Would You Like To Donate To The Party City Injured Employee Fund?

Do you find it annoying when a cashier tries to upsell you into making a donation to some group? Well, what if the money was going to a good cause–like another employee at the store?

Here’s what our tipster Marc sent in recently:

I had what I consider an unusual experience while purchasing three greeting cards at a Party City store in the Chicagoland area. When I went to checkout at the register, the cashier asked if I wanted to make a donation to ‘one of their workers that had been in a bad car accident.’ I declined.

I have several problems with this type of request:

-If Party City paid its employees a living wage and provided health insurance, this worker probably wouldn’t need a donation. I’m assuming here, but I don’t think it’s a stretch.

-Why should I as a customer of a store be asked by an employee of the store to give money to someone whom I have never met, don’t know, don’t know the details of the incident, etc. I found this rather offensive. To me, this amounted to panhandling within a retail environment by the employees.

-This could easily be a scam thought up by store management and/or the employees. See how much money they can raise and then split it. Call me cynical, but I wouldn’t put it past people these days.

What do you think of this request? I chalked it up to ‘nothing surprises me anymore.’

Comments

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  1. VashTS says:

    That’s the way I feel when I go to Duane Reade and they ask me to donate money to some childrens/relief/woman’s abuse funds/groups.

  2. Sumtron5000 says:

    Completely unrelated: And this is why you should carry medical payment coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance. Depending on your state, of course.

    • The hand that feeds, now with more bacon says:

      Not all states require that coverage, but I’m pretty sure you can obtain it regardless of your state. While un(der)insured coverage is a requirement where I live, medpay is not, but I still get it.

      • Alessar says:

        I had a car with only Public Liability/Property damage but since I didn’t have healthcare I had to get personal medical insurance (MI) and it came in handy when I was front-ended by a drunk driver who needed to turn RIGHT NOW to get to the liquor store.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        My insurance agent recommended against it if we have health insurance, because it’s duplicate coverage. Often the health insurance company will ask for that money and you don’t get to use it to offset your deductibles or out of pocket expenses. Sucks, I know..

        • Sumtron5000 says:

          That’s an excellent point. One thing I’d strongly recommend is to call your health insurance provider and ask if they would cover you in an auto accident. I have no personal experience with this, but I have heard from the (auto) insurance company I work for that some health insurance policies have fine print that says they won’t cover an auto accident. Ok, end thread hijack!

  3. agent 47 says:

    “If Party City paid its employees a living wage and provided health insurance, this worker probably wouldn’t need a donation. I’m assuming here, but I don’t think it’s a stretch.”

    If they did that, then the price of what you were buying that day would cost a lot more than it did, which means your “donation” would be mandatory (assuming you still wanted to buy the cards) as apposed to optional.

    • dbeahn says:

      Which probably means the OP would have been shopping elsewhere, to get a better price.

      It’s just where we are as a society. We demand the lowest prices, then can’t figure out why there are so many shitty jobs that don’t pay enough to live on and don’t offer decent (let alone good) benefits.

    • TBGBoodler says:

      Sigh.

    • Bort says:

      i assume the ceo and other higher ups can afford health coverage many times over with what the store earns

      • RvLeshrac says:

        The C*Os of any given company could likely carry the vast majority of the company’s health insurance costs *by themselves.*

    • Bohemian says:

      These days that is rarely the case. That “other money” is going to the owners and executives. Raising product prices is just a convenient scare tactic. We need to be looking more at the bottom line of companies raising prices, cutting product or forcing wage cuts on their workers.

      Right now Motts (Dr. Pepper, Snapple) is trying to force their workers into a wage and pension cut while they had a highly profitable year. Their excuse is that “other people” in the area make less money.

      • tz says:

        That may be true, but the CEOs have figured out that because you won’t pay $1.29 instead of $0.99 for a bag of party favors, they can make millions by stripping things down to the minimum.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        The prices are set by supply and demand. Profit margins affect supply. Competition can keep the prices lower, but no company is going to give away the product. If there are multiple merchants in a category price will be a big reason why people go one place instead of another. Dropping prices to get more customers is only possible if the expenses are controlled.

