Saturday, March 15, 2008

Is Elmo a Con Artist?

Earlier this afternoon, I was walking down 6th Avenue in Manhattan when I encountered...Elmo. Yeah, the little red guy from Sesame Street. Except I'm pretty sure that it wasn't the real Elmo, because he was about my height, and I've frankly always thought of Elmo as a knee-high kind of guy.

Elmo was holding a Christmas stocking--red velvet with gold trim, and very out of season for the edge-of-spring weather. He shook the Christmas stocking as passersby and many of them gave their children money to drop into Elmo's Christmas stocking.

Elmo didn't speak, of course, but he kind of danced around and acted happy when children put money in his stocking, and he motioned people over and gestured to the stocking to encourage them to donate.

Here's the thing that was bugging me: Donate to WHAT?

Now, it's entirely possible that the fake Elmo was collecting for charity, but if that were the case, wouldn't it make sense for there to be a booth or a banner or a sign or a human volunteer or even a SASH to let you know what the charity was?

Nope. Not a sign of any such thing. Just a guy (or girl, maybe) in an Elmo costume shaking a Christmas stocking on the street, and a bunch of people filling it up with money.

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