Pennies for Change Concerns
I have been a Co-op member since the early 1980s? and have been a passenger and participant in and through all sorts of fun and trouble.
Recently it has come into focus for me how seriously elitist this organization is. Always has been, clearly…but I kind of liked being part of a special thing. Now it’s seeming just mean and ugly.
Asking for “rounding up” at the registers is essentially a way of economically shaming people in a public way. In the past, until recently, I never gave this much thought, just said “why, certainly,” and left without change, over and over again. Now, I’m saying “NO” loudly, and describing, why, and at some point I will threaten a class action lawsuit.
The fact is that this is a way to extort money from people who may or may not be reasonably able to give to charity. The matter of free choice is clouded by the presence of spectators at the checkout counters where the decision “to give or not to give” is made. This public situation, the presence of onlookers, makes it impossible for people to freely decide whether or not to make a gift.
I’m very disturbed by this situation. This sort of “please round up” pressure will soon be illegal, I hope.
Do the right thing, and lead the way. Stop this unreasonable and unfair pressure. Those who wish to make charitable donations, and who are able to do so, will fill your coffers according to their abilities and interests.
Hi and thanks so much for your candid feedback.
I’m genuinely sorry to hear the program elicited such strong negative feelings in you. But I’m thankful to hear it, too. We don’t know these sorts of things unless someone is thoughtful enough to take the time to share it, so I really appreciate you doing that. I wish more people would! Just recently I was at a restaurant with a friend who muttered his scathing discontent about something under his breath. I said, “Hey! They’re just people. Their intentions are good and they don’t know it affected you this way. Why don’t you just tell ’em?” He looked at me like I was from another planet and that was that.
So thank you again for telling us. (I love your opening line, by the way, about being a passenger and participant in and through all sorts of fun and trouble. That’s really well said. I’m somewhat of a long-time member myself and know the feeling.) Most people who work at the Co-op are also long-time members and we’re always evaluating what we do and trying to make improvements. So your feedback is really important and I’ll be sure to share it with others involved with the program.