I came across a situation today that I would love to hear your opinions on!
I was visiting my local shopping centre and made my way into a newsagents to buy a few things I needed. I’m heavily pregnant and was hoping to get in and out as quickly as possible so I could make my way home and put my feet up! Upon entering the shop, I noticed a charity worker had been positioned inside the store at the entrance/exit and was asking each person upon leaving for a few moments of their time to donate some money toward Dementia Support. Whilst browsing, I heard the charity worker ask each and every individual that attempted to leave “before you shoot off – did you know dementia/Alzheimer’s *insert fact about how common it is*”. ALL customers that were targeted when leaving were quite abrupt to the charity worker and replied with a “no” or a “not interested” and squeezed past him to leave.
I soon realised that there was no way I could simply leave the shop without having to interact with the charity worker as he was blocking the door whilst he approached each and every customer. I paid for my items and made to leave – and of course, he stands in my way and starts asking me about my knowledge of dementia and whether or not I am willing to donate a monthly sum to the cause. I didn’t want to be rude to this man – my grandad is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and it’s devastating to watch a man I saw (and still see) as a father figure fade more and more each day. I also understand that CW is doing his job so for me to respond with a brisk “Not interested” didn’t feel right. I was tired and wanted to get home and having my exit blocked by someone wanting me to pay money each month was just irritating and a bit rude, I thought.
I was polite to the CW but I feel my mistake was telling him that my Grandad has the disease and as a family, we live and breathe it with him day in day out (we are very close). He took this as an opportunity to push the fact that I should be giving money each month to the cause. I was caught off guard and felt incredibly guilty for my comment – “I would rather not sign up to a monthly plan at this time but Thank you”. The CW looked at me as though I was a horrible person for being directly effected and not putting my hand in my pocket. He mumbled a “oh.. ok..” and moved out of my way so I could leave.
I feel I could have handled this better but I’m not sure how. Admittedly, I just wanted to get home and CW wasn’t going to let me out until I’d given him a good enough reason to be LET out, it seems. I find street charity workers approaching me when I’m walking very uncomfortable and awkward.
My question to you lovely people is – how do you handle this type of situation? Is there a polite way to DECLINE giving to charity?! (Not that I’m adverse to doing so! I give to a few different causes regularly but just not in this “sign up on a street corner or in a public place” way). 0531-18
And the shop manager didn’t have a problem with his customers being confronted in this manner?
He may be doing a job but how he’s doing that job is a matter of his own choice. I can’t imagine a legitimate charity wanting the face of their organization to be that of manipulation and physical blocking of a customer’s exit from a building. There is nothing wrong with a terse, “No, thank you” to someone whom you have no obligation to explain yourself and who is being a rude to the point of blocking your egress from the shop.