        Now I would imagine that party supplies isn’t the most competitive industry. Most people don’t shop often or compare prices that closely. I could see a party store actually working as an independent business that could offer benefits, etc. On the other hand, the employment side of the equation is similar on the supply and demand side. As long as people don’t need skilled employees there are thousands to hire from and benefits aren’t required to attract the workers.

        • kmw2 says:

          Prices are only set by supply and demand in a perfectly competitive market – commodity food products like wheat, say. Once a brand name or a cartel enters the picture, prices are no longer solely set by supply and demand. Instead, in a monopolistic competitive (or branded) market, firms seek to maximize their producer surplus by introducing (often irrelevant) differences into their product as compared to their competitors. If prices in the party supply industry were set by supply and demand, first, they would be lower – there are no barriers to production of party hats and pinatas whatsoever. Second, the price at Party City would be the same as the price at Wal-mart, which it demonstrably is not. High profit margins do not necessarily lead to low consumer prices – it generally is the opposite, in fact.

          Now, an increase in costs (such as to pay for health insurance and a living wage for workers) will lead to a slight increase in price – but it won’t usually be the full price of the increase. Instead, firms will choose to raise their prices slightly, and absorb some of the costs themselves, so that they don’t scare customers back to Wal-mart. At the same time, their revenues will actually _increase_, because their workers will now be able to afford to buy their party goods at Party City instead of Wal-mart (or more realistically nowhere at all). The consumer will pay slightly more at the checkout, but will pay slightly less in taxes due to the reduced burden on the social safety net that comes with properly paid and properly insured workers. Higher pay and more security for workers at the lowest rungs of thee economic ladder benefits everyone.

          In the end, deciding something is bad economically because it costs you a little bit more at checkout time is being penny wise and pound foolish. That sort of thinking is precisely what’s landed us in the soup. Are you really going to suffer so much if your pin the tail on the donkey game is $3.49 instead of $3.39? I really doubt it very much.

  4. HaveSomeCheese says:

    Overreaction. The assumption that Party City is not paying a living wage or providing employees with insurance is ridiculous. This guy doesnt know how bad the accident was. If it was bad enough, the employee may have exhausted their benefits, blown through what money they have and is now struggling to pay the obviously insane medical bills they have. If anything, I commend the employees of that Party City for rallying around their fellow employee and doing something to help. They asked if you would like to donate and you (hopefully) politely declined, you have no more obligation to them.

    And yes, you are extremely cynical.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      Alternately, Party City could pony up some profit to help the employee. Why should the customers be responsible? They’re already helping, by giving money to the company.

      This was a nice country for about 30 years there, when companies gave a rat’s ass about employees.

    • mandy_Reeves says:

      Party City??? I could see if this was like a local bagel shop or the 7-11 on the corner, it’s a small place where depending on the neighborhood, it’s like Cheers and everyone knows your name. Workers become familiar faces and there is a small emotional attachment there.

      This happened to a you g guy at the 7-11 on my block…he was in a super horrific accident, and they were asking customers to donate some change or a buck at the most, to maybe get some goodies or a care package together to give him while he was in the rehab hospital(not drug rehab, but like health south or Kessler)

  5. TheUncleBob says:

    I like how the OP attacks the employment policies of Party City, yet is happy to spend his money there.

    If you have a moral disagreement with the way a business runs, then don’t shop there.

    • DariusC says:

      Or, or or… he can shop there and just donate to the organization directly. Much more effective… gives you a better feeling.

    • brinks says:

      Even if you have moral issues about how retail employees are paid, you don’t really have a choice. ALL retail stores pay crap wages. The only exceptions are some department stores and a couple of the biggest chains, and their bloated prices reflect that.

  6. andre nickatina says:

    I hate being asked for donations at every store I go in to. I get this at Vons and Ralphs all the time. This past weekend I got it at Joe’s Crab Shack. WTF?

  7. tchann says:

    The CVS near me was asking customers recently if they’d donate to one of their employees who was walking some random charity walk around town. I felt the same way, like I was being solicited when all I came in for was to buy a bag of M&M’s.

