than your own backyard, brother. Show me where I EVER said God was behind Auburn. You must have me confused with someone else on here my man. So it seems you just wasted a good few moments of your time writing a baseless posts about something you are dead wrong about. Oh wait… I forgot what blog I was on, as that practice is the norm.

  17. 19

    I wish I could be at the golf thingy. I would LOVE to be able to hold Lord Saban’s balls.

  18. 20

    At this moment, I don’t give a crap about Auburn, their fans, and the stupid trees.
    People in Tuscaloosa, Ohatchee, Rainsville, have bigger issues and needs. Auburn trolls that come to this site come just to have a reason to flame. Ignore them.

  19. 21

    FBJ, it was a passing (but true) comment meant to lighten the mood of a heavy article. Shut the hell up. The NCAA doesn’t give a crap about the storm. You have your own storm brewing to worry about. I’d frame any BCS gear you may have. Will be a collector’s item in the future.

    Almighty, you never disappoint. You always seem to “get it”. I swear you, me, Brando, Alex and Cappy were separated at birth. There is hope for the future.

  20. 22

    Ditto with WhoreEagle.
    I really aint studying auburn right now.
    Thats something for the NCAA and the SEC scope out. And that time will come. In the mean time. Its all about the towns that are hurting.

  21. 23

    BTW, Class is not something you learn at school. You should be learning it at home. We all take shots at each other here and most of it is just good natured fun. But at times like these we all have to back off and realize that are rivalry should be put it its proper place. What would Mama have to say about it right now? I am absolutely disheartend/depressed that I cannot be there to help out. I have sent money home and asked for folks to get necessities to places where they can help. But at this moment, I wish I could be there with my people.

  22. 24
    Indiana Vol

    “As I recall the old country store looked just that…. old. It looked more like a shack than a store. And it was indicative that the old lady wasnt rich. At least not in money.
    But in Character, that old lady was wealthy beyond measure.”

    It is the special souls like this lady who never get the recognition they deserve for helping others!

    I continue prayers and sympathy for those affected by last week’s storms. I can remember April 1974, but last weeks storms looked much, much worse!

  23. 25

    ITK, you shut the hell up. Now we are even. Damn that was easy. I’m just saying you write post after post and cartoons galore that make a mockery of religion. Now maybe you do it just to push the envelope, and get a rile out of some and yeah, seems it’s mainly me. However, I am inclined to believe you are actually a good person. I’m just voicing my opinion, as I was lead to believe is what you do on blogs. But oh yeah you allow me to be here. Is that how this works? I know I am in hostile territory and that’s what appeals to me. I’m secure with my priorities, and I enjoy keeping up in here. Going to a site where everybody agrees and brushes each others hair does nothing for me. It just seems to me you just can’t handle constructive criticism.

  24. 26
    men vs. women

    men vs. women
    La donna: Voi uomini volete sepre sesso, ma noi donne abbiamo bisognio d’attenzione!

    L’uomo: Attenzione, adesso facciamo sesso

    Woman: you guys always want only sex, while we women need attention
    Man: attention, now we’re gonna have sex

  25. 27

    FBJ, I can handle constructive criticism. It’s just that nothing that comes from you is ever constructive. Just awkward and dumb.

  26. 28

    I haven’t seen any cartoons or articles mocking religion. Unless you count the Auburn cult as a religion, which I do not.

    But yeah, a there have been lot of things making fun of Auburn and their perverse use of religion. It’s not just the fans, it is the entire organization. When Aubie is on the sidelines wearing preacher robes, and holding up signs with ridiculous quotes from Cam “when the devil be messin’, the Lord be blessin'”, you are only bringing the scrutiny on yourselves.

  27. 29

    ITK, the same goes for you. Nothing constructive. Just distasteful cartoons and rampant sacrilege. I was merely pointing it out to you.

  28. 30
    Nicket the Ewok Coach

    ITK is just an idiot, there are plenty of AU fans helping out in this tragedy, although he is too worried about how our football team and coaches relate to God. It is so obvious that it is not any of business nor any other Updyke, just like it isn’t my business how Bama athletes relate to God, but you know ITK is special.

    Grow up retard

  29. 31
    Nicket the Ewok Coach

    By the way if you don’t like religon an the deep south, there are states you can move to like Vermont, California, and Minnesota. There are other options for you ITK, oh I forgot you are a prophet of God and can judge others convictions.

  30. 32

    Nobody is judging anybody. All you have to do read the print and it’s obvious what religion is all about at Awbie every since Scum Butt Newton arrived. Your own words convict you. You’re the ones making fools out of yourselves, not ITK or any other Bama fan who makes light of Awbies Johnny-Come-Lately fascination with religion. Hell, when things cool down a bit it won’t surprise me one bit if some of you Goat Phucking retards claim that Bama’s dissing of Newton’s and Awbies religious foolishness is why God slammed Tuscaloosa with the worst tornado damage in the State. It’s only a matter of time. You know you’re already thinking it. You know you want to say it. Shortly somebody will.

  31. 34

    Nicket, FBJ, it is all about perspective. Sure, the truth stings. Of course you guys wouldn’t find the humor in any of the ridicule of Auburn’s use of religion with Cam and Aubie. Depending on your perspective, the way that Aubie and Cam was used could be considered sacrilegious. Especially in light of his ‘preacher’ dad trying to exploit his son in the name of religion. SO, keep up the good work ITK!

  32. 35
    men vs. women

    How To Get A Life
    It’s never easy to overcome innate nerdity, a serious Internet addiction, or a hard-core computer gaming habit, but trying usually isn’t as painful as kidney stones. Here’s how:
    Let go of the mouse.
    Turn off the computer.
    Play a game of solitaire with a real deck of cards.
    Eat something other than taco chips.
    Fart without recording it and putting it up your Web page.
    Get some sleep in bed rather than on your keyboard.
    Next time you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, don’t tell everyone on your ICQ list about it.
    Open a window without turning your computer back on (yes, it is possible). Very gradually expose your eyes to increasingly bright light so as to avoid damage or permanent sun blindness.
    When you feel prepared for a massive dose of non-CRT radiation, put on welding goggles and go outside.
    If you see someone, say “Hi” to them instead of trying to make the modem connect sound.
    Visit a friend that you haven’t spoken to in years because they don’t have an email address.
    Have “.com” officially removed from behind your name.
    Go on a date with someone you didn’t meet in a chat room.

  33. 36

    Nicket, in one breath you pump religion, in the next you make an off-colored sexual reference to a blow up doll.

    Look up the term Pharisee, friend. You define it well.

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