UNITED STATES—We are at that time of year where you see the red kettles and people donating more to nonprofit charities and organizations in need with the impending holidays upon us. For starters, I have always donated to those red kettles that you see outside the grocery stores, shopping malls and retailers in general. I tend to do it several times no matter how many red kettles I see. I always remind myself someone needs this more than me and if I can donate I’m going to.

However, a new trend is emerging something that I surprised to see become more potent as of late. It seems every retailer now wants you to donate your remaining change or round up so that money can go to charities. At first I had been doing so, but then I discovered for many of those retailers it is simply a tax write off they are allowed to take advantage of America. Yeah, that is not great because they benefit from my hard earned money. So no more, in addition, I don’t fully know that this money I’m donating is actually going to these charities that pop up when you’re checking out.

Yeah, the retailer can say one thing and do an entirely different thing. It’s problematic because it’s not like you get a receipt letting you know that your donation has gone to X, Y and Z and you can use that when filling your taxes. No, that perk is reserved for the retailer. It has become so popular that you’re now seeing the donation prompt appear at the dollar tree or dollar store establishments America. You will see that option at almost every retailer that you go to, even the supermarket for the next couple of weeks as we usher in Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year.

It is like tipping. You’re supposed to be tipping everywhere nowadays. Now if you dine out that is expected, but tipping at McDonalds or a fast-food restaurant. C’mon that is absolutely crazy people, not to mention the fact that you have some places asking you to tip when they haven’t even done anything. I can see if they’re going the extra mile to prepare your dish or food, but if you’re simply taking something off the self and putting it into the bag, no tip is warranted, you already have an hourly wage for that.

We all know the feeling of that line behind you and people watching to see if you’re going to tip when the tip menu pops up. You don’t want to feel judged and as a result you tip even though you don’t want to. Guess what America? Don’t feel the peer pressure. If you do not want to donate or tip then don’t do it. This is NOT me telling you NOT to donate. If you choose to donate go for it. My goal is to ensure that you are aware of who you’re donating to and ensuring that money that you’re donating actually goes to those organizations.

Written By Zoe Mitchell