YOUR MONEY-Checkout Charity: Get ready for the cash register ambush

Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:41pm EST
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(The writer is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.)

By Chris Taylor

NEW YORK Nov 24 (Reuters) - First, Samantha Kemp-Jackson started noticing something unusual at the local grocery store.

Then it started happening to the Toronto mom of four at the department store. Then the liquor store. Then, pretty much everywhere else.

She was getting hit up for a charitable donation at pretty much every cash register she encountered. And it was driving her bananas.

"I'm a big supporter of charities, but I think this is a totally unfair way of gathering funds," says Kemp-Jackson, a communications executive who also runs a parenting blog.

"They're relying on the fact that you're caught off-guard, and embarrassed, and don't want to look like Ebenezer Scrooge to the people behind you in line," adds Kemp-Jackson. "It's an ambush - and I don't think that's cool."

Cool or not, consumers are getting used to the increasing prevalence of checkout charity. An analysis of more than 60 of the most prominent such fundraising campaigns found that they brought in $358 million in 2012, according to consulting firm Cause Marketing Forum.

Among the companies in the report that fundraised for charity at the cash register were boldface names like eBay , Walmart and McDonald's.   Continued...