Friday, May 14, 2010

To discuss putting an end to this $1 donation kettle-guilt

I consider myself a charitable person.

I've sponsored a child, I've donated clothing, I've watched Ben Affleck movies ...

But I grow tired - nay, weary! - of getting asked if I would like to donate a dollar to fill-in-the-blank charity for orphans/kittens/astronauts, almost every time I check out.*

(* Actually, I would donate to astronauts if that was an option. But not kittens. They'd spend it all on catnip.)

They ask for donations at Wal-mart. They do it at the grocery store. Last night, they did it at Arby's, when all I wanted was a roast beef sandwich and a chance to briefly forget the haunting words of Fast Food Nation for just five minutes.

As I always do, I reply, "No, not today," because that's the best way I can think of to politely tell them "Eff you." I know the cashiers hate asking, too, which makes me feel uncomfortable for them.

Instead of asking all the consumers to donate $1, I'd rather have Wal-mart donate money out of their pockets (Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen designed pockets, no doubt).

Better yet, how about I be given the option to donate $1 to the cashier, who no doubt is underpaid. It feels a little ridiculous for a person who can't afford dental insurance to ask the customers for donations to another charity, doesn't it? I know one cashier who has asked me for that $1 donation for months, all the while getting more and more preggers, to the point that I am fairly certain she was being forced to work while giving birth.

Here's what it comes down to:

You know how I feel about the Salvation Army kettles. Well, this is like getting kettle-guilt year-round, but without the klick-klack of a dented bell.


Sam_I_am said...

Amen to that. I just spent $6 bucks on a loaf of bread and a package of cheese, don't ask me for any more money, Wal-Mart!

Okay, so I exaggerate a bit, but it is ridiculous. I always try to dig up loose change for the kids standing in front of the store, because I've done that before. I know how much it sucks. I don't however, donate to the kids standing on the street corner collecting from cars, because I think it's poor taste to teach kids you can make money from standing on the street corner.

That Kind of Girl said...

I usually hate this. But the two times I'll always say yes:

1) If the cashier offers me a coupon I didn't know about in exchange for donating part of my savings (I've saved $5 or even $10 on bakery goods from cashiers bribing me to make donations -- win/win!);

2) If, instead of asking me for a dollar, they ask if I want to round up my total to the nearest dollar. Sometimes it's five cents, sometimes it's ninety, but because it comes after that decimal point, it feels like money I was just going to throw away anyway.

Ben said...

The ad that came up with this post was for World Vision. I kid you not.

Anonymous said...

I need to learn to say no, too, I suppose. I always say, "Umm, sure. Okay." And I usually have NO idea what I'm donating to.

I was pretty excited a few months ago, though. A store where a buy a lot of my clothes for work was raising money for (insert charity here) with the incentive of getting 25 percent off your total purchase with any donation, no matter how small. Since I was spending a couple hundred bucks,I gladly gave a $5 donation.

Is that selfish? To give because I got something in return?? Probably, huh? Oh well.

LaceyRee said...

I was just at WalMart today to pick up a prescription and the lady at the counter asked me if I wanted to donate a dollar to one of those fill in the blank charities.
I may have been swooned, had it been another day, but I had just come from the doctor's office (where I dropped a ridiculous amount of money since I don't have health insurance) and was now being charged more than I could truly afford for my prescription.
I wanted to tell her that in all actuality I was in need of some charity at the moment, but instead I smiled and said "No, not today."
Thank you for letting me know that I'm not the only one!

Herding Cats said...

I support this post 100%. I get so irritated whenever I'm at the grocery store and I'm asked to donate. Then I only donate a dollar because, let's face it, I'm poor myself, and I feel GUILT because people in line are probably judging me for not giving $5. Sigh, can't win this battle without feeling like a jerk or being super poor.

Amy xxoo said...

This really bugs me too. it doesnt happen too much here in Australia as, instead of directly asking, they'll just have a donation box at the cashiers so if you want to put your change in there you can.

I dont mind donating ( to a good cause ) when i get a knick knack in return though - like $2 on a pen, or a badge or a keyring. Yep, thats right, i like to get something in return for my selfless act....

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