Alejandro Rodrigues

A pretty good example of how most high school teenagers manage their finances.

By Alejandro Rodrigues, Staff Writer

As hard as it may seem to everyone, I don’t live a lavish life. My three pairs of jeans and tattered three year old tees may be an example to relate to, but another, more recent detrimental example has stumbled into my life. An experience so shattering, heartbreaking and life changing that I have reduced to gracious begging on the internet for money.

Anyone who has been on the internet for more than two hours at a time  has probably heard of the website GoFundMe. GoFundMe is a place where people with reasonable needs unable to make ends meet can write a short blurb, post a video, and start a campaign requesting that you donate to their cause. You can see the page strewn with cancer survivors unable to pay for the last few fights to remission, burnt homes and families trying to get on their feet, spouses unable to pay for burial services for their loved ones.

Amidst all of the expensive and devastating tragedies that litter the website, all of which leave your finger quivering to donate something, anything to help that poor family, exists my sole inability to pay $20 to fix my laptop keyboard.

As horrible a person as I may be, asking for money while the picture of a dying, pained child is plastered and held in the same merit right next to my request for $20, I do point out that it’s not a pressing issue. However, I can’t complete schoolwork on my laptop due to the ‘Tab’ and ‘A’ key being missing. My name is Alejandro, so you can see the problem. It’s sad to believe they’re gone and that so little a problem affects my ability to complete work.

I am not the only person to start a campaign with the intention of simply receiving aid on a non pressing issue. On GoFundMe is a little tab labeled “Hopes & Dreams”, and when you click it you’ll be greeted with smiling faces of people requesting donations to fund their trip to Disney World and to pay off their student loan debt. This pushes the matter even more that you can create any campaign for any cause, you just need to get somebody interested enough to help you. On similar websites such as Kickstarter and Patreon you can even fund businesses, inventors, and online content creators.

In fact, there was once a lone request for support on Kickstarter requesting support to make potato salad by Zack Brown back in 2014. The request was simple, maybe even a joke, but a few dollars to offset the cost of making his first ever potato salad. The risks were “It might not be that good. It’s my first potato salad.” and the rewards for donating large amounts of money were receiving a bite of the meal, a hat, t-shirt, getting to put in some ingredients, a photo, and even kitchen access while it was being prepared. All of these rewards available for a few measly dollars.

CD 102.5
A photo of Zach Brown at Potatofest, a potato salad festival hosted in Columbus, Ohio that used the $55,000 raised on Zach’s Kickstarter page. (Photo released by CD 102.5)

Surprisingly, it got way more than its requested $10, exactly $55, 492 were funded so a gentleman in Columbus, OH could make a bowl of potato salad. This story of community over potato salad struck mainstream media in 2014 and Zack was quick to turn the funding page into paid parties for his potato salad. He invited everyone who had donated from around the world to come to Ohio and partake in the event, even covering flight costs for one of his biggest donors.

If you’re like me you’re asking yourself,”What’s the trade-off?” and the answer is simply that there is none. There were people around the world who wholly believed in Zack’s potato salad campaign, maybe not as a business proposal or an emergency fund, but as a joke; a joke which raised over $55,000 dollars. It shows the world as an example of a community that can band together no matter the cause.

Now that my campaign hasn’t gained any traction towards fixing my laptop, I think I’ll start another campaign. Perhaps to fund my college tuition or fix my vehicle. We can all see the world as a resource to count on, for potato salad and much, much more.