The audacity of charity

Alright, I’ll be honest. I’ve had this topic lined up for a very long time now. More than half a year. I’m unsure why it’s taken me so long to actually sit down and write about it. Maybe it’s because it was such a big part of fueling my hatred for rampant capitalism. It’s no secret that I take umbrage with the way the world works. I’m not the only person either. Of course, there’s no real way not to participate in society until there’s a better alternative that is widely accepted. I can’t really just walk into the woods and go live in a tent. Someone owns all that land. I suppose if you’re committed enough you can find a place to do so in a different country but someone with my lack of, well, any skills would probably not do all that well. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to get by from book sales and I’ll finally be happy, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. No happiness today, only annoyance with charity.

Now, when I talk about the audacity of charity, I’m clickbaiting a little bit. I have no problems with the concept of charity besides the fact that it shouldn’t have to exist if the world were a better place. But it isn’t a better place so it should exist. What I want to talk about today is corporations trying to guilt you into supporting their charities that aren’t really charities. Now, what do I mean by that? It all started when I ordered a pizza from Dominos. That’s right, I’m calling you out personally, mediocre pizza joint that I order from more often than I’d like to admit. When I go to checkout, they’ll have a little box where you can fill in an amount of money you want to tip your deliverer. Now I have a lot of respect for delivery folk, it can be a hard job when the weather is tough, I know that from personal experience. Getting a tip could be a nice thing someone does for you. I’ve had people offer me snacks and something to drink while I was delivering mail in the cold or on particularly hot days. I generally decline because I come prepared and just want to be done with work as quickly as possible, but I appreciate the sentiment nonetheless. Having said that, tipping in a country where a lot of people make the same low wage, but tipping is only a thing for a few jobs that have tipping in countries like the US, who refuse to pay their employees a proper wage, makes no sense to me. But, it’s optional, so who am I to complain about it? That would be my stance if it stopped there. It doesn’t stop there.

When I go to the supermarket to get some fruit or vegetables, there used to be thin plastic bags to put the fruit and vegetables in. They’ve gotten rid of those and switched to reusable bags. In and of itself that’s not a bad thing. We use a lot of plastic where it’s not needed and cutting out the plastic we don’t really need is a much smarter solution than using metal straws or something. Seriously, who even uses straws? I’m sure there’s some people who need them for a good reason, but a vast majority of us can just drink from a glass like normal people. My problem with the plastic bags, and this extends to when we used to have free plastic bags at checkout and now no longer do, is that they charge for it. Supermarkets pretend to be doing this for the environment, but the main reason they’re doing it is to get some money out of it. If you cared about the environment, you’d phase out plastic bags altogether and tell customers to think of their own solution. But they don’t care. Point and case, the produce section has special bags you have to buy now, but they tried the same in the bread section, people presumably started buying less bread, and they went back to free plastic bags there. Much care for the environment.

But hold on, it gets worse. If this was all I ran into, I’d probably not complain about it in a blogpost. But there are two instances I find even more egregious and one of them started to appear only very recently. (Quick pat on my back, I think that’s the first time I wrote egregious correctly without needing autocorrect, now that’s personal growth.) Several websites will give me a popup at checkout, it’ll look something like this:

“Would you like to donate to x charity with your order? ”

“Would you like to pay 0.25€ to offset carbon emissions?”

And if neither of those were bad enough, Dominos started adding an extra charge to their orders for their energy bill. Are you out of your mind? Everyone’s energy bill has gone up. We’re having to pay attention to what we do as well and now you want us to pay you extra because you refuse to give up even the tiniest fraction of your profit margin? Look, I get that small businesses will struggle with energy bills, but an international pizza chain? Absolute bullshit.
Charity at checkout also pisses me off like that. I’m all about charity, I think it’s great when people decide to share their money with those who really need it. But a lot of charity is tax deductible. And to add to that, I don’t want some mass corporation to take credit for my charity. Maybe it’s just my bitterness, but I think asking all these extra charges at check-out is predatory at the very best and downright exploitative at the worst. It pisses me off every time I see it. It’s worse than the people who ring your doorbell because as much as I hate that, I am convinced that those people mean well and just want to do something good in the world. I don’t get that same feeling from Paypal or Dominos pizza.

But on the bright side, it looks like a New York Pizza is opening up in town, so maybe I can switch over to a different pizza chain. They’re definitely not as greedy right? Right? If only. I’m just curious at this point what others feel about this. Do you think it’s okay for companies to outsource their good deeds to their customers or do you think it’s a little bit ridiculous too? Let me know in the comments down below and thank you for letting me rant like this for a little while. It’s been pissing me off for far too long.

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