46 answers

Fundraising at the Grocery Store - Am I Being Petty?

This morning I went to a grocery store and was asked at check-out whether I wanted to round up to donate to a local food bank. When I replied that I did not wish to contribute, the checker said, "perhaps I didn't explain it correctly - it's just adding 53 cents to your bill." I said, "I understand that, it's just that I don't like being asked to donate when I shop and this is my way on not supporting the practice." She replied, "Well, I don't have a problem with (being asked for money). I don't like being asked to contribute to causes while I am there to purchase something. I support many organizations but I do not like being "bullied" into donating to a cause that they chose. Not that the cause is bad but I can take care of my donations on my own. And, who is getting the tax-deduction? Is the company donating all this money and getting the tax deduction? Is it even going to the charity? Lastly, let me say that I am a professional fundraiser and I believe in supporting charities. I just don't like the idea of guilting people into donating money when they simply are there to buy something. If the grocery store is so concerned perhaps they can commit to contribute 1% of their totals sales to the charity. Am I being a grouch?

What can I do next?

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Wow I can't believe that she had the gall to question you! Honestly I would report that to the store manager. That's not OK. Stores around here run fundraisers all the time. Sometimes I donate, but if it's a charity that I already give generously to or I don't support, then I just say "no thanks, not today" and the cashiers have never, ever, followed that up with anything other than "OK, debit or credit" (or whatever the next thing is to say).

9 moms found this helpful

I don't have a problem with being asked. I often shop at places that say "do you want to donate $1 to ___ cause." However, once you said no, she should not have continued to discuss or explain it. That was disrespectful in my opinion.

I actually think it can be a good way to fundraise, since many people will give that extra little bit and enough people doing it will actually make a difference. I just think they need to accept that no means no and drop it immediately.

7 moms found this helpful

I can understand not wanting to be asked more than once. I love my husband's reply if he chooses not to contribute to any request. "Thanks for asking. Not today." If asked again, he says only: "Not today."

However we never pass up veterans or Salvation Army volunteers, or children working to sell something, giving a donation even if we pass up the chocolate bars or popcorn. I spent too many weekends in front of a bank dressed up as Mrs. Claus or an elf, supporting my scouts with my goofy costume. Those wonderfully polite girls worked very hard to make requests, while not ambushing anyone. Bless them.

6 moms found this helpful

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Wow I can't believe that she had the gall to question you! Honestly I would report that to the store manager. That's not OK. Stores around here run fundraisers all the time. Sometimes I donate, but if it's a charity that I already give generously to or I don't support, then I just say "no thanks, not today" and the cashiers have never, ever, followed that up with anything other than "OK, debit or credit" (or whatever the next thing is to say).

9 moms found this helpful

Yup, you are being a grouch. So she asked you, that isn't bullying. Did you actually cut the poor thing off before she could say being asked for money or is that just your writing style?

I mean it just seems like if you are stewing over this hours later you didn't reply in a normal tone, you sounded irritated, and the checker was just trying to explain her error because normal people don't get irritated with 53 cents.

It just seems like your reaction was over the top. When I am asked I say not today and she just keeps scanning my groceries.

Oh, and you get the tax write off.

7 moms found this helpful

I don't have a problem with being asked. I often shop at places that say "do you want to donate $1 to ___ cause." However, once you said no, she should not have continued to discuss or explain it. That was disrespectful in my opinion.

I actually think it can be a good way to fundraise, since many people will give that extra little bit and enough people doing it will actually make a difference. I just think they need to accept that no means no and drop it immediately.

7 moms found this helpful

If you got upset at the general practice, you'd be being a bit grouchy. Fundraisers have to do whatever they can. But the fact that she challenged you on it would have really made me mad too.

6 moms found this helpful

I can understand not wanting to be asked more than once. I love my husband's reply if he chooses not to contribute to any request. "Thanks for asking. Not today." If asked again, he says only: "Not today."

However we never pass up veterans or Salvation Army volunteers, or children working to sell something, giving a donation even if we pass up the chocolate bars or popcorn. I spent too many weekends in front of a bank dressed up as Mrs. Claus or an elf, supporting my scouts with my goofy costume. Those wonderfully polite girls worked very hard to make requests, while not ambushing anyone. Bless them.

