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mask with the words guilt written all over it

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Throughout the year, but especially this season, almost every store where I shop there is a cashier asking me if I want to donate to one cause or another. They might as well say outright, “Would you like a little guilt with your purchase?” Replying “no” sounds so harsh, so I follow suit with other shoppers and say, “No, thank you,” as though they were offering me a cup of tea.

I feel like delineating my volunteer work and donations (in some cases, for the same charities for which they are collecting), but they wouldn’t care. The cashiers are just doing their job, smiling meekly as they recite from a script. They probably feel just as bad asking the question as customers do declining the overture. So I leave the store, only to be faced with a bake sale for an organization in need, or veterans asking for donations. On the way home, kids are flagging down cars to entice drivers to have their cars washed to raise funds for their school. I arrive home to find a card in my mailbox reminding me of an upcoming food donation pickup from the postal service along with other solicitation mailings. From the office, I receive email blasts calling for canned goods and clothing for community giving. On the phone, voice messages await with more pleas for contributions.

These are all good causes to be sure, and I do donate (there I go, sounding defensive), but am I the only one consumed with guilt for not being able to give to all?