Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Charities stand vigil at checkout counter

Haim (Jumes) and Nili Oron plant a tree. Haim ...Image via Wikipedia
Planting a tree.

At Costco in Hackensack, you're asked if you want to contribute to a children's hospital. At IKEA in Paramus, you can ring up your own purchases and, for $1, plant a tree.

At these and other stores, charities have their hands out -- and customers who might be spending liberally on food or throw pillows, don't want to seem cheap.

I haven't been asked to contribute to a charity at ShopRite recently, and I've never been asked at Trader Joe's or Fairway Market in Paramus. (The latter two also don't give you anything for a reusable bag.)

Last Friday, I shopped for food at Costco and was asked to contribute to a children's hospital whose name I can't recall. I gave $5.

The next day, I returned with my wife to make sure I bought the right silver ring she wanted for Mother's Day.

When I found myself behind shoppers with overstuffed baskets, I asked an employee who had a closed sign on her checkout counter if she would handle my single item -- the voucher for the ring.

Sure, she said, if I contributed $1 to the same hospital I gave to on Friday. Of course, I agreed, and upped that to $3.

I drove to IKEA today to get a $3.98 refund on two, unopened jars of herring that had loads of sodium in them, and picked up two throw pillows, snack crackers my wife asked for and imported tubes of crab pate and smoked cod-egg spread.

At the self-checkout, I was asked for my zip code and if I wanted to plant a tree for $1. How could a tree-hugger like me refuse?

I don't even know if that's in the United States or Sweden.

About that imported herring with loads of sodium. I e-mailed the company last week, expressing my concern, and have heard nothing.
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