A response to grocery cashiers’ donation requests

Here at the Advocate, we are big supporters of neighborhood nonprofits. We like to highlight ways neighbors can help neighbors in the “What gives?” segment, and we also have an Advocate Foundation to support neighborhood schools and nonprofits.

Still, I couldn’t help but identify with a question in The Atlantic‘s July/August “What’s Your Problem” column, and giggle at Jeffrey Goldberg’s sarcastic response:

Every time I go to the supermarket, the checkout person asks me if
I would like to donate an extra dollar for children with cancer. I want
to support charity, but I don’t want to be confronted like this when I
go shopping. What should I say?
H. W., Arlington, Va.

Dear H. W.,

You should say “I’d love to, but I’m late for my massage.” Or “I
can’t today, I have to get my Range Rover detailed.” Or, alternatively,
“How do I know that you and your fellow Safeway clerks aren’t going to
spend the money on hookers and blow?”

Many of us have experienced the questioner’s scenario, and though I greatly admire efforts by both individuals and businesses to give back to the community and want to support those efforts, I’m also somewhat of a stickler for finding out what exactly I’m supporting and where the money goes. So I politely decline these requests, and feel like a bad person when I do. If Goldberg’s answer strikes a chord with others, maybe I’m not alone.

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