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Random poll time, friends!

If you're shopping and a cashier asks you to add some amount to your bill to support some cause, do you do it?

No because I do not give to any charities
No because I do not give to store charities
Mostly no, but I've done it if the cause is really right
About half the time yes
Most of the time yes
Almost all the time yes

I've written before about how I've been trying to give more and more to charities but I have kind of a hangup about stores asking me for charity money, and I'm wondering if I'm in the norm.

Part of me feels like my donations are carefully researched, planned, automated, and documented for taxes, so this spur of the moment "well how about something else just today!" doesn't fit with my plan.

Another part of me just hates cashiers asking me more and more questions when I'm trying to get the hell out of a store. Time is precious. Giving to their charities would be like supporting the idea of them asking me more questions. You know how it is... you're buying, like, a hammer, and they want to know if you want a warranty on the hammer (no) do you want a preferred customer card so you can earn points with the purchase of this hammer so if you by 800 hammers you get a free on (no), what's your zip code, what's your phone number (no), can you take this survey about us, do you want to help retired hammers find their homes? 20 minutes later, you're running for the door.

BUT since I support giving and generosity in general, and these store fundraisers are helping good causes, should I cave a bit if I know about the cause? Like, somewhere, some kid just got a college scholarship because taco bell asked drive through people to round up their bills. S/he is thrilled that their fundraising drive exists. Am I being a jerk to that kid because I have this philosophical soapbox against cashiers asking me for money? It's a way to get more money to help people, who am I to quibble about the means? It's a way to get money from people who, unlike me, don't think about charity until they're confronted by a special case and asked specifically to give, should I support the outreach methods that work best for them?

I just read this rant by somebody, I think a whole foods employee, who was amazed at people who spend $120 every three days on groceries who won't add 10 freaking cents to their bills, he was like what cheap assholes. Responses were very mixed. I could see it either way. I still kinda want to say no, though.


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( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 8th, 2016 07:30 pm (UTC)
I always feel kind of annoyed and manipulated and usually say no, but often it is an organization I have mixed feelings about. Now and then it is one I want to support so I'll give $1.
May. 8th, 2016 07:35 pm (UTC)
No no no no. #1 I do not want my grocery store spending time and money to donate my money. Thanks, I'll take care of that myself. and #2 what you said... I'm not there to chat or defend my mores. Just ring me up and let me out.

THE only exception is the McDonald's drive through. #1 I trust McDonald's charities (Ronald McDonald House) and #2... When the cashier hands me my change, it is FAR easier to plop the coins in the container than it is to - at the same time - put the money in my purse, and drive the next window. Safety first when I'm getting fast food :)

And they don't make me chat.

And now I have Yet Another Reason Not To Shop At Whole Foods. Thanks.
May. 8th, 2016 08:44 pm (UTC)
I hate it and I say 'no', or pretend I don't understand the Romanian when it happens here. But I'm also an evil curmudgeon who hates the United Way and the CFC (Combined Federal Campaign, a charity drive at work) and Race for the [insert your cause here].

The thing is that we DO give to charity. But we make our charitable giving decisions twice a year, and stick to them. We have several causes/charities that we feel strongly about (Heifer Int'l, Abortion Access funds, a local charity that supports music programs in the schools, and GoBabyGo) and we give directly to those places, either through paycheck contributions or other contributions like Smile.Amazon.com.

This year, we've pulled all our support from those groups and are giving all our charitable donations to an organization that helps support Syrian refugees on Lesbos. So anytime I'm asked, I get pissed off because it's almost always something that I feel is far less crucial than say, three year olds not freezing to death in Greece.
May. 8th, 2016 08:45 pm (UTC)
There are some stores that try to show their connection to the community by making your donations go to local charities, and sometimes I should do this.

I live in a place where the town charges you like ten cents for using plastic bags instead of using bags that you have brought. This encourages people to bring their own. Some stores give you a bag credit for bringing your own bag, and you can donate that five or ten cents to a local charity.
May. 8th, 2016 09:14 pm (UTC)
I tell them to give me the name of the organization and I will look them up on Google and decide, for myself, if they're a charity I support.

