Here in the UK, charity collections at supermarket checkouts have become popular.
The idea is simple: one or two volunteers, usually youngsters, stand at the checkout where the bag dispenser is located. Of course, all this does is ensure that the said supermarket’s attempts to reduce our reliance on plastic bags is wasted effort, but that’s another debate to be had elsewhere.
The volunteers ask if you would like a hand packing your shopping into either store-provided bags or your own bags if you remember to take them into the store with you. You then stand around looking like a lemon whilst children pack your bag on your behalf. The theory, and you are under no obligation I guess, is that you will then throw some cash into their collection bucket which is conveniently located at the till.
For those customer who pay by cash, this is probably an easy thing as they’re likely to have been given some change once the shopping has been paid for.
However, for those of us in the cashless society, I rarely have any change on my person. Indeed, I may well be a Scotsman, however that doesn’t make me mean and tight-fisted as my Countryman’s stereotype portrays. No sir, I like to chip in to the odd charity donation…
So my solution to this problem is simple. Most stores have a crib card for items that do not scan very well. This crib card contains bar codes for the problem products. I have suggested on more than one occasion, to both the stores and the leaders of the charity volunteers that there is a mechanism put in place for “scanning an extra £1” via a bar code. The extra £1 is added to the shopping bill. At the end of the day/week/whatever, the store issues the charity with the funds collected using the said bar code.
It’s win-win, the charity capture the cashless society, the supermarket are seen to be helping the charity.
Surely it’s simple? Why then, do I get a glazed look when I explain it to people?