DEAR MISS MANNERS: When did it become acceptable for merchants to solicit charitable contributions from their customers who are purchasing something?
It seems that everywhere I shop, I am now bombarded by the cashier asking if I want to donate money to some charity. Why is this acceptable, especially when these merchants won't allow other charities to solicit on their property?
It delays the line and puts customers in an uncomfortable position. How can I gently suggest that the merchant should not be asking me for extra money and that if he wants to solicit funds, he should stand in front of his store like everyone else?
GENTLE READER: Nonstop solicitation has joined nonstop advertising as a universal modern irritant, with the added bonus that those who object are lectured about the worthiness of the cause. ("How can you be so insensitive?")
Miss Manners would have thought that both would have stopped working years ago, but apparently not. A simple, "Thank you, no," is all the response that is required. Discomfort wears off with repetition, although Miss Manners has no objection to a charmingly worded letter to the merchant making your suggestion that all donations be moved to the curb.