Greg Duncan

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Are you being milked at checkout?

  • Always hungry...
    Always hungry...
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There is a growing trend going on our neighborhood. Pay a visit to any of our larger grocery stores or retailers and you will likely be solicited at the store entrance, at checkout, and again at the exit to donate funds for one cause or another.  It doesn’t stop there.

Look, I’m no Scrooge, nor am I opposed to helping out worthwhile organizations. I am proud of our locals doing good things. However, there are only so many Loonies and Toonies to go around, folks.

On a recent Saturday morning, the wife and I headed out for groceries and sundry other items and were asked for donations five times in just under two hours. That does not take into account the two other solicitations that happened on our doorstep at home that very same weekend.

We are used to local sports teams and youth raising funds for a variety of activities. Increasingly, and despite the season or sport, you will often find kiddies dressed in team sweaters at the entrances of our grocery stores looking for change to support their various activities. I’m fine with that, although I admit that I cringe somewhat whenever I see them as this is occurring more frequently and to a point of expectation. Those pesky tykes get you coming and going, I tell you.

What is beginning to seriously annoy me though is a marked increase in donation requests by stores and cashiers while at the checkout. This growing method of corporate partner fundraising seizes on a perfect opportunity to get you when you are at your most vulnerable. Basically, they get you while your wallet is out and in hand. Who wants to decline when you are open to public scrutiny? Adding a specific amount to your total goes something like this: “Would you like to make a donation to xxx organization in the amount of xxx dollars to be added to your total?

In some cases there are cards or little hearts or signs that go up in the wall with your name on them if you do donate.  All very nice, but I call it the public wall of donation fame and shame. If your name is not on it, then you are a cheapskate and everyone in the neighbourhood will know it.

We have an Asian Money Cat (look it up) in our house that beckons for our loose change 24/7 throughout the year. This money-grubbing cat needs to be constantly fed, but that’s another story.

For now, I simply ask, are we being milked at the checkout, and do you agree with this latest practice of fundraising in our stores?

7 comments

  1. Good article.

    Its seems to me that we have an explosion of professionally organized non profit organisations looking for an easy way to raise funds by targeting costumers. I wonder why? It seems to me, that if the store owners would like to contribute to the community, they should make a donation and stop soliciting their customers. Personally I am starting to avoid specific stores in order not to be harassed.

  2. I think these kind of campaigns are designed to catch people like me who have all but completely stopped using cash. Bills and cash are annoying to carry around and charities know this, so this is how they can try to get you to donate money using your credit/debit card.

    • By Greg Duncan

      I agree, cash is going the way of the dodo and these charities have caught on. I wonder though how much is taken off the top by the subsequent banking fees incurred. I do know that each electronic transaction carries a fee to the merchant.

  3. I agree that this solicitation is a pain and personnaly I have no problem saying No. What rally irks me and I wrote about this a few years ago are the kids collecting for their trip to Europe or some other destination. When I wrote about it last these kids were collection just before Christmas when you expect the real charities to be trying to help out ther fellow man. If I had not ask what they were collecting for I would have been helping some kid go to Franch not someone that was going hungry. If the are going to do it they should have it well desplayed what the money is for.

  4. Yes! Thanks for writing this article. My daughters are asked by schools, sports teams and music groups to solicit money. I don’t get it! Why should other people pay for my kids’ activities? I refuse to have my kids participate in such activity. All these selfish requests from selfish people dilute the true efforts by really needy people and true charities. I am upset when I see all these cute kids doing such miss guided activities. I feel like calling police. Yes have fines or oblige adults to attend education sessions, if there are any, on “what is charitable”. How can this be right; a team may collect $800 from bagging activity and then use this money to buy apparel, attend a competition or have a year-end party? I’m ashamed of the adults who encourage such activity because it just makes it so much more difficult for true charities.

  5. By Greg Duncan

    DB- as a father of a now 21 year old daughter, I can remember all the requests that she had to solicit for one activity or other while in school. I have bought more fundraising chocolate bars over the years than I care to remember. Many parents end up buying the entire box (or boxes) from their kids to avoid sending them out on the street (often at dark). There are some very reputable and worthwhile organizations doing great things and I guess the issue is to make informed or educated choices when it comes to donating such as you mentioned.

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