    • lyllydd says:

      You bought a food item at CVS? You’re going to end up asking for healthcare donations soon. Hope your targets aren’t all as cynical as you are.

  8. dreamfish says:

    It’s a bit odd when he talks about “giving money to someone he’s never met” – wouldn’t that cover practically every single charity donation, be it to individuals, groups or an organisation?

    • backinpgh says:

      In a way, yes, but at least most charitable donations are covered by federal laws, and can be monitored or verified by the donor through fact-checking, whereas the employee in a car accident likely didn’t set up a non-profit organization for himself; likely the store will just be sending him a big check with which he can do as he pleases. For all you know, the guy has insurance and will use the money to buy a new car…

      • mszabo says:

        On the other hand a donation like this is probably very efficient. Most donations to charities have a non insignificant amount of overhead. A donation like this probably 100% goes directly to the cause.

        Honestly these donations at the register piss me off and I never do them. However if I were to do one this is the kind that would actually tempt me. I probably would have put a buck in the jar here if I wasn’t already over saturated with these kind of requests.

  9. jimmyhl says:

    Your tipster has provided you with a balled-up wad of assumptions strapped together with his considerable personal resentments and suspicions that he is being scammed.

    First things first: Whether Party City fails to provide a ‘living wage’ and health insurance or not, an employee recovering from a bad auto accident is cut off from current income. And, whether the employee is covered by health insurance or not, any coverage will likely not extend to expenses like food and rent.

    Next up: Like many party stores, this one may have steady customers who might know the injured employee and asked why she hasn’t been around. Maybe these inquiries led the remaining employees to set up a relief fund.

    Last: Fer cryin’ out loud, the tipster was merely asked to kick in and can simply say no thanks. The store won’t bar him from coming back if he won’t pony up. Speaking only for myself, I wouldn’t stop shopping there merely because I was politely asked to pitch in.

    • Blueberry Scone says:

      Bingo, especially your second point. I am a ‘regular’ at a few stores, and know a few employees at each store. If it were me, I’d totally donate something, especially if I knew the person.

    • mszabo says:

      Certainly this kind of at register donation is the only kind I think I find acceptable. A personal request for something, is far better than the generic corporate request.

    • BytheSea says:

      ‘Like many party stores’? A party is an event. By its nature, it’s not something people need to buy stuff for frequently. How many regulars could they have.

      • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

        Maybe you’re an event planner and you’re in there every week to buy supplies. Maybe you’re a person that loves to throw giant neighborhood parties. Maybe you’re gearing up for halloween and buy decorations each week to add to your haunted house. Maybe your a crafter and the party store has what you use in your crafts. There are quite a few reasons why a party store might have regulars.

  10. beprof says:

    Or it could just as easily be a community (a community that you are a part of) trying to do something good by helping one of their own out of a tight spot.

  11. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Your registered charity number is?

    Without this there will be no donation.

    Along similar lines except far more annoying is when the firefighters block bridges to solicit money. I have been delayed hours as a result of this sort of tactic. I also let them know it is not appreciated and no donation is given.

    • craptastico says:

      fire fighters can be terrible with this. i was driving a few towns over and they literally had blocked an intersection so they could personally solicit everyone that drove through town.

    • sufreak says:

      Have a little heart. Or maybe they’ll remember your consideration when you need them. Most squads, (First Aid and Fire) are strapped for cash. They don’t have an income or revenue model, so setting up a donation station is one of the few things they can do.

      Somehow, I suspect your ‘hours of delay’ is nothing more than a few minutes of frustration. Telling a group of people trying to do good work (both money raising and fire fighting) that you don’t appreciate what they’re doing, and not donating is surely going help everyone out.

  12. LightningUsagi says:

    A restaurant I eat at on a regular basis has a jar by each register to collect money for one of their waitresses who broke her arm. They never ask for donations, but I notice every time I go in that there is money in the jars. I personally think it’s wonderful that the community is willing to pitch in to help her out in a time of need.

