Wednesday, November 17, 2010

To Event Organizers, Retailers, Others: On asking for donations

A letter appeared in one of our local papers at the end of September. Anyone who organizes cultural, political, charity or other events for which the charge for admission is 'by donation', and any store owners who engage in trying to collect donations at the till, should read it:

Cashier: "That'll be [amount] oh, and would you like to donate [dollars] to [whatever]?" I just went in to buy some lumber, groceries, post a letter, etc. and I run afoul of a gouging, intimidating method of squeezing money out of me [and you] thought up by some nefarious shrink.

You see, if the cashier asks you in front of a queue of people, you'll think twice before saying "no" right? You might appear to be mean! The elderly in particular may well be intimidated into saying "yes." From Mill Bay to Duncan only my bank and one hardware store have not offended me in this way.

Peter Bell, Cobble Hill

Seems Mr. Bell's letter made enough of an impression on the Cowichan Valley Citizen that the link to it still appears on the front page of the paper's website.

Good on them.

It's a well-known point among people in households of the lowest income to avoid any events for which "by donation" is the entry fee; it almost always translates into an expectation, if not an outright demand for payment. The latter happened to me not that long ago.

As for requests for donation at the till, I quietly mutter "no," with head down and shoulders hunched and turned away from the people queued behind me.

Mr. Bell is right. It is embarrassing, regardless of whether one is accosted for a 'donation' at an event or a store line-up.

1 comment:

Daphne Moldowin said...

To me, it is begging. Almost the same as pan-handlers on the street. At least with pan-handlers, you know EXACTLY where the money goes.