We have already discussed at great length, here at WWPD, the overlap between Hurricane Sandy and YPIS. More specifically, the almost instinctive response of right-thinking people inconvenienced (in some cases arguably more than inconvenienced) by the storm, to express gratitude. Otherwise, particularly if your woe involves an Apple product not functioning, you come across as clueless. If you're alive, if your loved ones are alive, and if there's a roof over your head, it could be worse. Whether this is supposed to make you feel better when commuting using trains whose "schedule" changes day-to-day, that stop existing entirely, that connect to shuttle-buses still on a schedule assuming the pre-Sandy train schedule, is another story. (Maybe slightly? I do feel lucky to be on the Northeast Corridor line. If you commute in from somewhere in NJ not on the way to Trenton, you've been pretty much screwed.)
The latest mini-controversy related to complaining and the storm relates to the recent cancellation of the Princeton Half-Marathon. Now, if anything would seem to merit "first-world problems," it would be something like "the Princeton Half-Marathon was cancelled." And the most I've ever run consecutively in my life was maybe nine miles, and that was in college, so this did not, needless to say, impact me personally. When I first saw that this event had been cancelled, I believe it was before the NYC Marathon had been, and I thought, well done, Princeton Half-Marathon, in acknowledging that our region's a big ol' mess.
But then there's this little detail: “'As the 2012 event was cancelled due to conditions beyond our control, registration fees will not be refunded and will be treated as tax-deductible contributions to support HiTOPS’ vital programs and services for youth and their families.'” This from what Planet Princeton reports was the email sent to the would-be runners.
What the email apparently didn't say, but what does seem relevant, is that runners evidently signed some small-print about how if the event was cancelled for a reason such as this, they wouldn't get their money back. Which solves (?) the legal question, but perhaps not the ethical one. Those who sign up to run a race would presumably not do so if they altogether opposed the cause it benefitted, but it's a fair guess that most were interested in running 13.1 miles competitively, not in this particular charity. If they were simply choosing where to donate, it seems unlikely all or most would have gone with this. From what I can tell from the Planet Princeton Facebook coverage, runners don't especially want their money back, more to have that option. One, however, won't have it:
Amazing to me that any of you would complain about donating the money to this horrible catastrophe. Who cares whether it was done the right way or wrong way, just care that it is going to the right place. Complain about something else!!