Enough with the @#$!%#! Grocery Store Entrance Fundraisers


Am I the only person who is completely sick of the people hanging out at the front of the grocery store soliciting money for every conceivable charitable function?  I mean, once in awhile is OK – but it seems more and more that every fucking time I go to the store, there is someone blocking my way in or out with a can and a story.  I just want to go in, get my bottle of rum and get the hell home already.

It seems that these solicitation stories fall under one of three categories: 

The Shady M&M Guys

 What is up with those M&M guys?  First off, it never seems to be for anything specific.  It’s just, “Hey… wanna buy some M&Ms?”  Why am I buying M&Ms at a 200% markup from you for when I can get them inside?  Why are they always Peanut M&Ms?   Where did you come from?  Why do you scare me?  Somehow I think that a giant ship container full of Peanut M&Ms was stolen sometime in 1987  and they are still making the rounds today.

Local High School Fundraiser

This is what I was subjected to yesterday. Sullen teens with gum (usually girls for some reason) stand outside the door and act completely bored while explaining what lame cause they are involved in. It’s usually something ridiculously small (new paint for the girl’s locker room) or way too big (world hunger!) .  I always get the feeling that this is some sort of punishment for talking in class or something rather than concerned young people doing good in the community.  I guess that’s the cynic in me, but I bet if you asked one of them what Darfur was, they would think it was a pair of $250 jeans or something.

 Old School

This category covers your Rotary Club spaghetti dinners, Salvation Army bell-ringers, Lion’s Club pancake breakfasts, Girl Scout Cookies, Firemen with the big boots, Greenpeace, people running for local office, those weird Asian ladies with the nurses’ uniforms (what the hell is that one, anyway?) etc. etc.  It’s not that I have a problem with these types of charities, but more that it seems they are there a lot more often than I remember in the past.  It’s almost as if they all have a Master Calendar that lists what charity can work what Jewel on what date.  Imagine the awkwardness if the Lion’s Club was there there the same day as the Purple Heart Veterans?

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean to dis any one charity, or those that volunteer their time and energy to such causes, but there are other ways to raise money and/or awareness than to accost me at the store.  Especially when it’s every single fucking day.

OK, yes, I give them money.  What do you think I am… an asshole? 


3 thoughts on “Enough with the @#$!%#! Grocery Store Entrance Fundraisers

  1. It’s just like anything else in life; somebody finds out that something works, so then a few people copy that person, and it still works, so a few more people copy them, until pretty soon you got an army of people trying to make a living off what used to be a pretty good gig for the first innovator who thought “hey, why work? I’ll just beg…”

    You’re fortunate that you don’t have to endure the bums that wait outside the train station in Chicago every day. On a typical day, rain, shine, sleet or snow, there are 5 “morning” bums in their spots on the bridge over the Chicago river at Washington. There are also “evening” bums in their regular spots, and there are also “freelance” bums who will work different sides of the street, different corners in the loop, etc.

    They’ve got slightly different collateral, such as a hand-scrawled “disabled vet” or “just plain hungry” cardboard sign, or a big “I’m blind” Jesus poster, or just your basic shaking the cup with the old “how about a little help today?” refrain.

    From my observations (about 250 days a year, 2x per day), there are 4 basic types of people who continue funding these bums: 1. The regular bleeding heart person, who generally gives to the same bum all the time. 2. The occasional person who just made a killing trading commodities or suing somebody in court and is feeling magnanimous. 3. The average tourist who sees the bum for the first time and thinks “gee, the poor fella, he’s a blind/hungry/homeless/disabled/veteran down on his luck, I should help.” And 4. the suburbanite who takes the train downtown for a cubs/sox/bulls/bears game once a year and thinks “gee, the poor fella… (see #3.)”

    Anyway, the grocery store beggars, the suburban intersection beggars, and the downtown train station beggars will continue to accost us as long as they can make a decent buck out of the deal, which apparently is pretty much 365 days a year now.

  2. That brings back memories… When I used to live downtown I used to know all my neighborhood homeless and panhandlers.

    I lived in the Clark & Belden neighborhood for about four years and remember the homeless twin ladies that would always be milling about between Fullerton and Armitage. They were mean and crazy, demanding money – and if you didn’t give them any, they would spit on you. (Now that’s marketing!)

    But, I never saw them anywhere else except Clark between Fulllerton and Armitage. It was almost like they all had their “territories” mapped out somehow.

    Some of them I do feel bad for, as they are truly homeless and most of the time mentally ill. But, lately there is this new breed of panhandler that is in his early to mid 20s and has figured out they can make more in a day panhandling than actually holding a job. I saw a story about this in a magazine or something awhile ago. After a full day of panhandling, they go back to their nice upscale apartment, take a shower, and go out on the town with their friends – courtesy of you and me. It’s very odd – and annoying.

  3. No you’re not an asshole. I DON’T give them money because I pay too much for groceries and don’t have money left over for them and they really don’t help the community which is the whole purpose when they’re in your face for money. These charitible organizations spend more on the people running them than on the cause.

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