  13. Angus99 says:

    Post a sign, and a picture, someplace I will be sure to see it. Give me a chance to read it and make a decision there, rather than at the cash register. Stop forcing the cashiers to hit up every customer. Times are tough, for everybody – a lot of folks won’t be in a position to help, maybe the majority. Don’t force every customer to refuse to be charitable, when many simply can’t afford to be. The register is for finishing the business transaction, period.

  14. chaesar says:

    I went to a store and was annoyed! WAHHH!!!

    • cranguy says:

      You may be surprised to know that’s what this site is about.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Yes, he was rightly annoyed by an irritating interaction with the store employee and wrote about it to Consumerist, a site that is all about things that affect consumers. I don’t understand why that provokes such a juvenile reaction from you.

      Oh – I do get it; you’re annoyed that he’s annoyed, and this is you going “WAHHH!!!!!!”

  15. Hoss says:

    How the hell would u get store management and every employee to agree to scamming the public?

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      You don’t need to. You just need the boss to say “We’re doing this, and if you don’t like it, go get a different job.”

      • Disappointed says:

        That’s correct. Illinois is an “at will” employment state, so any employer can fire you at any time, for pretty much any reason whatsoever. So, if your boss says, “You gotta do X, Y, and Z”, well, you’re gonna do X, Y, and Z.

        • dragonfire81 says:

          I’ve often wondered in an at-will state, can they fire you for refusing to do something illegal? After all doesn’t at will mean they can fire you for any reason at any time?

          • MeOhMy says:

            They can’t really fire you for refusing to do something illegal. But they can just make up some other reason (or no reason at all)…it would be hard to prove your case.

    • DH405 says:

      Have you heard of DirecBuy? That’s a whole company essentially dedicated to scamming the public.

    • UnbelieverDjak says:

      Store donation scams are pretty common. – http://www.scambusters.org/fakes.html (second article down). It’s not much of a stretch for an owner or employee of a place to be in on it.

  16. tz says:

    I have to pay for the medical conditions of people I don’t know, have not met, and don’t know the details in most cases other than some literally don’t need it – it is called FICA or Social Security, and the CEOs will get it when they retire.

    That said, if there was a question, you could have asked – what happened, who is the person, etc.

    And I’m really, really tired of people who have never even tried starting a business saying “well, you should just pay a decent wage with benefits”. It would take 5 minutes at most to find out how small business is being strangled by health insurance costs.

    And are you and all your loved ones insured against everything or maybe one day you will be the one who is seeking donations, and everyone will look at you as a scammer.

  17. MaliBoo Radley says:

    As I understand it, this is how certain conservatives would prefer that social services are carried out. That’s at least what I hear. Something to the effect of “there should be no government welfare, as private groups, local charities and churches can handles these services”. This person illustrates that problem with that is that given the choice, a lot of people won’t piss on their fellow man if he were on fire. Besides, there are somethings that something as large as the federal goverment simply fund better. I don’t think I’d like to hand schools and roads over to some private entity like we have with health care. Things would never get built, people would never be taken care of,

    I realize that this isn’t a political site. This article just put me in mind of this topic.

    • Maximus Pectoralis says:

      I am already paying over $2000/year to “charity” (i.e. federal government-run welfare) in my income taxes. I do occasionally donate money and especially goods to privately run charities. And I don’t see what this has to do with privatizing roads etc. If you want to see “liberal” vs “conservative” views on donating, compare how much Steve Jobs has donated to charity, and how much Bill Gates has donated to charity as one example.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Wow, you only pay $2,000/year in federal taxes? Is your income really low or do you have a boatload of deductions?

        • Maximus Pectoralis says:

          Unless there has been some dramatic change, I do not believe 100% of taxes go toward welfare spending. My federal tax is around $20k/y without deductions and to my knowledge, about 12% of the federal budget goes to welfare entitlement programs (this does NOT include social security and medicare which are separate taxes).

