Ask Ty...May 26 [The Point-of-Sale Donation Question]

It must be Tuesday, Middlespacers, because I'm answering your questions
Q: Dear Ty,

Is it me or is it impossible to go anywhere and buy anything without being asked at the checkout if you would like to donate to a cause?

It happens regularly at my grocery store.  I find it annoying but I remain friendly and simply decline.  Today it happened in the drive through at Taco Bell.  What the eff?

Can I not simply buy something without interference?

Is this a conspiracy to make me feel guilty for being successful?

Is this a conspiracy by FEDEX and UPS to make me want to buy everything online to avoid said stimulus?

I think I am going to continue politely declining but I will then counter-offer by asking the checkout person if they would like to donate to my child's college fund.

What do you think?

-Mister Stingy

Ty: Good question and an even better observation, Mr. Stingy. Not only does the old point-of-sale donation query perturb, it takes up about 15 additional seconds per transaction. Multiply that by number of transactions and you can begin to understand the sheer waste the point-of-sale donation query consumes. Time is important to me, don't waste my time.

Big corporations want to brand themselves as kind, gentle, and sensitive. Part of this genuinely insincere effort is the fake-thoughtful donation. Instead of leaving a jar for folks to put change into, the transaction script now includes, "Would you like to give a dollar to blind children of Kosovo?"

Now add to the point-of-sale donation query the scripts about "would you like to save 15% by opening a credit account today?" and the "do you have super shopper bonus savings card?" Sigh.

The immensity of wasted time, breath, and effort is astounding, Mr. Stingy. Big corporations can suck it. And this answer applies to non-individually-owned businesses.

I do like your counter offer, it is clever. It drives home the point. But, remember, cashiers have heard it all, from the polite decline to the enraged decline; and even the occasional sucker who is conned into leaving a dollar for nuclear whale rehabilitation. Nearly nothing you can say can phase.

Me? I just cold-stare the motherfuckers. They ask about some donation I look them in their eyes. They ask about a super deluxe premium club shopper card, I stare blankly. They ask me to open a credit account I stare through them. Steely, dead, dangerous.

I had snappy answers in the past: "Credit? Credit's for poor people." Or, "What's that?! Explain all the terms and conditions of your bonus discount shopper club." Or, "Sure. Can I have your phone number too?" Or, "I neither donate at a retail establishment as I would give money to hobos on the street." I even went as far as to say, "I know you have to say all this stuff, but also know you don't with me. It's cool, bro. Take a break."

"Literally it's 3030, mane. I don't got time to be wasting time...

on you slow pokes."

-Memory Loss, Deltron 3030

Now, counter with the coldest, most psychopathic stare. Unnerving, frightening, blank, void. The question--the solicitation--is beyond the scope of the interaction. I refuse to engage in bullshit. Nope. Not this mope. I act like I don't understand the words that are coming from your sales-hole. I have nothing to say about donations, telephone numbers, or discount club cards. I've wasted enough breath.

It's not about thrift, Mr. Stingy. It's about what is appropriate to ask in a retail setting. It's about civility, respect, and one's right to a semblance of privacy. I'm already giving you my money.

Worst is when a cashier asks, "Phone number?" I am frankly astonished how many people provide that information. It's like people are conditioned to give it up, as it it's part of the transaction. I used to answer with, "No." Now I stare icily into their eyes. They get it. Retail cashiers don't want to ask you for this shit, they are required to do it. I want them all to go back to their break rooms and tell their supervisors and team leaders, "People aren't responding to this."

What would Ron Swanson do? You tell me how much I owe. I will pay what I owe. I will then leave your store. I'm efficient that way. Better yet, where's the self check? Even

Just a guess.