Clerks asking for charitable donations...

I have noticed recently that more and more businesses are asking for small charitable donations at the check out counter. Grocery store clerks are asking for a dollar to combat breast cancer, fast food clerks are asking for a dollar to end world hunger, and so on and so on.

I look like a douche when I say no, but not because I am applauding breast cancer or world hunger. I just don’t trust that my money is going to the people that need it. Still, I feel slightly guilty, and that is a horrible guilt trip put on me by these clerks.

What should I say to these clerks?

I would like to hear if any of you donate in these instances.

Should I? Does the money really go to those in need?

There’s always the old stand-by: “I already gave at the office.” :wink:

Should that fail, I like what you said about not trusting that the money is going to the people who need it. For “proof,” you could always ask the clerk to produce an IRS form 990 for the charity in question.

And when said company combines my donation with all the other donations given at the counter and presents it to said charity, who gets the tax deduction?

They wouldn’t have that. Form 990, I think, is for a charitable orginizations, the McDonalds or Grocery Store isn’t one, they are simply asking you for donation that they will collect and pass along.

The person who’s pocket the money came out of. That would be you.

You say “no, thank you.”

You set yourself a charitable budget and you follow through. When you start to feel guilty, you remind yourself that you donate to whatever organizations you do. You leave a little room to sponsor your co-workers on the bike ride for lung cancer.

The clerks aren’t “making” you feel guilty. They are asking “would you like fries with that?”

I always say no, to discourage the practice. I don’t offer anything other than no, or not today.

I’m much nicer – I say “Sorry,” and smile.

You are just another anonymous face that the clerk has to deal with to get through their day. Unless you are giving them shit, they really don’t care. Just say “No thanks” and don’t worry about it.

If I have the dollar to spare, I agree. The next time I go in and am asked again, I say “I made a contribution last time”. If I don’t have the dollar, I just say “I can’t today”. The clerk doesn’t care!

I work at a charity, and I will often say that. But really, just say no thanks and move on. They shouldn’t be pressuring you any more than that, and if they do, that’s when you have a right to complain.

Just say “no thanks.” I have to ask for donations for the Special Olympics. Four times a year, for two weeks each time, we’re supposed to ask every customer. I support the cause, but I don’t give a rat fuck if any particular person donates. In fact, at other businesses, when I’m asked to donate, I usually say no.

If being asked really bugs you, talk to the manager. But if it’s a chain store, your only real way of avoiding it will be to go elsewhere until the fund drive is over.

ETA: I can’t speak for everyone, but every penny collected by our stores, as well as money generated by an annual charity event, goes directly to Special Olympics of Northern California. Annually, our 50-ish stores generate probably $150,000, just from in-store donations. Obviously, there will be the occasional rogue employee who takes a fiver out of the donation box, but I’ve never seen it happen. I HAVE seen homeless people steal the donation box, though…


I despise it when they ask me for donations because you feel like a heel for saying no but I already contribute to many charities and don’t need to contribute to another.

However, our local grocery store does do one cool thing that I always buy when they have them. They put together a brown bag of the most needed items for the food bank. It is usually about 8 dollars worth of items and they sell it for 5 bucks. You then just drop it in the food bank box on your way out the door. Wish they did it all the time (usually it is only around Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas).

Probably true in general, not just in this instance… :slight_smile:

This just happened to me at taco bell. She asked me if i’d like to donate a dollar to end world hunger. So I said I had a better idea. Then I said I’d like to cancel my previous order, then ordered 7,000,000,000 burritos.

And a Diet Pepsi.

I used to work for a company who did this several times a year. So, speaking as someone who’s been on the asking end, you don’t owe the clerks any explanation. I promise they’re not going to look down on you, even if it is just a dollar. Just a simple “No” or “No, thanks,” and no guilt is necessary on your part. For all they know, you just wrote a check for $1,000 and delivered it directly to the charity’s headquarters.

“No thanks, but I am collecting for the Krishna Consciousness . . .”

When you say yes and donate, the company gets to claim those donations as a charitable deduction on their corporate income taxes when they pass that donation along to the beneficiary. They get a tax break without actually using any of their own money, just yours. You get a warm fuzzy feeling for paying extra money. Would you feel so good if you just gave the extra money directly to the company? Because in a way you are giving the company extra money beyond the prices you are paying for the goods you buy. How? Because they can claim your money as a charitable donation as if it were their own.

So I feel fine just saying no. Safeway should be telling me how much of it’s corporate profits are donated to charity instead of asking me to give more of my own money to donate, in the name of Safeway. This is a huge ‘feel good’ con game.

According to post #17, the store gets the deduction.
Which is true?

They have a legal them for the above. Tax evasion. Or fraud.

For them to take the deduction they would also have to show the money first as income. A company can not just have money appear on its books with no explaniation. What the company gets is the PR in delievering a check to the charity.
As for me I have charities that I support. I know about them and I believe in them. If I am going to give more money then I will give it to my charities. I fill no guilt in saying no thank you.

Why not both? Claiming a tax deduction only means you don’t pay income tax on that amount - if you earn $50,000 and donate $100, you pay income tax as if you only earned $49,900. As Snnipe says, neither you nor the store can actually profit from this without committing a felony.