Many towns and cities in the U.S.A. have a branch of “Whole Foods Market”.
Whole Foods is an upscale supermarket where “organic” (whatever that means!) fruits, vegetables and meats are readily available.
Prices are high at Whole Foods. But the chain attracts a ready crowd of middle class, socially conscious, and health conscious shoppers. You will never find a branch of Whole Foods in the ghetto, or in a working class neighbourhood.
I was at Whole Foods today in search of some Fava (Broad) Beans which the store carries from time to time. I was out of luck for beans today, but since I was in the Market, I bought some Honeycrisp apples, and a hunk of my favourite French cheese (Morbiere). They are my middle class luxuries.
I dutifully carried a cloth bag, knowing that the princely sum of 10 cents would be taken off my bill as my “reward” for not using a store bag.
The bright young clerk/cashier asked me if I would forgo my 10c rebate, and instead allow Whole Foods to donate it to charity for the “less fortunate”.
My response was visceral. “No”, I said, “10c is a tip. But charity calls for sacrifice.”
She was a bit taken aback and countered that all the 10c’s would mount up.
Of course she had a point.
But when I make charitable donations I do so with these criteria in mind:
I need to know when, where, and how my donation will be used.
I prefer to have some personal commitment and involvement with the charity to which I donate.
I want my charitable gifts to impact my life, as well as the lives of the beneficiaries of my charity.
Ten Cents via Whole Foods does not fulfill any of these criteria.
It merely creates a “feel good” factor.
It will take more than a “donation” of 10c to make me feel good.
I might feel good if markets such as Whole Foods established branches in working class and poverty stricken neighbourhoods, and employed residents from those districts.