Corporate Virtue Signalling At Your Expense

by Simon 27 Replies latest social current

  • Wakanda

    I say I donate in MY OWN NAME.

  • OneEyedJoe

    This really doesn't bother me at all. I've never gotten anything that resembled negative judgement for opting not to donate to a charity, and I'm secure enough in myself that I don't feel the slightest tinge of guilt for neglecting to donate money in the checkout line. Given what I know about human nature, though, it strikes me as probably a pretty good thing in a lot of ways - I suspect that a lot of people approach charitable giving as if you're expected to give a large sum of money or else it feels like it doesn't make a difference and then where do you start? How do you select a charity? Many will think "it's all too much trouble and I can't spare enough money to make a difference, so I might as well not bother." If given the choice of giving a few dollars at the grocery store, though, it takes all that out - they know that this is offered to every customer so it makes them feel that they may be able to be a part of a larger effort that does make a difference. The charity is already selected, for better or for worse, but it takes that part of the effort out of it.

    Could it be done better? Absolutely. I suspect the stores are getting something of a tax break by doing this, so if they'd really like to show some altruism, they should match the donations received (or even just match 30 cents on the dollar) - this would likely motivate even more giving and they'd not be in it for a profit motive. Something tells me, though I've done no research on this, that the charities selected probably aren't the best either. But hopefully they're vetted at least a little, as the companies would probably not want a PR disaster of being revealed to support a corrupt charity. Also, I definitely think that the implementations of this where it just shows up on the keypad (vs being asked by the cashier) are somewhat nicer as they remove most of the feeling of being publicly shamed if you opt not to donate.

    Similar to how people will contribute significantly more to their retirement fund if their employer requires them to opt-out of savings vs opting-in. Very small changes in how convenient something is can make a significant impact. In effect the grocery store is providing a service for those that would like it, making it easier to give and to feel that you're a part of something worthwhile. If you don't want to donate, then don't. I've never seen someone become the victim of mob violence for failure to donate money at the grocery store. I certainly don't think it's appropriate to make someone who's probably earning minimum wage working a tedious job feel uncomfortable by responding rudely because you don't like the policy of someone 6 levels up in the corporate hierarchy.

    What I would suggest is if you have a problem with the policy, instead of making the poor cashier suffer for something that's not their fault, write a letter expressing your objection to the public relations office of the company. Boycott the company and order your groceries on amazon or similar if you have to. Go support a local farmer's market. Unless you live in a tiny city with one grocery store, you likely have options.

  • LV101

    It's worse if you indicate you're not interested or you already contribute to the particular charity they proceed with a harder closing re/the benefits to you - like one of the department stores. They are asking you to contribute for more than a $1 and, of course, you get it all plus more or most/whatever back knowing the customer won't probably follow up on their offers. Even if the customer calendars or uses the plan they know once one is in the store they have opportunity of selling more -- which is fine as they're in business to make money plus they're collecting $$$ and in the charity business. Their main agenda is to get the customer back into the store and they're donation plans must be lucrative.

  • Wakanda

    I have received negative judgement, from one store in particular. That store is too convenient to not shop at, but I avoid it when it is at all possible. So, yes, negative judgement does exist. It is sort of like the skit on Portlandia about the person that didn't have the bag, like 2% as bad. It's judgement none the less.

  • sir82

    The person you would say it to, has no say in the corporate policy that determined that it would be a good idea to ask you for a donation.

    Likely, the cashier is required to say it, or risk losing their job.

    You can make your statement if you choose, but it will change absolutely nothing, except perhaps just further demoralize the poor schmuck who is stuck with that crappy low-wage job. Is that your goal?

  • StephaneLaliberte

    I personally say: "No" and look at the casher right in the eye without flinching. They usually tend to become uncomfortable.

    I prefer to give 2 dollars to the kid that wraps my groceries in bags rather than giving to these charities.

  • StephaneLaliberte
    Sir82: Likely, the cashier is required to say it, or risk losing their job.

    After posting my comment, I read yours.... yeah, well.. I'll change my response from now on. Its not a big deal enough to make their life miserable, even for a moment.

    From now on, I will simply say no thank you with a smile.

  • LV101

    Ditto - SL/re giving/tipping the kids/staff at grocery store who help load into car at scary parking lot.

    No, it's not the sales clerks' fault -- they're trained and required to promote the charity programs. So many are concerned their jobs are being phased out and don't make the commissions they once did. Many are hoping their jobs last until they retire and enroll for social security.

    Problem with many of these non-profit charities there's very little going toward the cause and it's sad. Requires lots of research to determine which ones are worth it. United Way was investigated many yrs. ago and much fraud was taking place -- it's much better today, still around and a favorite. No one minds a dollar/$5 or whatever contribution at grocery store for children, education, cancer, whatever. It's the department store sales drama that is annoying after so many times. There are solid charities and, hopefully, department/online stores/markets are involved in those.

  • Stealth

    And the worst is when you don't even leave your house and two religious folks wake you up on Saturday morning asking for a donation to their world wide work.

  • Giordano

    I am asked maybe once a month at the two grocery stores I shop at each week to contribute a dollar. Since I value those stores and their personnel, their selections of food and drink and the bargain pricing that is often available ... I save far far more then the occasional request for a dollar donation.

    So no ... it's not a problem for me. If I have already donated and do not feel inclined I just tell the clerk that I have already given. Either way I always thank the person for mentioning the Charity.

    Since my wife and I support 10 to 12 local Charities per year usually with a low of 50 dollars up to 100 dollars ... another dollar here or there is not an issue.

    We favor local charities and non profits that send us a letter request and share what they have accomplished over the past year and what their plans are for the future year.

    However it is the constant requests for money over the phone that are really annoying especially when you have a salaried solicitor. Give once and you are on their list forever.

    A gentle reminder ... being brought up as a JW we were never encouraged to donate to anyone or anything else. We weren't encouraged to participate in community activities and certainly not vote. Not trusting worldly persons was the order of the day.

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