6 moms found this helpful

I have no problem being asked if I want to donate (and from what I'm reading you feel the same) but I WOULD have a problem if, once I said "no", the cashier proceeded to say "maybe I didn't explain it well enough..." Seriously??? When you politely said no it should've been dropped right then and there. The cashier even saying one more word about it would've rubbed me the wrong way too. You're not being a grouch. I think you're just being annoyed that the cashier didn't want to take no for an answer. I would've been too.

5 moms found this helpful

I agree with you 100%

5 moms found this helpful

Grumpy much?

It's really not that hard to say no and leave it at that.

5 moms found this helpful

I hate those requests. Any charitable donations I choose to make are a planned part of my budget. And they are private choices. It's bullying peer pressure to ask you, in front of other people, if you want to donate to the cause du jour. Then like it or not you feel like a jerk for saying "no." Like "Look at me, fellow shoppers!! I don't support cancer research!!!" Hmm, maybe I'm the grouch.

5 moms found this helpful

I don't think you're being a grouch. The cashier responded rudely to you. The first time you said no, that should have been the end of it. I have the same philosphy towards telemarketers. I don't support the practice, so I don't donate to anything by phone.

I'm so over receiving additional selling/questioning at the register. All I want to do is complete my purchase, simple thank yous exchanged, and be on my way. Maybe some non-scripted normal conversation would be refreshing. I don't want to open a credit card to save 10%, buy a membership, buy more to receive more coupons for future use, give my phone number or email, or donate to charity.

5 moms found this helpful

I think the clerk overstepped, and I think you're feeling offended because she implied that you were being cheap. Which you know is NOT true, but you hate that the clerk might think that. But really, she stopped thinking about you as soon as you walked out the door. Don't let her rent space in your head.

I don't think you need to explain your reasoning for not donating to anyone. A simple, "No thank you" or "Not today" should have sufficed.

I have to say that I have never been asked twice by a clerk if I wanted to donate or open a credit card. They believe me when I say no the first time.

4 moms found this helpful

I love it when adults put there KIDS up to it. Who can say no to kids, who more often than not, dont know what they are really asking for anyway. They are doing it cause someone told them its a good thing to go door to door for donations. Argh

Your not being petty, I dont ever donate when they spring it on me. If presented correctly and professionally I do donate when I can.

I am reading a LOT about Karma and to honest I think the term and the definition is being misused.
Karma is not punishment or retribution but simply an extended expression or consequence of natural acts. Karma means "deed" or "act" and more broadly names the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction, that governs all life.
So because she didnt give 53 cents, she is going what? NOT receive 53 cents some time later in a different life. OOOOO watch out, I would take my chances.

4 moms found this helpful

Yes, you are. You were allowed to say no, weren't you? I don't think you've ever been bullied, if that's what you think bullying is. You were snarky and short in your answer. (She might have been to, but your answer was uncalled for. In my opinion. Not that she's innocent. I'd rather be the bigger person, then participate.) I've been asked this at stores, probably hundreds of times. I've never been guilted, personally. I think you experienced a rarity. I think you both were a bit silly. Sorry.

4 moms found this helpful

I HATE being asked. I choose my charitable donations very carefully,checking just how much goes to overhead, etc. I have no idea who the causes in the store usually are.

As I usually shop on pay day, I usually respond by saying "no thanks, I just donated 400 dollars to the national food bank just this afternoon."

4 moms found this helpful

If I had the money, I probably would donate. There was a time when I didn't even have 50 cents to give. Most times I do donate whenever I can, even at the grocery store, or the pet store, or salvation army when they are out front at walmart etc. I don't mind. I can understand how you felt with the rebuttle the cashier gave ya....that wasn't right. The cashier just should have respected your opinion and kept her mouth shut. :-) We all have our ways of giving, and most of us are limited at what we can give. I won't tolerate being guilted to donate to any cause....If I can, I will, and if I can't, I won't. If they can't accept that I can't, I just ignore them and walk away. :-)

4 moms found this helpful

Bwaaaahahaha!

I have one to share with you, because that has happened to me more than once.

The charity of the month was Seattle Children's Hospital. The teller got in my face about how this was "...for the children! Have a heart! How uncaring do you have to be to not support sick kids?!?!"

At which point I pulled out my Parent Caregiver badge on it's orange lanyard out from under my jacket and snapped at her that right now my son's bill was over $100,000, thank you very much, and god only knew how much it was going to be, or when he'd be discharged, IF he lived. That all I wanted to do was to buy some real food that didn't come out of the cafeteria for the first time in a month, and that she might want to think twice before badgering and sneering at people. You don't know who is walking through this line!