      • Doncosmic says:

        Since when is Bill Gates a conservative. Considering some of the major donations that his charities have made have been to a. gun control initiatives b. population control and Family planning, I’d hardly call him your typical Republican

    • Bill610 says:

      Not a conservative, but a libertarian myself, I do have to ask you: if “a lot of people” are unwilling to help those who are in need, then how, in a representative system of government, did we end up with so many government programs to “help” the needy? And if so many people aren’t willing to help the needy, what gives you or anyone else the right to force them to do so against their wills? Further, with the enormous debt that we’re piling up, much of that mandated help is actually coming out of the pockets of people who haven’t even been born yet, so they have no chance to object. Personally, I’d trust the good hearts of people to provide willingly to those in need before I’d trust it to politicians who all too often direct the “help” to the highest bidder in the form of corporate welfare, bailouts and subsidies.

      • evnmorlo says:

        How do you organize private giving though? The government wastes a lot, but private charities waste even more. And if you somehow were able to form a charity that delivered services on the scale of social security and welfare/food stamps it would have enough lobbying power to merge itself into the government.

        • MaliBoo Radley says:

          You have made my point considerably better than I could myself. That was what I was trying to get at.

        • Maximus Pectoralis says:

          Why does all giving have to be about giving cash to people? What about efforts to help people help themselves, instead of cementing them into poverty traps like welfare and such? How about giving people food instead of food stamps? I’d much rather give goods rather than money since goods are harder to misappropriate. Another example is providing better education opportunities for urban residents through things like charter schools where the public schools are failing etc. When the government tries to do these things it seems they rarely work. For example in NJ, the state subsidizes urban school districts. Some of them have costs per student well over $20k/year. My town is under $14k/year per student and the graduation rate is over 99% where some of the urban schools are under 75%. Is throwing taxpayer dollars at the problem helping?

      • MaliBoo Radley says:

        I mean on an individual dollar basis. We all (for the most part) pay our taxes, but very few of us, like the OP will give a dollar here and there to help an actual person. People seem more comfortable with the more abstract giving that is taxes.

    • j_rose says:

      The difference is right now, they think there will be other options, like the government. If the government wasn’t offering those services, people would feel a lot more charitable. When you’re getting 40% of all you make taken away and given to others without your choice, you don’t feel like giving it up. If you can keep that 40%, you have more to help the people you choose, and you know they don’t have the government to help them.

      • kmw2 says:

        Bullshit. People want less taxes because they want more money. They’re not going to voluntarily donate to other people’s economic well being just because the government isn’t taking their money and doing it for them.

    • NickelMD says:

      Bra-VO!!!

      Bump. Set. Spike!

  18. superfluousK says:

    It’s stories like this that reaffirm my hatred for humanity. Not the injured party store employee but the cockhole of an OP. Even with health insurance and a decent wage medical bills can get outrageous. You don’t want to donate, don’t donate. Don’t whine about it on the internet either. And don’t get sick or injured in the US, cuz you on ya own.

    • RogerX says:

      Agreed. If I see a pic of a guy with his two kids and a newspaper clipping showing his totalled car because he was hit by a drunk driver, I’m likely to toss in a couple bucks. If I hear “Steve got in a bad wreck, care to donate?” I don’t feel I have enough information to judge whether “Steve” is worth my charity or not.

    • RogerX says:

      …and I replied to the wrong poster. I didn’t really agree with you, SuperfluousK (trying to riff on TenaciousD, but my friend LoquaciousC is much cooler)…

      The fact of the matter is, maybe the guy in the bad wreck was drunk, texting while driving, fleeing the cops, driving without insurance, and tearing the tags off mattresses at the time of the accident. There’s a huge difference between “Will you give me some money, it’s for a good cause” and “Hey look, this is our coworker. He’s got two kids at home, his wife doesn’t work, and he got hit by a guy that ran a red light. He had insurance, but he’s in the ICU and we’re trying to help the family get back on their feet. Could you spare a couple of bucks?”

  19. jimmyhl says:

    To the Editor: Is it considered a true ‘upsell’ if the money does not go to the house?

