An Open Letter to Safeway: Make a Difference

you can make a difference

Dear Safeway,

I’m going to be upfront here: I don’t like your products as much as I like Trader Joe’s. But I often choose to shop with you  because I really love the fact that you hire so many people with obvious disabilities.

And so given your record of being fair and giving people with disabilities a chance at a job, I want you to know that this little bit in the card stand feels like a slap in my face:

you can make a difference
you can make a difference

“You can make a difference. Please donate today to help people with disabilities in your neighborhood.” And when I swipe my card, the screen reads, “Would you like to donate to people with disabilities today?”, in which I must select “yes” or “no”

People with Disabilities.

You are talking about me. You are talking about my daughter. You are talking about most of my best friends. My mother.

“Would you like to donate to people with disabilities today?”

You mean, would I like to give some of my money to myself? To my daughter, mother and friends?

But wait. I’ll never see that money if I select “yes”, because I know sure as hell that no one comes around to my door with a check from Safeway.

So my name – as a person with a disability – my daughter’s image, as a person with a disability – is being used to garner PITY from those in our community, “…help people with disabilities in your neighborhood” who will then give money to someone and you know what?

The people with disabilities in the neighborhood never even see a nickel.

Safeway. I expected better of you.

If people select “yes”, they want to help those of us with disabilities in their neighborhood, they feel like they are doing “the right thing” – but that money doesn’t go to my daughter, Moxie, I’ll tell you that.

If people select “no” they feel like a chump, not “making a difference.” Not caring about their neighborhood friends with disability.

Insult upon injury: customers are asked to make that selection usually right in the face of their bagger, who often has a visible disability.

Safeway, the donation piece is fine and well but please MAKE IT SPECIFIC. “Would you like to donate to the Special Olympics today?” or “Would you like to donate to Easter Seals?”.

But please. Do not lump all of us people with disabilities together, slap “make a difference” on our foreheads and use us fodder to fatten someone else’s wallet by virtue of pity.

Your turn to “make a difference”: take that language out and while you are at it, update the photo. “Jerry’s Kids” have grown up.

 

 

Meriah
is a deaf blogger, global nomad, tech-junkie, cat-lover, Trekkie, Celto-Teutonic-peasant-handed mom of 3 (one with Down syndrome and one gifted 2E).
She likes her coffee black and hot.
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6 Comments

  • I never give to those charities. Or the ones that come knocking at my door, or the ones that stand out in front of the stores I shop at. Because I never know where the money is actually going, who it is actually benefitting. But yeah, you’re right, I always do feel like a bit of a schmuck for saying no, and there have been times when I’ve been in the store with Finn and I’m asked at checkout to donate to help people with disabilities (it’s not just Safeway; we don’t have Safeway down here), and I think, “You’re talking about my kid here. And it’s really bullshit, because these donations sure don’t help him.”

  • These donations go to organizations like Easter Seals and the Special Olympics within the community that you live in. Like most donations they don’t go to individuals or families. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to make a donation if you can. These companies do benefit from making these large donations and that’s why they do them but honestly I think they have good intentions. My hubby works for Safeway and last year Easter Seals came out and took pictures of the Cashiers and to say thank you for the donations.

  • I don’t think making the donation is a bad thing; what I’m saying is that if it’s going to Easter Seals or whoever (and the sign does say who it’s going to it in very small print at the bottom), it should ONLY say that: “Donate to Easter Seals”; not “Donate to People with DIsabilities”. Because that’s spreading a blanket over EVERYONE. It’s like saying “Donate to Black People” as opposed to “Donate to Howard University”.
    The other thing is that the “people with disabilities in your neighborhood” in my case is ME and MY DAUGHTER. I resent them saying that because I am NOT their charity case

  • I understand what you are saying. It is just a way to sell donations. I have seen many charity organizations use generalizations simply because it makes it more personal. You are more likely to donate to someone in your community or a group of people rather then an organization. In the end it’s about making money. I personally don’t find offense in it because of this generalization nor do I think they are making a charity case out of my son. I am also not trying to defend this large corporation. What bothers me is that I see a lot of complaining about things that have good intentions and people finding offense and making it about their own insecurities and I think we are pushing the general public away from our community. I’m really not trying to start a debate or offend you, I just sometimes have a hard time understanding why people in our community are so hard to please.

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