Exceptions: I *always* buy a ticket to give money to CityHarvest. And if I'm with a young child, unless the charity is abysmal, I *always* give them coins to put into charity boxes. It helps build the pincer grip, and it keeps them busy.
May. 8th, 2016 10:00 pm (UTC)
I do it every time because the only local store (that I go to) does this and it's the community-owned natural health food co-op to which I bought a membership in 1989. They usually don't even have to finish the question or tell me the name of the charity.

Now if I got asked this at Target or something? Some chain store whose books I don't have 100% absolute confidence in? NOPE.
May. 8th, 2016 10:25 pm (UTC)
My local co-op will sometimes have a "round-up your total to an even dollar" for the local Aids foundation, which I do because I trust them that the money will go where they say it is going. Sometimes they also have food drives for the local food shelves, and I try to always pickup an extra can or two of some staple food to drop off in the bin on my way out.

But Target execs getting the tax write-off from all their customer's donations? No thank you. If your company wants to look good while getting a nice tax write-off, do it with your own money. Plus I've heard of big chain stores that brag about how they are asking customers for an extra dollar etc because they've "pledged to donate up to $250,000 dollars!!" of customer donations to some charity, only to find out later that they met that goal within the first week and kept running the scam for a month or more and pocketing the rest. That is NOT charity, that's a scam.
May. 8th, 2016 11:16 pm (UTC)
I often round up, but not always, and like [Unknown LJ tag], my friend who posted about this and inspired me to pop by with my unsolicited .02, it's nearly always to the local coop's local charities.
However, I wait to find out about the charity, because I give zero fucks if anyone around doesn't like the idea that I won't donate to Susan G. Komen, for example, or to a faith-based charity, no matter the cause they are pimping that month.

PS.. donations less than $25 can be written off without a receipt so I don't feel bad about plopping those various places on my tax refund, if I've dropped some jingle more than a few times.
May. 8th, 2016 11:32 pm (UTC)
I get annoyed by it too. I give to charities around town, so I'm already donating other places. If I donated to every charity at every store I visit in a week, that's a lot of extra money, even if it only seems like a little at one store.

The only one I always do is at a local supermarket, which gives out tokens if you use canvas bags for your purchases, and then you choose a charity to give the tokens to. Once a month, the local charity with the most tokens gets a big monetary donation, and the employees will do volunteer work there. Since I actually see them at charities I support, I'll usually kick in a little extra if they ask.
May. 9th, 2016 02:09 am (UTC)
I'll choose my own charities, thank you, and how dare you (the store/cashier) try to embarrass me into choosing YOUR charity.

(But I will sometimes contribute to my friends' charities when they're doing a walk-a-thon or whatever, and I will slip a dollar into the Broadway Cares bucket sometimes.)

Edited at 2016-05-09 02:10 am (UTC)
May. 9th, 2016 03:09 pm (UTC)
Why is it embarrassing? And why "how dare they?" They dare, because they have to ask it in order to keep their jobs.
May. 9th, 2016 04:44 pm (UTC)
Well yes, the cashiers are forced to ask. I mean How "dare whoever made them ask it." I am not embarrassed to say no, but I think they're counting on a lot of people being embarrassed to say no, or made to feel cheap or uncharitable if they say no.
May. 9th, 2016 02:25 am (UTC)
I almost always say no, except in a couple cases:

The grocery store doesn't ask me, they have these tickets you can take and they'll just ring 'em up if you want to, sometimes I'll do that. Sometimes there are local kids bagging groceries, they never ask for money but they generally have a table you can go find out more and give money if you want. If I have time and it's something I'm interested in, I'll go over.

The pet store always asks, but they don't do a billion questions, just that one, and I'm prepared for it. They don't push or anything, just move on if you say not today. It goes to one of the local no-kill shelters, I probably do that about half the time.
May. 9th, 2016 03:35 am (UTC)
In my household we have a policy of saying 'no' to foot in the door situations. This includes door to door charity collectors and shop charities (unless I know about them and have decided to donate before entering the shop).