At which point I asked for my money back, and for the entire sale to be cancelled.

((I was a leeeeeetle bit stressed at that point.))

Much more calmly... there's no way for a teller to know anything about the person standing in front of them. She didn't know she was calling me a bad mom. But, hi! My son had arrested 2 times the night before. I'd been sleeping on an 18" pullout chair for 4 weeks. I had maybe $2 a day to eat with (my mum had dropped off some cash for me, hence the grocery store!), I was exhausted and terrified, and then being CHASTISED for not caring for children and the best hospital around? They don't know if the person they're bugging for food bank donations is going to be going to the food bank that week for the rest of their food. They don't know if the person has hundreds of thousands in medical debt. They. Don't. Know. And. Have. No. Right. to some kind of moral high ground, castigating strangers.

I also never donate through those things. When I can afford to, I donate to very specific charities INCLUDING children's hospital (ahem. When I'm not currently working off my bill to them. Trust me, they'd rather have my bill paid, than a donation from me!)... and either keep personal records &/or claim it. I also donate to individuals (that I don't claim... for example a homeless kid or the Fireman's Boot or RMD). The impulse ones, I care not about. The boot could be used for tonight's beer fest (ditto the homesless kid)... and that's their choice. For ones I track and claim, that's different. But, as you say, there is no way to know MANY things about the $1 towards whatever. I often shop daily (to keep spoilage to a minimum). That's $360 some odd dollars per year. Which is a significant contribution. Not noteworthy on a wall significant... but significant none the less.

4 moms found this helpful

No, you get to donate to the charities of your choice.

3 moms found this helpful

It is annoying to have the checker pursue you verbally after your first refusal. That could be experienced as mild harrassment, but it's a bit of a stretch to call it bullying, unless perhaps she was coming back at you with snideness or anger. Perhaps she's just socially clumsy – many of us are, at least sometimes. Could be her focus was just on meeting a goal, when it should have been on your reaction to the request.

Most of us probably would NOT still be stewing over an hour later, so your story makes me wonder whether you're projecting what's least comfortable about your own job onto the checker. We often dislike most in others what we can't quite accept in ourselves. As a professional fundraiser, do you politely accept an immediate "no, thank you," or are you often in the position of finding a more targeted way to ask again? I have had to turn down fundraisers before, face-to-face and on the phone, and they do tend to be very persistent. I don't hold it against them – they're just doing their job. If they become too demanding, I simply hang up or walk away.

And please, people, the economic crisis has created many thousands of desperate families. I don't like having their unmet needs brought to my attention, but I've been hungry before, and know first-hand that in addition to deep anxiety about how you'll come up with enough for the next meal, it's physically painful, disrupting concentration and even ability to sleep. Imagine facing your children day after day with sorrow for their hunger, but not enough food. And you can't just go snap up a job that isn't there.

Since my year of going hungry (while working 60 hours/seek at low-income labor), every single balanced meal I get leaves me feeling so grateful, and willing to contribute to the pantries of families in need. I give a little at every opportunity, even though my income is at the very bottom of "middle class."

3 moms found this helpful

You are being kind of grouchy. Go jump in the trash can! : )

You did not like it and so you said no. Other people will think it is a great idea and will happily donate.

I don't personally like being accosted by the boy scouts and girl scouts and humane society and veterans and local softballs teams and on and on when I go to buy groceries but I always have the option of saying no, I'm not donating today. It is annoying but they depend on the donations they receive so it is understandable.

3 moms found this helpful

I would have complained to the manager... you said you didn't want to contribute, but she persisted.....

I've also worked retail, and realize that management does pressure the checkers to get more contributions, or to buy one last special item.... but I feel this is wrong...... (However, I wasn't a cashier for long, just a few months until I moved to being a floor associate.)

You can always say that if they continue to pressure you, you will find ANOTHER store to give your business to.

3 moms found this helpful

The clerk was out of line. I donate to whoever I want to and I certainly don't donate to rudeness.

I do donate when the charity is doing somethig for the donation, like having a car wash. Then I go out of my way to participate.

Good luck to you and yours.

3 moms found this helpful

I agree with you 100%. I give to many different organizations but I choose them. I need to know the background behind the company, the ethics, whether they give 100% or 2% of the money etc. I don't like being asked either---it feels like bullying and its wrong of the cashier to respond that way towards you.

