You Need to Hear This: It’s OK Not To Donate at the Checkout
Have you ever been pressured into making a donation while checking out at a store? You need to know that it's fine to say no.
Everyone is familiar with this scenario. You battle the crowds for a parking spot, trudge through the store to get that last-minute gift that would have probably cost $50 cheaper online, and then stand in an endless line waiting to pay. When you finally get to the checkout a worker turns to you and asks if you'd like to make a donation to the Kids With Blind Puppies Foundation. Not wanting to look like a terrible person you say sure, adding an extra $5 to your total You leave the store feeling taken advantage of, not knowing where that donation is actually going.
If I'm going to help a cause, I want to make sure my money is going to really help someone.
I'm here to say that it's perfectly fine to say no to those random checkout donation drives. You don't need to feel like a bad person for saying "no thank you" when asked if you want to donate. No one cares if you decline and you won't be judged as a bad person. In fact, it might actually be the best thing you can do.
Don't get me wrong, I believe in giving back and donating to worthwhile charities. But if I'm going to help a cause I want to make sure my money is going to really help someone. It's simply impossible to research some random charity while you're credit card is beeping in the machine and angry people behind you are waiting for you to finish your transaction. If I really want to help out kids dealing with a cancer diagnosis, why should my money go to help buy sleds for orphans? I'm sure it's a good cause, but I'd rather give more to something I truly believe in.
So I'll say it again: You don't have to donate at the register.
The truth is that no one is really judging you if you decide not to donate. The clerk honestly doesn't care. They're busy dealing with angry customers and busy lines. The only thing that will upset them is if you aren't paying attention to the screen and hold up the line by not pressing any option at all.
The person behind you isn't judging you either. I've been behind people who've declined to donate and have never thought to myself, "Wow, what a horrible human being." I just assume they've already donated to a different cause.
The fact is that donating small amounts to a bunch of random charities is a terrible way to give back. Not only does it make you feel taken advantage of, it will most likely discourage you from seeking out charities on your own. If you're fortunate enough to be able to donate money this time of year, it's your right to put that money where you think it will do the most good. For me, that's Alex's Lemonade Stand, The Food Bank of the Hudson Valley and The Children's Home of Poughkeepsie. These are three organizations with missions that I truly believe in. And I've done my research, so I can feel good knowing that my money is actually going to help people and not send the board of directors to a conference in Hawaii.
So this year, don't be pressured into handing out money to everyone who asks. If you decide to give back, do it on your terms and for the right reasons. You'll soon realize that helping out a charity isn't an unwanted obligation. In fact, it may quickly become your favorite part of the holiday season.
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