Thursday, December 01, 2011


I’ll bet there’ve been times while you’re paying for a purchase when someone has asked, “Would you like to give $2 to the food bank? ...breast cancer research? ...your local hospital?”

Of course you would. You’re a good person. But wait a little minute before handing over your money.

Next time a cashier asks whether you’d like to donate a couple of bucks to X or Y charity or noble cause, think about where it’s going and why they’re collecting it.

The first place it’s going is into a bundle of dough handed over by kind-hearted souls like you. And the supermarket (or Post Office or other fill-in-the-blanks corporation) is holding onto it, counting it, and getting ready for the day THEY get to donate it to charity. Such presentations are often accompanied by plenty of frou-frah – frequently, even a photo op for the local paper.

They’re using YOUR money, then getting the credit. And that credit is not only of the feel-good variety, but also the tax credit for making a charitable donation.

If this practice annoys you, don’t take it out on the cashier. That person has been directed to ask – in fact, MUST ask every single customer, and can be reprimanded for not doing so.

These days when I’m asked, I say: I’m sorry you have to ask me to make a donation. I prefer choosing my own charity and then making a direct donation – that way I not only know where it’s going, I’m the one getting the tax credit, not your employer.

And where it’s just turned December, this is a good time to think about who you’d like to share with, where you’d like your charity dollars to go. Without the coercion of yet another corporate ploy.


Janet Vickers said...

Thanks for letting us know Heidi.

hg said...

And thanks for commenting, Janet. I hope this little nudge will help you figure out where your donation will go this year. After all, 'tis the season for sharing.

vaughan said...

Ah, Heidi, thank you for making this information public. I have known this for a long time and admit I see red every time I am asked at the cash because the whole business makes me so angry. I know too, though, that cashiers have to ask and now, thanks to this blog post, I have something nicer to say than what can sometimes come out of my mouth.

hg said...

I'm glad, Vaughan, (especially where I used to be a supermarket cashier) if I've given you something kinder to say in response to these tiresome requests.
I reckon we all have to do our part, no matter how small, to stand up to the many faces of corporatism. Occupy the Planet!