Alexander Averin

Monday, 17 September 2012


(Warning: I apologise in advance because this post contains far too many anyways). 

I went to Morrisons on Saturday morning  and when  I arrived at the till the checkout lady asked if I would like help with my packing.  I declined her offer as I had M with me and although we had got a lot of shopping in our trolley it was not as much as I sometimes have so thought we would cope nicely.  There was (then) no-one behind us in the queue and anyway I always refuse to be rushed, having  usually spent a small  fortune with their company and being a fairly regular customer I will take as long as I like thank you( I even buy petrol  from them too – and it is an 80 minute round trip just to shop there).

Anyway, as we started packing I saw there was a girl at the end of the conveyor belt with the customary bucket and I realised that yet again here was someone collecting from some charity or other.  I still didn’t want help with packing as I had  not that long ago decided not to feel coerced into this from of charity giving.  I am becoming increasingly irritated by these people attaching themselves to the checkouts, getting in my way and trying to make me feel beholden to put money in their damned buckets.  I know I am not alone as several of the borrowers at the library have voiced similar concerns.

Let’s get it straight, I do give to certain charities and like to think of myself as kind and caring. I have even worked as a volunteer years ago for Save the Children.  However, only recently M had to phone Morrisons to complain about the charity collectors approaching him on his entrance or exit from their store –.  I have also been approached and on principle I ignore them.  Anyway, the staff member from Morrisons said that they have a policy of not letting  collectors go within a certain distance of members of the public.  This seems fair enough if it is adered to.  So why have collectors on every checkout right up close with their damned buckets.

Anyway back to Saturday – we finished our packing – M politely asking the girl to move out of our way so we could pack (!) - she only looked about fourteen.  I could then see written on her bucket what she was collecting for, it was the local High School’s Geography and Business Studies department (s)!

Is it me?  I thought we paid for education in our Council Tax – I know the bulk of our council tax goes to education in this area (and it’s a lot of money). Good thing.  Education is, (well should be) the basis of a humane and well functioning society.  So why on earth should I want to give money to a local high school which gets money from the State, one my granddaughters don’t attend anyway and even more to the point -  where and how the hell is the money going to be spent? When I was at school teachers were paid to teach and we learned. End of story.

And Business Studies? Will Morrisons have buckets at their exits asking for charitable donations to run their business next?  It is not exactly entrepreneurial to beg with a bucket while using a form of emotional blackmail to get people to part with their money (or is it nowadays? Perhaps I am missing something). I would prefer it if my grandchildren spent their free time studying (when not relaxing) and not going out fundraising for their education.  Am I missing something here?

I would have thought that these students, if they had to stoop to such activities, would have gained more by going to supermarket and other business fatcats and asking them for money, instead of targeting the low paid, the unemployed and the old age pensioners – this county (and country) is full of them - let those with all the money support proper charities with donations or sponsorship. But isn’t that what the (ex public school boy) Cameron wants – the end of State control and to let Big Business and Big Brother run the world in their own way.  

Anyway, the upshot of this was that when we had finished packing,  M felt sorry for this girl and ended up giving her some money after all –even though  he had no idea what she was collecting for (!) - and on our way home a row about it ensued between him and me -  so it was not a good start to my weekend.

Where will it end I wonder? Should  folk go begging at checkouts for help with dental treatment costs or operations which they being made to wait for because they can’t afford to go private.   Or money to save public libraries or public toilets.

What do you think? Do you think I am heartless?

Go mbeannai Dia duit,


Anonymous said...

No, you are not heartless. This is a form of emotional blackmail to my mind. They make you feel sorry for them so you part with money, even though what they are collecting for may not fit in with your charitable donations ethos, and even if you really can't afford it that day.
I give to certain local charities, or a local branch of a national charity and have been a volunteer with our local hospice. Like you say, it makes you wonder just what they wanted for the school... if they are that hard up, why aren't the parents organising fund-raisers, or why don't they approach the lottery fund or some such?
Your views, which I agree with, may seem out of date to a younger generation, it seems that standards across the board are slipping, things ain't what they used to be that's for sure, but the sad thing is, nobody seems to mind really. What would have seemed unacceptable a decade or two ago, is now the norm and we are expected to just move with the times and accept it. Change is sometimes good, but unfortunately, sometimes not good at all.

Mac n' Janet said...

No you are not heartless, I will not let myself be emotionally blackmailed into donating when I don't want to.
I was a teacher and I often complained about the money making things our PTA wanted us to do- it was not my job to collect picture money, ask for donations, collect and distribute orders that students had sold. I refused to do it all.
When my own daughter was in school I was outraged when she, among the rest of the students, was asked to go door to door selling stuff. I wouldn't let her do it.
I give to 3 main charities and I do it on a regular basis, as well as making donations to Goodwill.
Enough is enough!

Vee said...

No, you're not heartless. I wouldn't at all appreciate having charities collecting at the end of the grocery lane either. (You have to bag your own groceries?) On the other hand, my opinion is that capitalism far preferable to a state-run system.

Elizabeth said...

I can see how you were fed up with this!
I am quite happy to give to people collecting for charities on the street.
I wouldn't like it inside a shop.
In the US sometimes they ask you at the supermarket if you want to add $1 for Diabetes or Cancer or Citiharvest to your bill. I usually say yes.
But here they try to get you on the street and make you give your bank account number to give every month....
Charitable giving is such a fraught subject.
I'm rambling! Sorry!

Frances said...

Are you heartless? Definitely not.

In her comment Elizabeth has described various fund-raising methods in place over here. I do not contribute to any of those methods, preferring to make my own charitable contributions quietly, without provocation.

Of course, there are also many ways to make contributions that do not involve money!


Nan said...

Of course you are not heartless!! I like the term 'emotional blackmail.' The only comparable collectors here are at Christmas time, and I always just say I have no cash, which is true. My husband, a teacher, has always disliked the fundraising things the students have to do to raise money - selling fruits, candy, etc. It is the way of the world, because there isn't enough money to pay for things like field trips, etc. My local co-op has a monthly 'partner' to which we may give money but it is only in a little jar at the checkout - no real people there asking.
As for the 'bagging your own groceries' - we had never seen it till we visited England and Wales in 1992. I actually like bagging my own, but over here there are people who do it. I wonder if the groceries would cost less if they didn't hire baggers.

Deb said...

I've become quite hardened to these tactics. I think I might ring the school to complain about their use of students to cajole money out of supermarket patrons. Surely this is not even a legitimate charity. However, even "legitimate" charities are in the habit of blocking the entrance to my local Tesco. Not to mention the door to door callers who ignore my written admonition to bugger off. Charity is indeed personal and we should give to those organizations we love and care about and not cede to pressure.

lifeinredshoes said...

You have every right to feel the way you do! Here in my neck of the woods, USA, we now have beggars at every freeway offramp and in the parking lots of business's. I want to roll down my window and ask them where their W2's are!Those are income tax forms here in the states :)

Leanne said...

hello cait. i had to leave a comment to say that i wholeheartedly agree with you, this kind of passive aggressive chair collective drives me nuts too.

I had a knock on my door the other week. i had just got home, soaking wet, the cats were yelling for food because i was late. I opened the door to a young woman who treed to involve me in inane chat about something or other. I asked her politely what she wanted and she said she was collecting for deaf children. Politely i said no thankyou and went to close the door. oh, you dont care about deaf children then, she snapped as she walked away. i was furious! I do givew to charity, the charities of my choice,. i do not want to be guilt tripped into giving by a rude young woman, no doubt with a set donation target to reach!

Leanne x