Saturday, November 15, 2014

Weekly Whine: Charity

A few days ago, I was at Barnes & Noble. I don't go to bookstores much anymore, but my mother was visiting and she wanted to buy some books for the kids, so we went.

We bought a few books, and while my mother was paying, the cashier mentioned a book drive for the poor that Barnes & Noble is doing. "Oh, that's great," I said. "So I can bring in books to donate?"

Apparently not. Apparently, you actually have to buy the book from Barnes & Noble, then the book is passed on to an underprivileged child.

I have seen supermarkets do similar things. They have a bunch of items that you can buy from them, then the items are donated to charity. Except I don't understand how this is not the store exploiting poor people to make money. Because I would've been buying the Barnes & Noble book at full price. Then they just pass the book on to charity. I could just as easily donate an old book to charity myself.


  1. Yeah, it's exploitation.

    It's like all the companies making pink items under the auspices of giving a shit about breast cancer. Many don't make any contributions to Komen, and many others only give a teeny tiny amount.

    I think the best way to donate, if you aren't donating your time to do something like work in a soup kitchen, is to write a check and send it directly to the charity you want to support. Then you have cut out any and all middlemen who are profiting from the cause.

  2. It'd be one thing if they were charging their cost (no profit) to make this donation. That'd be fine. But absolutely … they are collecting their normal profit margin? On your dime? If they wanted to make a real contribution to charity they could get more bang of your buck by not skimming the top of your "donation!" That is awful.

    1. Ah, but if they charge their cost, then the customer will know how much they mark up the books, which will in turn cost them business because if you had any idea what their mark-up is........

    2. The bottom line is that like most companies, it's just method 10,487 of convincing you to open your wallet and spend. I'm sure there are teams of psychologists employed by big business to figure out ways of leveraging every emotion you might have into improving their profits.

  3. In the spirit of Christmas, I wrote a short poem. It's entitled: "Disposable."

    Throw it out, replace it, get me a new one soon.
    Throw it out, don't save it, it takes up too much room.
    Play the game, now change it, for it's the thing to do.
    And should you break it, you can buy one all new brand new.

  4. In response to your "What is the deal" tweet, picking on anyone's imperfections
    is an insecure person's way of making themselves feel important. If I'm a "decision
    maker". judge of others, then I have power. However, putting oneself on a pedestal,
    is not a natural place to be. I am not a religious person, but only God has the right
    to judge others as only He knows the complexities that makes us who we are.
    So, the next time you see someone or hear someone displaying this type of behavior, understand it's not coming from a good place.

  5. this made me feel better since I usually decline such soliciting. Agree with above commenters.

  6. If it really was about donating a book to charity and they were setting an example of charity, then they would do something along the lines of pay 50% of a books RRP and they would then match your donation and 'pay' for the other half of the book-then I would be more inclined to participate in things like this....