You might think I’m a social butterfly, and in the right circumstances I am – but grocery shopping is not a social experience in my bubble world. Typically I like to stick in some ear buds and listen to my iPod. I live in an eclectic area where many different cultures mesh in a moderate to low income standard of living. Shopping the isles of the big name grocery-all-purpose-store is an excruciating experience where most of your time is spent in the check out line, so I’ve been compromising and doing half of my shopping at a grocery only, slightly nicer supermarket. Sure it costs me a little more and I get drawn in by fancy labels of products you don’t find in the big name grocery-all-purpose-giant, but it’s a more economic way to spend my time shopping at the nicer supermarket.
At least until Saturday. On one hand I’m laughing and the other I’m irritated.
A lot of stores have begun asking you to donate money to a cause during the check out process. I hate this. I hate, hate, hate to the point that if someone asked me to sign a bill to make it unlawful, I’d ask to be a spokes person. I dislike peer pressure to an extreme. I also feel that things like giving money to charity is a personal choice and not one to be forced on unsuspecting people. With that said, I understand specialty stores like pet boutiques asking for money for animals. I give $1 at least every time I go buy Chinchilla food. However, grocery shopping?
I haven’t said this publicly, because I don’t think it’s anyone’s business but to prove a point I’m going to tell you a little secret. I give a sum of money to charity each year. I don’t brag about it, I don’t talk about it, because I’m not doing it to prove how much better I am than anyone else. I do it because I believe in the cause and purpose of the charity.
Now, lets look at the grocery shopping experience. During the check out process you’re asked to donate money, possibly in front of a line of people. If you say no everyone is going to think you’re an ass because you don’t want to help save women with crooked fingers or something. If you say yes it’s probably not because you feel strongly about helping women with jacked up fingers, it’s because you want to look good in front of others or just get out of the grocery store faster.
I know it’s a marketing technique that probably raises a lot of money for the charity, but it doesn’t build supporters. It builds animosity and makes me not want to shop at that store.
I wish this had been the only thing to happen at the store today. I would have groused about about the pressure to give to charity and that would have been it.
While checking out the person bagging my purchase – refused to give me my bags. The bagger held onto my bags and began asking me about my beliefs, wanting to know what church I went to and if she would see me ‘at the end’.
I respect beliefs greatly. I might not agree with what you believe, but I’ll respect your right to believe differently. I don’t like to argue beliefs, I love a good intellectual discussion, but hardcore conversion techniques turn me off. Explaining what I believe, why and how that works in practice isn’t something that can be done at the check out register at the supermarket. Holding my groceries hostage and expecting me to tell a complete stranger deep, dark secrets after I’ve already felt peer pressure to do something I don’t want to do – I’m thinking I’ll go grocery shopping elsewhere.