  20. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    It just amazes me how someone can write about a legitimate consumer issue on this blog and people will comment and beat their chests and bellow how smart THEY are and how ignorant the OP is. Very few comments are helpful, insightful, or even intelligent. Incredible.

    • jimmyhl says:

      Ok—well said. Apart from that would you like to state an opinion or offer an observation concerning the issue?

    • dyzlexiK says:

      Being asked to help another person should not be a consumer issue. He was not pressured, he was not forced, he was asked.

      Next up: I got a phone call asking me to switch to another service. WTF? CONSUMERISTS HELP!
      I got asked if I wanted fries with my burger. WTF? CONSUMERIST HELP!

      My opinion on the matter is: Someone needed help. You were asked to help. You would prefer not to, for your own reasons. That was the end of it. Stop complaining, you are not at any kind of loss except for the 3 seconds of your time it took them to ask.

  21. msbask says:

    “If Party City paid its employees a living wage and provided health insurance, this worker probably wouldn’t need a donation. I’m assuming here, but I don’t think it’s a stretch.”

    I make a living wage and have health insurance, but you can be sure that if a car accident had me out of work for any significant length of time, I’d be screwed. Does your health insurance pay your rent? Does it feed you? Does it feed your children? Does it pay your car insurance?

    Also, this is a Party City clerk. How much do you think Party City should be paying it’s clerks? Enough for them to have 6 months expenses saved in the bank, and fully paid health benefits? That’s great…. IF you’re willing to pay $16 for that pretty balloon.

  22. ryan444123 says:

    If Party City wants to truly make a difference they can donate to their employee out of the companies profit. I am sure they are making a profit, otherwise they would be out of business.

  23. chargerRT says:

    Just the co-insurance (where the insurance pays, say 80%, and the patient is billed the rest) is enough to break some people financially.

    Their heart is in the right place, and it’s nice to know they care about their coworker enough to do this, but I could see how this could throw a lot of people off guard. I don’t find it offensive–but it may be against corporate policy.

    I just remembered a gag from You Can’t Do That On Television: a boy is pulling a girl in a wagon with him, going door to door, soliciting money for “charity.” The girl’s name is Charity.

  24. wrongfrequently says:

    I don’t like it at Safeway when they ask me to donate to the cancer de jour fund (I’m no cancer fan, many ppl I love have had cancer, but I don’t donate via big corporations) BUT I would be moved to give a few bucks to a fund for an individual employee.
    RE: the OP above who thinks they should have better health insurance, I’m sure Party City could have a better plan, but I also know that when my daughter was injured and needed ONE night at Children’s Hospital with NO invasive anything (just IV fluids and a cat scan) it was $5k out of pocket for hubby and I, that was after I’d knocked 20% off the bill (through the magic of asking) so I’ll bet even if the employee has insurance they are in need of some cash for eating and paying every doctor who walked by their hospital bed. (I know each doc who saw my daughter , literally saw not did anything, got $400+ of which we paid $228)

  25. brinks says:

    How is this money being collected?

    At Petsmart, I always give a dollar or two, seeing as how it’s added on at the register and shows up on my receipt as a donation. How are they ringing this up? I’m sure they don’t have an “injured employee” SKU programmed into their system, and if they ring it up as something else it will affect their inventory. If they actually have a “donation” SKU (Staples does), then I might buy it. All donations are accounted for and you’ll get a receipt. However, I’m not putting money in a jar or handing it over to an employee to potentially put in their pocket.

    I’d get the number for the district manager. He or she could definitely verify if there was an employee on leave for an injury, and if they couldn’t, they’d be happy you tipped them off to this scheme.

  26. Dr.Wang says:

    Whenever I get one of those commercials spoken at me at the register I ignore it and remain silent. It makes them uncomfortable. I am not obligated to respond, and I don’t. Just like I am not obligated to “click through” commercials on TV. Better still, wear ear buds listening to music in the check out and they’ll not speak to you if they noticed the wires.

  27. KingPsyz says:

    I think the OP is a cynical bastard and probablly should lighten up a bit, more so considering they’re shopping at a place called Party City…

    You are completely within your rights to decline to donate, but did you really have to call in the Consumerist for it?

