by Chris Shugart
I’ve become increasingly annoyed by the number of consumer establishments who ask me to donate to some cause while I’m standing at the cash register trying to pay for my items. Every time I have to listen to a checkout clerk ask me to donate to whatever charity their store headquarters has deemed worthy, it kind of ticks me off. It’s disingenuous at best. It’s corporate fakery at worst.
Contrived displays of organized generosity have become a commonplace marketing trend. The formula must now be familiar to just about everyone: Find a worthy cause and turn it into a PR campaign. This usually involves forcing company employees to solicit donations from their customers. Hey, call me cynical. But when a Radio Shack clerk who doesn’t know multiple sclerosis from multiple personality disorder asks me to contribute to some charity he could care less about, pardon me if I’m not impressed.
It can get a little embarrassing when you’re standing in line at the grocery store with everyone watching and the checkout clerk asks you if you’d like to contribute to Shoppers Together Fighting Uremia (STFU). Community peer pressure isn’t my idea of a pleasant customer experience.
Nowadays it seems like all of corporate America wants to be recognized as the nice guys with a big heart. And for the most part I think the consumers are buying into it. Personally, I’d be more convinced if just a few pseudo benevolent executives tried doing some of their own footwork for a change. Now that would be a noble gesture.