December 1, 2010

Noise Free America
For immediate release

Ted Rueter
[email protected]

Albany: The Salvation Army has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for their use of Christmas bell-ringers to create constant noise. The Salvation Army’s incessant “ring-a-ling ring-a-ling” causes headaches and stress to millions of Americans during the Christmas season.

A member of Noise Free America recently sent the following letter to The Salvation Army:

As a child I loved getting spare change from my parents to drop into the Salvation Army’s red kettles. Giving to the poor through the Salvation Army was just part of Christmas to me. I felt a sense of happiness at being able to help others.

Now when I see your red kettles I don’t feel so happy. I still believe in giving to those in need, however, I no longer drop any money into the Salvation Army kettles. The reason: Because of the ridiculously loud bells that the donation workers ring incessantly. I estimate some of your bells ring in at nearly 100 decibels.

I’ve also begun to avoid stores that allow the Salvation Army to set up outside their entrances. I simply cannot endure the noise any longer. Without meaning to do so, your organization makes the holiday season miserable for many shoppers.

Assaulting people’s ears as they try to get in and out of stores does not put them in the giving spirit. Your audio assault makes me want to run away or steer clear of stores where you’re located altogether.

Over the years your bell ringing went from the quaint little jingle of sleigh bells to a gong of a bell that sounds like it belongs on a fire house! Not only are the bells now huge and excessively loud, your workers ring the bells as vigorously as possible in hopes of grabbing peoples’ attention.

Maybe no one at your organization has ever thought about it, but the noise probably deters a lot of people from giving. I know it deters me from giving. All I want to do is get away from your kettle workers as soon as I humanly can to escape the outrageous assault on my ears.

I was at a WalMart store today and all I could hear was the obnoxiously loud Salvation Army bell of your kettle ringer cutting through the air. It gave me a headache. I did not donate.

Everyone who was coming and going as I went into the store rushed right past the bell ringer. Several gave her a harsh look. A toddler being pushed in a shopping cart by his mother plugged his fingers in his ears. I wonder how many of those people would have slowed down and dropped something in the kettle had their ears not been assaulted by that unnecessary bell? People see your volunteers and your kettle. They do not need a gong to get their attention. Those who are not going to give are not swayed to do so after their ears are attacked by your bell. Those who are inclined to give are driven away by the noise.

In your quest to do good, please be charitable and turn down the volume. The millions of people whose ears are assaulted by your bell ringers would really appreciate it and I strongly suspect your donations will go up.

Noise Free America’s director, Ted Rueter, commented that “The Salvation Army uses noise as a means of attracting attention. Their constant noise makes shopping a miserable experience for millions of Americans. Christmas is about peace and quiet, not constant noise. The Salvation Army should find quieter methods of raising money for their worthy cause. I’m sure they would raise much more money by quieting down.”

Noise Free America is a national citizens organization devoted to opposing noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the Wisconsin state legislature, the National Rifle Association, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.