I finally got around to doing some Christmas shopping yesterday when I was confronted with a disturbing trend. The cashier asked me to contribute a dollar to charity. I first noticed this earlier in the year at the local supermarket. Depending on what disease was being hyped that month, I was asked to give to said disease. I think it’s annoying and just decline.
Yesterday I was buying a sweater at Jones New York. Just before the cashier rang up the final sale she looked me in the eye and asked, “Would you like to give a dollar to St. Jude’s?” I fired back with my immediate response to all such requests, a terse “no.” This cashier was not to be cowed. She returned my volley with an I assume to be guilt inducing, ‘But it’s for cancer.” “Look,” I replied, “I’m just trying to buy a sweater.”
At this point I noticed the ladies on line behind me ever so imperceptibly shuffling their feet so they could move further away. I could see the thought bubbles being formed over their heads, “Who was this heathen who didn’t care about cancer?”
Next I went to Ann Taylor. They upped the ante by having their staff wear pink ribbons around their neck to which were attached pictures of smiley faced toddlers whose hair was lost due to chemo. The kids were universally cute and heart-strings were universally tugged. I know, I know, cancer is serious stuff but sheez, I just wanted to buy a sweater without being made to feel guilty for doing so.
The stores are not totally altruistic in this charitable endeavor. If you chip in the buck they give you a discount coupon to be used at a future date. In other words, they are using your charitable contribution to get you back in their store so you can spend more money there. I decided not to create a scene in the store so I will do so here instead.
Dear Store Owners,
When I spend my hard earned money at your establishment I am looking to do just that. I am not looking to cure cancer, end world hunger or save the panda’s native habitat. Those are all worthy goals I’m sure, but when I do contribute time and money to charity, as I do often throughout the year, I prefer it to be a charity and cause of my own choosing. Furthermore, I don’t want to be made to feel guilty about something, or treated as a pariah, merely because I chose to spend money in your fine store. I noticed that the people who just walk in, fondle your goods and leave are not subjected to this treatment. Here’s a suggestion, if you feel it is so important to give to these charities, why don’t you do so yourself? You can give one dollar from every purchase to the charity while reaping myriad public relations benefits.
I Just Wanted To Buy A Sweater
So I ask you dear readers, am I a Grinch for just wanting to go shopping and not being coerced into giving to some charity at the same time?