I was at the mall the other day doing some Christmas shopping and at store after store, I was confronted with the same question at the register – “Would you like to make a donation to St. Jude’s Hospital to Help Children?”. I mean, who doesn’t want to help kids, right? But should I just tack on a dollar to my bill each time I checkout based on a single question?
- I don’t know much about St. Jude’s other than that it’s “for the kids”. Well, so are teachers’ unions and we see where that gets us. It sounds like a nice organization but I just don’t know much about them. I probably should before I donate to charity, right?
- I don’t know how efficiently this organization distributes my dollars. Is 75% of my donation eaten up by administrative costs? Some non-profits pay their executives hefty 6-figure salaries. Do I want to contribute to that?
- Am I supposed to feel embarrassed or ashamed in declining this request at the register? It’s the holiday season after all and multiple people around me put on a smug smile and proclaimed “Yes”. Should they “No” crowd be subjected to this judgment at the checkout counter?
- I have my own charities I contribute to after fully vetting them. They have some sort of impact on my life or people I know. Should drive-by donation requests be this common?
- Most stores have a no solicitation policy, yet they’re subjecting customers to donation requests at checkout. Is that appropriate?
Aside from the fact that we’re now bombarded with new annoying tipping expectations everywhere we go, now I’m seeing a lot more donation requests at checkout. While I can’t fault the organizations for trying to raise money for their noble cause, similar to Len Penzo’s Bah! Humbug Moment, I do contribute plenty to society already through the disproportionate tax burden I have and my own personal donations tied to causes that have impacted our family personally. Need I be subjected to multiple propositions to donate at retail outlets as well?
So, as you can tell, I find it a bit annoying to have to be confronted with this at the checkout counter – especially at every store in an entire mall.
And no, I don’t blindly give at the register. Do you?