Charity at the Checkout

Is it just me? Is it just me who is annoyed every time I’m forced to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ when asked if I want to contribute to some obscure charity at the check-out counter?

In my book, charitable giving is a very personal thing. My wife and I try to keep our giving to ourselves. But when I am asked straight-out if I want to contribute to a charity I know nothing about – on the spot – I cringe.

First of all, I feel that corporate generosity should be just that – corporate generosity. Why are customers being asked to support a charity chosen by the retailer’s head office? When the money is passed on it will look like the retailer is being generous and put them in a positive light. All they did was ask their customers for it!

I feel most sorry for the cashiers who must ask every customer if they would like to contribute. Coming between them and the transaction they need to ring up, are the awkward question and the response. How do they feel when people say ‘No’? Is there pressure felt among those who can’t afford to give any more than they are giving elsewhere? And what about those who choose to give generously to other charities, yet feel selfish by having to say ‘No’?

Call it a pet peeve. I choose to say ‘No’ every time, because I want to make sure my giving strategy is intentional, and I try to give generously to those chosen by me. I don’t like to be ‘nickeled and dimed’ by spontaneous choices forced on me by giant retailers.

And you can do the same if you choose it. Another strategy might be to allocate a certain dollar amount each year to unspecified charities that might just work for these cashier moments.

Most important – be thoughtful about your giving. It might be the most important financial decision you make each year as you improve your relationship with money by recognizing what your money can do for others.

Take control of your finances today.

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