I'd always had a hard time putting the policy into words when there are people on my doorstep asking for money though but this post has helped me to do that. So I'm writing my ideas here in case they're helpful to someone else.

Charity subscription collectors often say something like this:
If everyone agreed to give just $someSmallAmount today we could do $amazingThings!
and I could say this:
If I promised to give $20 a month to every charity that asked me I would end up with no money myself and I and my husband and children would become a burden to some of the very charities I was previously trying to help. Therefore I and my husband must steward our money wisely, budget how much we can afford to give and decide which charities have the highest priority for us. The appropriate time to make such decisions is not, however, when there are proponents of one charity standing in the doorway. It is important to periodically re-evaluate such things and it may appease you to learn that you have triggered a re-evaluation and that your charity will be among those discussed when we decide on our priorities. I am aware that this is not the response you were hoping for but it's the only answer you're going to get from me today.

Although I've realised that asking them questions which so that they themselves come to the conclusion that choosing how much and which charity to donate to is a decision not best made at the doorstep, then they can't fault you for making the same decision.
May. 9th, 2016 03:58 am (UTC)
Great question, for me it's always a time thing, not a not-wanting-to-help thing. I don't want to encourage more questions, at all. One store I shop at gives a token for each re-usable bag a customer brings, then the tokens can be easily placed in a variety of boxes on the way out. Each box has the name of a charity. Ba-da-bing, drop and done. If they all did something like that it would be really cool.
May. 9th, 2016 05:06 am (UTC)
That makes me upset. They are putting you on the spot, and in this small town, the people around you (next person in line, bagger, whoever) get to see you as being uncharitable and uncivic-minded. I do give to charities, and if they just had a jar instead of asking about it, I'd actually be more apt to put my change into it.

It's like the 'fill the boot' thing; a couple of times a year the fire department puts their members at a couple of intersections with four way stops; they approach each car with a boot and ask that you put money into it. It's a good cause, but once again, you're on the spot. You look bad if you don't put in, and no one knows if you don't because you''re down to your last $5 that you need for gas or a bag of beans or if you're just not into it.
May. 9th, 2016 05:27 am (UTC)
I will occasionally give to charity in stores but not if asked at the till when i just want to get the fuck out of there. One thing that i hate is lineups and last few times ive been stuck behind bad smelling people. One old guy that i swear had shit himself and another time child with dirty diapers. Now i go as soon as stores open to avoid people lol.
May. 9th, 2016 11:10 am (UTC)
I leave a donation if it's a cause that I would think to donate to in the first place, like if at the pet food store they ask for a donation for the local shelter.
May. 9th, 2016 11:43 am (UTC)
take down the name of the charity and give to them directly. the processing fees for the middleman companies that set up these sorts of things use up most of the donation anyway if you pay at the store.
May. 9th, 2016 12:00 pm (UTC)
I was thinking about this recently. What I want to do from now on is ask whether the company is matching donations, and give if they are (and I like the cause and can afford it, of course).
May. 9th, 2016 03:30 pm (UTC)
I'm with you. I give plenty of money to charity, but I determine which charities and have a plan for how much to give. I will not give on the spur of the moment, to an organization I may not know anything about, whether it's a grocery store cashier asking me, or a call-center employee calling on the phone. I don't feel I owe them any explanation. I just politely decline.
May. 9th, 2016 03:55 pm (UTC)
I don't think I've ever been asked to donate to a charity in a shop. Some shops and pubs have charity boxes near the tills and I'll sometimes chuck some shrapnel in.
May. 9th, 2016 06:34 pm (UTC)
I don't give to any charity that I can do at least minimal research on. In this type of scenario given the time constraints, I can't really make an informed decision. Whole Foods Employee (or whatever) should take a chill and mind his own business.
May. 10th, 2016 06:25 pm (UTC)
Instead of saying no, I go with, "Not today, thanks." That leaves less room for assumptions about your being an asshole and more of a good feeling like, oh, maybe she gave some when she was in here last week. :-P
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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