My local supermarket, Waitrose, has this great scheme where once you have paid for your goods, they give you a green token. On your way out, there are three boxes in which you can place your token. Each box represents a local charity and after so many weeks, the charities are changed. The tokens inside the boxes are counted and each charity gets an amount of cash proportionate to what was left in the box. It’s a great idea and should mean that local charities are benefiting from local people.
But that’s where it fails. Waitrose, being a ‘finer quality’ store is too pricey for a whacking great number of residents in my community. Most people I know don’t go to Waitrose as we have a Tesco and Asda nearby as well. I would guess that the average consumer at Waitrose is middle class, white and middle-aged upwards.
Even if I never entered the store, you can tell this from the boxes of green tokens and how the tokens are distributed. Today for example, there is a box for arthritis sufferers, dementia sufferers and a box for volunteers teaching young children to read. Both the first two boxes have double the amount that the third has and this has been repeated time and time again. Charities that work with children and young people, especially teenagers, have done badly against the charities that I guess the shoppers can see themselves needing at some point! Which seems to me as taking some of the ‘charity’ out of the giving.
I’m not saying that arthritis sufferers don’t deserve a lot of help – they do. What Iam questioning is whether this scheme is flawed because what may be a priority for the local community might not be reflected in this system because waitrose draws in people from a huge area and they are mostly of a different social class to the local area.
I am trying to work how whether this can be improved. I don’t think it’s a bad scheme at all – in fact, I think it’s very good. I don’t know whether they should place similar charities together so every now and then at least one young people’s charity will do well – any suggestions would be lovely as I think I might pass them on to Waitrose.
Any ideas anyone?