Diner Disturbed by Charitable Donation Request

September 16, 2012

in Diner Stories

At my restaurant where I am a server, we have a month where we try to raise money for St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Diners can raise anything from $1 on, and we are encouraged to ask every table. Most tables respond well and donate at least a dollar.

One woman, though, told me that, “My granddaughter has muscular dystrophy, so all my money will be going to that cause.” She then asked to remove the table tent that had the information about St. Jude off her table because she considered it offensive. You would think having a sick child would help her understand. I was appalled by her behavior.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

CC MCCART September 16, 2012 at 10:02 pm

My hubby has Stage 4 Lung Cancer so as you can imagine if I'm going to donate money it will be into cancer research. When I'm asked to donate to causes I always say Thank you for asking but no. I leave it at that. Some folks just have no manners at all. CHEERS, CC


Gregg September 16, 2012 at 11:46 pm

All the best to your hubby CC!


poco September 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Ahhh..Chilis. I gave five bucks there the other day.


Jody September 19, 2012 at 9:00 am

I donate through my preferred charities; in cases like this all it takes is a polite "no thank you" or "sorry I'm not interested." If I don't want to look at a table flyer I just put it behind the condiments so I can't see it. The only time I get offended is if the server gets pushy; I know they're just doing what they've been told to do, but I've already said "no."


imworthmysalt September 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I agree with Jody. The only thing worse than them getting pushy is if a cashier or server gets nasty when you politely decline. I have had some not speak one further word to me after I said "no thank you."


Jack September 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm

A restaurant trolling for cash donations, no matter how worthy the cause, is offensive to me. When I go out to eat I don't want a pushy server asking me to donate to a charity. That's just wrong. I would say "OK, here's XX$ that was going to be your tip, now get the hell away and bring me my food/drinks. There is a time and place for everything.


Evie November 1, 2012 at 8:55 am

Previous poster Jack sounds like just plain mean. I am a business professional who waited tables years ago. We had charity drives and were REQUIRED to ask if the diners wanted to donate. We certainly didn’t enjoy it and yes many horses behinds said yeah take it out of your tip. I can assure you Jack had you said any of your comments in my Restaurant, you would have been kicked out ASAP.


sports fundraising December 24, 2012 at 1:35 am

Yeah, this kind of behave is not acceptable. $1 is not too much big for donating, so avoided this issue makes me disappointed. Anyway, how much money you have been raised?


Mith February 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I wouldn't be so mean as Jack, but I might write a complain to a corporate office. When i go to a restaurant, I go to relax and forget about the world. When in US, I avoid going to the restaurants simply because of the forced faked pushy over-the-top behaviour of servers. I know it's not their fault, but the US restaurant bosses might want to travel to Europe sometime to learn how to deliver a good experience for their guests.

Asking a sitting guest for a donation is akin to begging in subway–pushing to a captive audience.


FuckMyTable February 23, 2013 at 7:05 pm

As a server who worked at CHILI'S where they ask for St. Jude's Donations, I can say I hated to ask my tables to donate. It was awkward when they tried to come up with reasons not to donate, and my managers were walking around trying to catch servers not asking. I stopped asking tables halfway into the promotion. One day my manager asked if I had mentioned the donations to a table and I lied. "Yes." Did they donate? "No." Then go ask them again. "What?" Well, maybe if you keep asking they will. "No. How about YOU go ask them?" He turned red and walked away. Yeah, even the managers know it pisses people off.

Jack is an asshole for taking it out of the tip though, because here's the thing – your server is forced to ask you unless they want to get a write-up or fired. The server doesn't give a shit about the donation, but they have to ask. How about you politely say, "No thank you, not today," and eat your fucking food?


Amber May 10, 2016 at 11:34 am

I hate these drives corporations do requesting their customers to donate to whatever charity. I donate to my chosen charities directly, when I'm out running errands or for a nice meal, I want to do so without all the up-selling, and the extra requests for money. I don't get angry at the lowly employees forced to ask every customer, I've been there and understand they have no choice, I just wish the upper management would simply get a clue. Put out a donation box on the counter to the charity your trying to get donations for, if people want to donate they will decide to on their own.


Mel November 4, 2016 at 1:58 pm

It's actually very annoying and rude for a business to solicit charity money from its customers. If you say no, you look like a selfish beast who doesn't care about people (take this story as proof). This woman is not a monster for not agreeing to support the charity YOUR restaurant wants her to. She just wanted a meal, not to be hounded for donations and then shamed when she did want to donate. Plus, it is always better to donate directly to a charity and not through a third party. A third party usually takes a cut for running the promotion so less of your money is actually going to help people.


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