3 moms found this helpful

I think you are being petty. but I also think the cashier was out of line to push after you said no. I see zero issue with them asking, but if the person says no that should be the end of the discussion. To some people even that one dollar could be important due to low income, ect.

3 moms found this helpful

I personally like the idea. For me, it is an easy, mindless way to do something good and I won't have to be bombarded by mail from all the various charities. I like that the stores make the small effort to make a difference too instead of asking you to buy the "deal of the week," they ask you to do something to make a difference. If I donated the day before or I don't feel like it, I usually just reply, "No thank you." I think your cashier should have kept her judgements and commentaries to herself though. That would have annoyed me. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone.

3 moms found this helpful

No you're not. I don't like that either because when you say no, they act like you're cheap. I'm not cheap and I do donate, but I don't like being put in a position of feeling like I have to say yes, which is how I feel when they do that at the store.

And I never thought about the tax benefit for the store. Certainly they are going to claim the "charitable donation" when in fact they aren't donating anything!

2 moms found this helpful

You aren't being a grouch - that cashier was out of line. I almost always say no to those requests too (mainly because I support the food bank directly and through church). Usually when asked, I say no or not this time and the cashiers let it go at that. If you have your receipt or know her name, I would report the cashier to store management.

2 moms found this helpful

I think the conversation should only have been "do you?" "no" "your balance is..." The rest is interjecting her personal thoughts and hassling a customer. If they do this often, then I would contact the store about it.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with you 100%. The cashier's comments were rude. I've been asked the same question many times. I usually give a polite "no" and go about my business. I don't like having to explain (and I don't), but I support many charities - all of whom I research so I know with a reasonable degree of certainty - where my money is going.

My personal pet peeve is when organizations "can" in front of stores or at traffic lights. No, I don't want to give you money so that little Tiffany can go to cheer camp in Florida. My daughter likes to take horseback riding lessons. I don't stand outside a supermarket and hold out a can begging for money for that. It's my responsibility to pay for those expensive lessons if I so choose. Now, if your organization would like to offer something for sale or a service such as helping to pack my groceries for tips, I might be OK with that - but I'm not flat out giving you money for the heck of it - sorry.

ETA - contrary to what some others have said here, it's not about the .53. I think Riley said "no" is always an appropriate answer - and it doesn't need a further explanation.

2 moms found this helpful

No, you're not being a grouch. I would have immediately demanded to speak with a manager as the cashier was completely out of line. IMO you should write a letter.

In our area some of the grocery stores in our area will ask if we want to donate to a certain cause, you choose the amount and it gets put on your receipt. I save the receipt and take the tax deduction. If I choose not to donate the cashier usually just says ok.

2 moms found this helpful

She may have a boss watching her, making sure she asks twice. Not cool, but really, with some jobs, you are supposed to ask X amount of times, or be told 'no' two or three times before dropping the subject. Today the gal at the Gap asked me if I wanted to give my email for sales info (no!) and then asked if I wanted my receipt emailed or in the bag. Overkill. but she's following the script and wants work like everyone else does.

I like our grocery store; they do a food drive where you can pick up a prepacked bag of groceries and then buy it through the checkout line; then they put it in a cart and it goes to the food bank. Of course, the financial donation directly to the food bank works better, but I'll tell you, it does feel nice sometimes to just pick up that extra bag, throw it in the cart, and it's a tangible way to explain donating to my son.

2 moms found this helpful

Wow. I have absolutely no problem with people asking if you want to contribute... but once you decline, they should completely drop it.. NO dirty looks, or condescending attitude.

She may have been pushy about it, because many stores offer incentives to the associate who 'raises' the most. For example... I once worked in a store that participated yearly in the MDA fundraisers (selling shamrocks for muscular dystrophy (sp?)) and the employee who sold the most would get a $25 gift card. The store would also match the amount raised and donate that as well.

I do feel that the cashier was very rude though!

1 mom found this helpful

If I donated at the check-out every time I am asked I'd be broke!! I donated on my own to what I want to support. I do not donate at the check-out ever.

1 mom found this helpful

You are being a grouch a bit. However, I can see why you would get upset. The clerk should have stopped when you said "No". At most stores, clerks get points how much donation they collected or how many credit card application they got poeple to sign up for and they do have team competitions. Depending how competative the person is he/she can get very pushy.

