hawking charitable donations at the workplace

This isn’t really a complaint so much as an annoyance that I keep to myself. Among many of the duties I have as an associate (read clerk) at the home improvement store I work at I’m also a cashier and one of two cash counters for end of day tallying. Like many retail stores there are always charities that we ask for donations. Habitat For Humanity (the Carter thing) is one such current charity. Which by the way I’m very much in favor of. However, I just found out today that we as cashiers must now track our performance on how many donations we receive. I have no problem that each store as a whole track their donations but as individual cashiers we are now being measured in performance by the number of donations we solicit. That stinks. In essence we must beg, or demand a donation from customers who are often the same customers on a day to day basis. Already, one week into the 5 week program I’ve already have had customers complain about repeated request. Some have been nasty. I’m not against charitable donations but I very much dislike this “competition” we are being forced into. Is this common in most retail stores or chains? Any thoughts pro or con?

I really dislike this system, and it seems to be spreading. I like to make my own decisions on what causes I will support and write my own checks.

I’ve noticed recently at my nearby grocery store, the cashiers are now required to announce the news to the whole store when they receive a donation at their register. They are required to end their announcement with the word “Wahoo.” Apparently, they are not required to sound like they mean it when they say that word.

There is a photo at each checkstand of whoever is the employee who pulled in the most donations in a month, or maybe it’s each week, I have done my best to not notice.

I don’t ever donate anything at a cash register. I don’t want to encourage this activity. Knowing that it would be announced to the whole store if I did is just one more reason for me to never ever do this.

I don’t take it out on the employee though, he/she is just trying to keep her/his paycheck. I don’t get into discussions or explanations about it, I just smile and say “Not this time, thanks anyway.” I never get any hassle about it.

Wow. If I’m a checker at a home improvement or grocery store, I’m not making commission or increasing/decreasing sales by taking payments. Fine, reminding people about specials or pointing out opportunities to donate are OK duties, but unless I’m getting a raise directly related to hawking donations or making a commission, they can forget it. Cashiers are not sales people. I’ve done both, and while I’m a fine cashier type, I am not a sales type. I would be pissed and pointing it out to management, even if they pointed me to the door.

My regular grocery store does this fairly often. And it annoys me. I shop 4-5 days a week.
I wish I had more time when I’m there. I’d go to the manager EVERY TIME and complain. Maybe they’d get the message that way.

I have nothing against charity…but I want to do it on my terms. Not because I’m being pressured into it.


Many charities have rules against such ‘forced solicitation’. It’s fairly likely that Habitat for Humanity doesn’t even know the store is forcing you to do this.

So complain to the charity directly (anonymously if you want) about this, and mention how many customers are complaining abot it, and saying bad things about the charity due to this. Let them be the ones to take it up with store management.

As a customer, I’d complain to both the retail headquarters and the charity headquarters.

I have my own preferred charities, and I’m quite capable of donating money by myself. If I see a DISPLAY about a charity, I might ask about it, but I sure don’t want to be asked to donate at the register. If the company or the charity wants to set up a table, that’s one thing. But having the cashiers ask every customer is a waste of time, for both the customers and the cashiers, and annoys just about everyone. And tracking a cashier’s donation record, other than for bookkeeping purposes…well, what I want from a cashier is speed and accuracy. I’m willing to do a bit of chitchat, too, because I know that Corporate has usually mandated that the cashier ask “Did you find everything OK?” And actually, that IS a good question for a cashier to ask, because it can lead to increased sales and customer satisfaction.

If you (as a customer) don’t like the policy, take it up with management. The employees have no recourse and no choice in the matter–if they don’t hawk, they get disciplined and eventually fired. You don’t have to tell a manager in person every day that you’re unhappy about it, but if you make a regular habit of sending in nicely-worded pissy letters to corporate every week, you might actually make a difference.