  28. mbz32190 says:

    I have no problems with stores that want to solicit donations “silently” (eg. jar on the counter or prompt on a credit card swiper). When the cashier has to ask people for donations, I usually always say NO.

    And my guess many of the stores use money earned as a write-off. The grocery store I work at was asking customers to donate to the food bank…in the mean time I’m in the back tossing thousands of dollars worth of stuff in the compactor that was expired by one day and cases of bananas with a spot or two on them :|

    • D in Buffalo says:

      Amazing ain’t it? When I was in college, our group asked the company that prepares the food what they do with the leftovers after dining hall hours are over? The response, “We toss it.” When we dug further into the issue, it’s because of the state health department – they say that the food cannot be donated to the food bank because “someone might get sick”.

      I would thinking eating fresh food that has been prepped properly and probably only been out 3 hours and then given to the food bank within another 3 is better than anything you can find in a garbage can.

  29. raybury says:

    This is different in two key ways from something I recall seeing almost 10 years ago: The store was a pharmacy (i.e. most of their income is from insurance) and the worker was the assistant manager (not a part-time position). That was inexcusable.

    Part-timers not getting access to health insurance (as opposed to opting out) is one of the biggest problems from employer-tied health insurance. For some it’s fine, they’re dependent minors or students covered by parents, or are covered by a spouse’s policy, or are seniors on Medicare. But for others, they’re working two or three part-time jobs, none of which provide access. I would be interested in seeing a comparison between states that require health insurance access for part-timers (I know New York does, or at least did 15 years ago) versus similar states that do not; I suspect the number of part-time positions is reduced, with the accompanying good and bad side effects.

  30. D in Buffalo says:

    When I went to a local Denny’s recently, they had a jar at the register and an explanation. I had (have?) mixed feelings about this – I don’t know the person, but I know that a lot of ‘regulars’ go to this Denny’s and it could be that whole, “Hey, where’s so-and-so..?”

    I didn’t give any money, but I did think, “Sheesh, if Denny’s provided better insurance, maybe he wouldn’t be in such a bind..”

  31. Riroon13 says:

    No biggie for me. It shows that the store (or at least it’s employees) care for their fellow crew member.

    Nothing less than a humanitarian gesture to me.

  32. Elsydeon says:

    The reality is, most entry-level jobs can not pay their employees very much since they have to sell their products at a low margin. Because of this, many employees can not afford health insurance. Employers refuse to provide it since it not only costs large sums of money (which comes from prices or wages), but opens them to frivolous lawsuits from smokers/potheads/drunks/motorcycle riders/etc. as the Supreme Court has already ruled that an employer can fire you for smoking cigarettes and for riding a motorcycle ON YOUR OWN TIME if they pay for the insurance since it affects their costs. The push for more “benefits” comes because many benefits are tax exempt (health insurance was the big one) or tax deferred (401k) and therefore the employee gets paid but doesn’t get taxed.

    Every time I hear about “living wage” and health insurance, I want to punch that idiot wannabe Marxist liberal whom fails to understand how businesses work (ironically, Marx understands it better than most Marxists). Under the COBRA of 1984, they are required to offer health insurance (usually they just let some company sell to the employees), they are not required to pay for it. The problem comes from people who complain about wages, benefits, etc. and then end up forming a union or pushing the government for higher min. wages and forcing labor costs to go up. Go to any store and you no longer see baggers (its a [usually] young male whom bags your groceries and helps you carry them to the car), instead cashiers do that, and now they are dumping them for self-service checkout aisles. Pizza places are doing online ordering because a central computer is cheaper than having dedicated people for that for each store.

    The problem is that there is very little advancement (baby boomers won’t retire and gen x’ers are stuck below them) combined with very little risk education (nothing happens to me, and there are safety nets if it does). The results of this combination is many people are stuck with min. wage jobs and insist on being financially, legally, and sexual irresponsible and then complain because the min. wage job won’t let them “go out” to movies, clubs, etc., get them out of massive debt, or raise the kid they didn’t want (and never talk to the other parent of), etc