May 18, 2010

Would You Like to Donate $1?

You're in a grocery store buying Skittles. An $0.89 purchase. Then your cashier tries to double your bill with a "Would you like to donate $1 to help St. Jude's?"

This direct verbal assault produces more instant guilt than the offering plate being passed down your aisle at church. This is more like the usher walking directly toward you and asking for money.

And besides St. Jude's, I don't really know who this is benefiting. I mean, maybe these companies are matching my donation? But, if so, tell me that! Otherwise, I just think you guys are trying to get credit off my guilt. Do they think this makes their company look charitable? Do some people like this opportunity to micro-give?


Beth said...

The only time I give into this is at my local petsmart the credit/debit machine gives you the option to donate to local shelters. And it also gives you the ability to say how much you want to donate. I like this method better than outright asking. It reduces the guilt on both parties by not pressuring people to give and not pressuring the cashier to ask (and therefore produce guilt).

Anonymous said...

Never thought about the benefit to the supermarket (in Massachusetts they are always collecting for the Jimmy fund), but since my economist bent leads me to believe that all decisions are the result of incentives and a corporation like Stop and Shop (East Coast super market chain) is not regularly "incentivized" by anything that cannot be monetized, I must assume that there is a reward beyond "doing the 'right' thing." And, speaking of the Jimmy Fund (they pass the hat for this fund in movie theaters, as well), why is "Jimmy" attached? Maybe it is to honor/eulogize a Jimmy who died from a dread disease, but the personalization seems another attempt to capitalize on the guilt-giving. Of course, why not? American culture does not have a formal alms giving tradition/expectation (excepting the Gospel of Wealth) we are not pillared as such, so soft sell, hard sell, guilt sell, soap sell, would you like to Girl Scout cookies, support the Fraternal Order of Police, save this child from poverty? Me, I'd like to do it all, one dollar at a time. Wait, the thin mints are $4 a box? I'll catch you on the way out, knowing I'll pretend to be on my phone when I pass by the table again. -Clark from NJ

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