But just a note for the OP: being a retail cashier does not immunize you against accountability for sales metrics. The only low-level place I’ve worked that didn’t require me to upsell was a college fast-food restaurant. I’ve worked at Joann Fabrics, where the cashiers have to get a certain number of customers to sign up for the company’s coupon newsletter every week. When I worked as a Blockbuster cashier, we had a designated upsell item of the month–usually candy or movie passes. At a mall clothing store, we had to attempt to open as many new credit accounts as we possibly could, as well as getting customers to remember us well enough to put our name on their sale (and if a customer you helped didn’t remember your name or didn’t care, then the manager took credit for the sale by default–god, that job was awful). Although I’ve never worked there, Walgreens does this too: they hawk candy bars at checkout all the freakin’ time. At Best Buy they have to try and sell everybody *magazine subscriptions *at the register–and those rewards cards. eugh!

So yes, hawking crap nobody needs and rattling off one-size-fits-none scripts are pervasive at the retail level. If doing these things bothers you, then you aren’t cut out for front-line retail work–which is *not *a put-down, because I’ve worked a lot of retail and I sure as shit am not cut out for it. Retail work fits a certain personality type very well… I am reminded of a set of twins who worked at a local grocery store with me in high school. Only just sufficiently intelligent to do the job, but not smart enough to question even the most mundane and ridiculous policy, liked making small talk with customers about nothing terribly interesting, generally happy with life, and dedicated enough to the job to engage in repetitive activities all day every day. I mean, these girls seriously *loved *their jobs (cashier and bagger, respectively). I would not be surprised if they were still working there 9 years later. Although on a personal level I found them very boring as people, there are a lot of people like them in the world. And they are the ones who are best-suited, permanently, to the retail environment.

I don’t mean to sound elitist. I think everyone who is capable of doing a job should have a job. But people need a job that *suits *them, well. Given that you don’t appear to fit the retail “type,” you can and should look for more fulfilling employment (and do your best to put up with the bullshit without exploding in the meantime). The solution: get promoted to manager so you can make *other *people read dumb scripts and upsell dumb merchandise, or work in a different sector (something non-customer-facing).

I think upselling is demeaning to the employee (unless you’re in sales where it’s part of your job description), but it *works *or else they wouldn’t waste time on it.

One of the grocery stores I patronize was collecting for March of Dimes or some such, and every time someone donated, they were supposed to announce “Another miracle at register <insert register number here>!!” Oddly enough, when it was my turn, the cashier didn’t ask if I wanted to donate. Another employee had come over and apparently it distracted her, so I was spared my usual response: “Not today.” When I was still working, the convenience store where I stopped for my morning caffeine was often festooned with cardboard cutouts of whatever the charity-of-the-week happened to be. If you donated a dollar, you got to write your name on the cardboard, and they’d tape it to the wall, or the windows, or the soda machines. It seems that letting people post their names in public is an effective method. Well, except with me…

Like Lynn, I have causes and charities that I support. While I may toss my spare change into a bucket when a group is soliciting outside a store, I really hate the mandated fund drives in retail establishments. It’s almost but not quite as annoying as forced friendliness among the “associates.” My husband and I went into Lowe’s last week, and as we entered, we were trying, in vain, to think if we needed something other than what we were there for. It felt like every 2 steps, someone in a red vest was all smiley and “Hey how ya doin’ can I help you find anything…?” If you want to greet me that way once, that’s fine, but please don’t have every.single.employee ask me every.single.time.they.pass.me!!!

I don’t know why corporate drones set these policies - obviously they’ve never shopped themselves. I also have to wonder, regarding the collections, if the store gets a cut. I know that an awful lot of groups that collect for “charity” take a cut for “administrative expenses” and sometimes it’s obscenely large. Otherwise, why would they put so much effort into it?? Hmmmmmmm… :dubious:

Because they work. Upper management sees things strictly in terms of a balance sheet. It’s the same reason pop-up ads are everywhere on the internet. Even if it only works on a small margin of people (say, 3%), it’s enough to offset the time and capital invested with a profit. And pretty much nobody gets annoyed enough to stop shopping at places where it happens, and it happens pretty much everywhere anyway so where are you going to go? Curse the customers with highly disposable incomes (or merely less sense than money), if you must. Companies don’t have an obligation to refrain from annoying their customers.

What really annoys me at Safeway/Vons supermarkets here in California is that the display on the credit card swipe machine asks me if i want to make a donation, and then, after i press “No,” the cashier also asks me.

I mentioned to one cashier that i had already declined their generous offer on the keypad, but she said that they have to ask about the donation anyway.

It’s fucking ridiculous.