Dear Crabby, Do you Think Grocery Stores Should Ask you to Give at the Register?

Dear Crabby, Do you Think Grocery Stores Should Ask you to Give at the Register?

Sincerely, Joe Givings

Dear Joe,

Why on earth do grocery stores and other retail outlets ask you give to charity at the register – because it works – it’s a great place to guilt you into making a donation. Because of my high profile in the Rochester Area, I don’t get around to all the grocery stores too often anymore. If my fans saw me shopping, I’m sure it would attract attention. In fact, this one time I got hit in the back with a giant head of cabbage – I believe this to be a custom in some counties as a way to show respect to community leaders, such as me. I’m more modest now, and I don’t think I want that much “respect” in public anymore. So, I send Mrs. Crabby to do most of the shopping these days.

But on to your question, it’s called point-of-sale fundraising. Point-of-sale, or POS, is a fancy, dancy way of naming what happens at a register – it’s literally the point of sale. And they have found that millions can be collected with this form of fundraising.

Some places like to ask you to “round-up” to give to their charity of choice that week or month, others let you donate your bag credit (if you bring your own bags) to their preferred non-profit, and even some have a set dollar amount, say $1 or $5, could be added to your bill to give to that organization. Not me.

Don’t get me wrong, I give to charitable organizations like my church, Meals on Wheels, and Neighborhood House. But I refuse to be quilted into donating in public at a place I’m choosing to spend my money.

After running up a hundred dollar order a couple years ago at one place, they said with a smile, “would you like to help such-and-such by giving $5, we’ll just add it to your bill.” Shocked, for a second, I quickly replied “You know, I have a list in my car of non-profit places that I like give to. I can’t remember if that is one is on the list – let me run out to the car and find out – I’ll be right back.” You guessed it, I never returned, but then I had to go somewhere else to do my shopping.

Now, I change it up. Once after such a plea from the register person, I looked to all the people in line behind me and I warned them what was coming. I said loudly enough so they could all hear me “No thank you, I prefer to make donations anonymously, I don’t want these folks behind me to feel bad if I give in public and they can’t do the same.” More recently, when they ask, I answer their question with a question. “Would you like to donate to such-and-such,” I say back to them, “they need your help.” Turning the tables usually ends the conversation.

Now, this isn’t the fault of the cashier. The store wants to look good by writing a big check to a charity and they tell their POS people to ask. I would hope that you, Joe, give to charity what you can afford, and start with our local ones first. Asking me at register is just obnoxious. So, I’ll be obnoxious right back thank you very much.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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