Aug 31 2010

Donation solicitations at the cash register


Has this happened to you?

You’re strolling up to a cash register to make your purchase. The cashier rings you out and asks, “Would you like to donate $1 to (some charity)?”

You weren’t planning on spending an extra dollar. You aren’t even completely sure of the cause in question. But it’s just a dollar, and you’d feel like a jerk if you said, “no.”

Or maybe, you refuse donations without thinking twice.

Whichever the case, I think these types of solicitations are incredibly annoying.

Yesterday, I went into Family Christian Bookstore and I was barraged with several bits of upselling. It was insane!

First, I asked the clerk where I might find a particular book. She pointed me to it, and then brought me another related book that was “only” $5. Ok, no thanks.

At the checkout, she pointed me toward the $5 “members-only” section so I could look over this month’s deals.

Next up was her asking if I wanted to pre-order a new VeggieTales movie and get another triple-feature movie for free.

Then, she wanted to know if I wanted to donate a Bible to a prisoner in the Allegheny County jail. The donation cost $5 and purchased a Bible from the “members-only” section. Wait a minute. If the company was truly being philanthropic about it, wouldn’t they offer those Bibles for sale at their own cost, instead of at their retail price? So that seemed sorta off to me.

Last, she wanted to know if I would round up my purchase to the nearest dollar to donate money to the flood victims of Pakistan.

Good GRIEF! All I wanted was one book. And I’m hit with all these sales pitches/donations requests.

And you know what?  I was so caught off-guard and wasn’t really thinking it through, because I did buy a Bible to donate. And I did buy the VeggieTales pre-order. I figured, wow, 4 VeggieTales movies for $13 total — I could use those when the baby comes to keep Johnny entertained when I can’t give him my full attention.

So yes, I am a sucker.

But I left feeling really icky about the whole thing. I emailed customer service and they said they’d forward my complaint to management.

In the future, I will just say “no.” I don’t really care if I look cheap or ungiving. I’m not. I donate plenty of money and goods to charities that I’ve taken the time to research.

How can I know if XYZ charity will actually make good use of my donation? I can’t know that when I’m put on the spot. And I don’t need to be encouraged to make impulse purchases.

What do you do in these situations? Which places bug you for donations?

More on the topic here and here.

Aug 30 2010

I’m back! Here’s some miscellany


My trip to visit family in Indiana was extended by almost a week. While we were there, my great-grandmother was in increasingly poor health and she passed away last Sunday. She lived to be 99 years old! I am so fortunate to have known her, and for my son to have met her. It’s pretty neat to have a 5-generation family photo. We will miss her. I told her before she died that I knew where she was going and that I’d see her again someday.

Since I took a pretty extensive blogging break, I didn’t really know how best to jump back in. So here’s a few tidbits:

  • Because of my late return to Pittsburgh, I wasn’t able to get yard sale stuff together in time for my friend’s sale on Saturday. I added up what I thought I’d get if everything sold (not likely) and it just wasn’t that much money. We filled my trunk and part of the back seat and I dropped it off at a thrift store.
  • I couldn’t leave the thrift store empty-handed! I picked up 5 items of clothing (2 skirts and 3 cardigans) and a pair of shoes (I never am able to find shoes I like in my size at thrift stores!). The clothes were $1 a piece and the shoes were $4. Perhaps I’ll share some pics in an upcoming post.
  • I let 4 of the items air dry on a drying rack near an opened window. It took almost 20 hours for them to be dry! I wrung them out and put them in the dryer for about 15 minutes first, too. It’s just damp in our apartment.
  • I need to do one more purge-0f-stuff before December gets here. There isn’t a whole lot left that I think I’ll want to part with, but surely it will fill a large box or two. Then I can get more organized before the baby comes. It feels SO good to have less clutter around here!
  • Johnny was fiddling with my cell phone (which is usually locked) and he bought a song or something for $2.49. I can’t even find it on my phone! Oh well. I had my husband try and disable any future purchases like that.
  • Groceries are way cheaper in Indiana than here. My mother-in-law bought a gallon of milk for something like $1.77 or $1.88 at Sam’s Club. Here, I usually pay $3.50ish/gallon. Milk prices are regulated by the state, ugh. We go through 5+ gallons per week, so the cost difference really does add up. And my mom bought a small bag of Goldfish crackers on sale for $0.88 at Kroger. I’ve never seen them for less than $2 at the Giant Eagle here.
  • In June, I started the Bible in 90 Days reading plan. I have just a few days left and then I will have read it cover-to-cover! It’s a first for me. I could never stay focused long enough for those year-long plans.
  • I have a lot of books on my shelf that I’ve never read. Some are review copies, books I’ve picked up at thrift stores or from PaperBackSwap. I need to whittle down my to-read list before I bring any more books home. Anyone else have that problem?

Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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