This week I saw my first Salvation Army bell ringer of the season. I won't even get into why they are out already a week before Thanksgiving but at least she wasn't one of those "dressed as a Santa" bell ringers. Nor was she accompanied by a euphonium player as so many of them are (I guess this is should be considered the busy season in the euphonium trade - where else do you see them play?). In fact she was wearing a standard Salvation Army uniform. She was standing next to the kettle with her bell in her left armpit as she had an iphone in her left hand and was tapping keys with the fingers on her right hand.
I immediately thought that she must have a Salvation Army iphone app. At least it might be an iphone app that gives instructions on how to ring the bell with the proper Salvation Army procedure (left/right vs. up/down, short rings vs. long, etc). I temporarily thought that maybe, just maybe, my New Yorker cynicism was getting a little over the top.
Then I visited the app store and found not one but two Salvation Army Apps! One was free and was the actual ringing of the bell as you shake the phone. They had 12 different bell sounds as part of it. The second cost $2.99 and played Salvation Army Christmas carols on the iphone. I wonder if it simulated the sound of the euphonium. Unfortunately, my budget for this quest for useless knowledge would be exceed if I bought the $2.99 app so I'll never know.
I do now have an increased respect for the Salvation Army for trying a little different fund raising approaches in this difficult economy. I'll probably toss a few extra bucks in the kettle but will probably wait until I see one with a real euphonium player with a real bell ringer or two. Of course if there was a whole bell chorus playing iphone bells that would warrant consideration too!