Your Crowdfunding Action Reporter

Wondering whatever happened to the Kickstarter campaign to fund your cousin’s avant-garde film about left-handed mimes?  Unsatisfied with the t-shirt you got for sending $50 to the Ice Skating for the Homeless Foundation? The Crowdfunding Action Reporter is here to help!


Dear Crowdfunding Action Reporter–

A couple months ago this girl I went to high school with–I’ll call her “Valerie” because if I used her real name “Vicki” my classmates would know who I’m talking about–asked me to contribute to her “Kinda Care” campaign to get a tonsil transplant.  She said she would die without a new tonsil, so I gave $50.  My husband who is less “gullible” than me said that was a trick, everybody’s going to die whether they get a new tonsil or not.  He also informed me that people are born with two tonsils so even if one failed she’d be okay.  For awhile.

Anyway, I was out to the mall last week and saw “Valerie” picking through the swimsuit bin and asked her how her new tonsil is working out, and her boyfriend Duane (note to classmates: not Duane Studemayer) starts laughing and says “What kind of goober would believe a cock and bull story about a tonsil transplant?”  I guess when they are removed that’s it, technically you can do without them.

So Valerie says “Sorry, Nae Ann, I thought to you knew it was a ‘spoof’ on ‘crowdfunding,’” and at that point she made those little “air quotes” so it became clear to me that the whole thing was a scam.  Do I have any recourse against “Valerie” or my “internet services provider” for my losses?

Nae Ann Hoxmeyr, Bull Shoals City, Arkansas

“I want to return this swimsuit, the de-wedgieficator doesn’t work.”

Dear Nae Ann–

I’m sorry, but lying to the public by unlicensed amateurs such as “Valerie” is protected by the First Amendment of the American Constitution, so you are pretty much out of luck.  What you might do is leave some crappie or other fresh-water fish under Valerie’s mobile home so that they stink up the place so bad she can’t sell it when she moves on to avoid jail time for her next flim-flam scheme.

Comes in 18 different colors, all visible to the naked eye!



Dear Crowdfunding Action Reporter–

I have gotten to know this guy “Greg” on social media, he is always on Facebook and “likes” my posts which doesn’t happen to me that often, so I figured what the hell, he was okay as a perfect stranger who lives thousands of miles away who I would never meet in person to become friends with.

Greg is now on his third on-line fundraiser, first he said his kid needed braces, then his boss put him on straight commission, now he’s after me to give so he can take guitar lessons.

Greg is real “liberal” in his opinions on-line so I know I’m not going to get very far complaining to the government about him.  My question is, when is it going to be “my turn” for him to cough up some dough for me?  We either need to waterproof our basement or get a sump pump, and I would like to know that Greg will “be there” for me when the time comes.

Thanks in advance,

LLLoyd (yes that’s not a typo) Magnini, Plaistow, New Hampshire.


Dear LLLoyd (and isn’t that a unique name!)–

I am afraid you have been the victim of on-line crowdfunding abuse, which is increasing dramatically as our social lives become more and more concentrated on the little screens we pretend to be working at while we’re actually goofing off.

I would recommend that you spend time away from your computer whenever possible so that you will meet someone nice who will abuse you in-person, thereby avoiding the need to purchase expensive equipment such as “modems” and “laptops.”


Dear Crowdfunding Action Reporter–

I have been a long-time supporter of a little art gallery/coffee shop/craft studio around the block from where I live.  They add so much to the cultural cachet of our neighborhood, which is an up-and-coming area that has so far been able to resist the depredations of gentrifying yuppies.

So I donated $10 to them and they hit their goal but all I got was a crummy refrigerator magnet in bright red, which looks like something you’d get at a political convention or the opening of a new car dealership.  When I asked if I could exchange it for the quarter-zip fleece pullover in women’s size M, teal, they said I would need to give them another $190!

“Save the needlepoint turtles!”

I didn’t save the flyer from the promotion because I’m a dedicated recycler, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t even have a $200 “platinum-level” donor category.  Is there some kind of registry that keeps track of crowdfunding offers to prevent the public from being defrauded?  If they have a toll-free number I am willing to call them directly, you don’t have to.

Thanks for your help,

Leslye Yu, Cambridge, Mass.


Dear Leslye–

Unfortunately, the Crowdfunding Swag Hot-Line of the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. confirms that Gallery 373 complied with all disclosure requirements applicable to the denial of women’s fleece pullovers in their “Keep Cambridge Strange!” campaign, and as a result you may not “upgrade” to the next giving level for nothing.  You may, however, exchange your bright red refrigerator magnet for one in bright blue, which will look as cheap as you when you write one of your big $10 checks.

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”

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