Asking for Money While You Pay

Stores ask for donations while you have your cash in-hand

Carolyn Conte ‘14 | Staff Writer

Carolyn is a staff writer for The Stampede.

I think that when at a check out, anything more blunt than a visible container labelled for donations to [name here] foundation or a subtle hint to this container, is hypocrisy. Depending on the situation, it may depend- anywhere else seems perfectly acceptable, but while someone has the cash in-hand… it just seems a tad sly to me.

For example, I was at the Walmart and my dad was buying a gift for my grandmother on mother’s day. The cashier seemed to have had a long day, judging by her slouching stance, dulled eyes and impatient eyebrows. She asked in a monotone voice as if she’d been repeating it for hours, “Would you like to donate to ___”? My dad simply replied, “Not today, sorry.”

In the last steps of filling out a check, he asked the cashier to repeat the price, and she changed it to be rounded up a few dollars. Obviously confused, he asked if she was sure. The bored worker told him the true price and added, “but you can just round it up and we’ll give the rest to the foundation.” Starting to get annoyed, he said no. Now, in fair honesty, if I were him I would have just let her have the few extra bucks, seeing as it is for a good cause, but yes — she was using guilt and being rude while attempting to collect donations.

If someone is not going to give their extra cash while waiting in line, then there is no need to pester them while they have their cash already in their hand. It does make a person feel bad, like “Oh, I already have it out, and I’m saying no…” and even if it did result in a contribution, it’s for the wrong reasons.

I wonder how the recipients of a donation would feel if they found out they had this money because a cashier had guilt-pressed their customer.

Besides, the staff can’t possibly assume that just because you are paying x amount of green for a product, means that they can spare more. Especially in this economy, financial situations are more likely to rely on every dollar. Many families have all their income planned out, so the twenty dollars they’re handing over may be the last they have until pay day. Also, the way they dress also doesn’t necessarily reflect their budget. There is no way to tell if a customer is being cheap or not, so please don’t pressure them. What if it really was their last pay check they were spending up, and they had to say ‘no’ to a cancer charity?

Ignoring the possibilities of the victim’s budget state, or how the charity profit-ees may react, is it not a bit ironic that they are asking these questions when it’s most convenient, knowing how it must feel to deny charity, all for a purpose that centers around kindness?

I am not trying to discourage efforts to persuade others to offer their own money for the sake of others, but I wish they would let it be more of a personal choice. There are plenty of other ways to entice donations: posters, staff asking while they don’t already have their wallet out, maybe an announcement on the intercom, etc.

If a person sees, hears and notices all these things like the bell-ringers on the streets, and refuses to get their bucks out at that time, then there’s no need to rub it in their face how they are saying “no” to an innocent, (Hopefully) good-intentioned charity.

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