My answer for the charity donation always is: "Thank you, but we have already made our donations for the year to our favorite charities". That answer always works.

1 mom found this helpful

Would have burned my britches too!! I would have honestly gone to the manager and told them that the strong arming is not appropriate and if it ever happens again you will shop at the competition from then on.

And I may have ended the conversation with "how do you know that I am not one of those needing to be fed?"

1 mom found this helpful

I've never had anyone be that pushy as long as I say, "No, thank you. Not today." When they ask a second time for clarity because the system is prompting them to ask, I simply say again, "No thanks. Not today." No one has EVER asked me why and I never explain myself. There's no reason to explain.

1 mom found this helpful

Lots of stores do this. I don't think I've ever seen Walmart do it but every convenience store has those signs hanging down showing who's contributed and almost all the local grocery stores do it too.

I am on such a tight budget that I really can't afford a quarter. We do fundraisers outside the doors of Walmart though. Through BMX we collect donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

A Young boy who was a racer died from one of these diseases so BMX took this on as their charity. My granddaughter got lots of money doing this, over $500. They people were very nice and if they could not donate they just said no thank you. She got a cute tee shirt for the work and the society got over $2000 from our BMX Track alone.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't like the guilt thing either, but it sure is effective!

1 mom found this helpful

This is a pet peeve of mine, too. You were not out of line in the least. In my opinion, the entire fundraising, not-for-profit pleading for money, whether it be the thousands of return address labels, telephone calls, standing in the middle of the street with jugs, or as you indicate, in the grocery line, all of it is increasingly 'in your face.' My contributions are my own decision, and these tactics just make me less interested in contributing to that cause. Am no grouch or grinch, but let me make my own decisions about where my contributions go. Let me choose what/whom I support.

J.

1 mom found this helpful

I think that cashier needs better training.. However, I would also add that I just don't think grocery stores (or other stores) should do that kind of stuff to their patrons. It really does put the customer on the spot..I am like you in that my family and I donate year round to different charities and just because we might say no to one, doesn't mean we are not charitable... Also, if the store is truly being charitable, then they could offer to match 1% of whatever their patrons spend in the store.... Kinda like a matching program.. To me, that is the more professional way to raise funds. Additionally, there is probably some reward program for the cashier that gets the most people to donate.... hence the reason that cashier was so pushy... I agree with you, it's not right to guilt people into donating...

1 mom found this helpful

I am with you...I don't donate when I am asked (or handout money at every stoplight). I purchase from the school fundraisers and I donate to food banks directly.

Our store CC payment kiosk asked if we would like to donate and then after we say, "No", the cashier asks again.

1 mom found this helpful

NO, I totally agree. Many stores "Donate" and take the deduction.
In this case, do you have your sales slip? I would turn her in. That is not ok.

I don't mind rounding up so much, but being cornered like that annoys me. I dislike being asked by coworkers or cashiers to sponsor their kids etc, but wimp that I am, I usually do it anyhow!! I am pretty altruistic and contribute to various good causes, just hate being captive! The cashier was out of line for being so persistent.

I don't contribute at the store either - I support my favorite charities. As to the grocery store giving 1% - grocery stores only make 3% profit - so I doubt they would give 1/3 of the their profit to the charity. Is the money going to the charity - are you serious?

The clerk was pushy and rude. I agree, there should be a non guilt way of "asking" you to donate! I hate getting bombarded outside of stores....I NEVER have cash on me, so I always feel like bum!

I don't care that stores do it. I do think the checker was a little pushy & abrasive about it.

I thought you were going to talk about kids that are fundraising in front of stores. I am really sick of that, honestly. I have vowed that when we get into a sport or activity that requires this type of fundraising, DH & I will just buy DD out. I don't think others should have to foot the bill for a voluntary, non-necessity like that.

Ok, well, I think you might be making this too big a deal. I get asked all the time by stores, kids, those people at the intersections. I almost always say no and never feel guilty because I know I'm supporting other things. So I think this is more about you and feeling a bit defensive when its probably not necessary. I'm sure you donate to what you want to donate to therefor no need to feel guilty. I doubt they are trying to "guilt" people into anything, that's just your feeling. Its just another avenue to make it easy for people to donate if they wish to do so. So maybe just take a deep breath and let it go. :) They're just asking a question, and you can just say no thank you. (that cashier needs some etiquette training though!)

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