I did my collection at Tesco’s largest store on the Wirral last Sunday morning. It was breezy and cool but dry and the collection location was inside the glazed, enclosed canopies that Tesco seem to like.
I have to say that when compared to my previous stint, it was not a resounding success.
Now, I was collecting on a different day, a different time of day, at a different Tesco (Bidston has a different demographic from Heswall), at a different time of the year (the end of January is always a stretched time for a lot of people), so that might have something to do with it.
I knew that collecting from 10am on a Sunday, as the store just opens was always going to be a challenge, but when I had collected precisely nothing by half ten, I was beginning to question whether it was worth the cost of my diesel to get there. I’d be better off just making a donation myself and staying at home. Things did improve over the next hour and a half, though, but I was disappointed with collecting over £100 less than I had last year at Heswall. And last year there were two of us collecting for that two hour slot, not just me on my own as I was on Sunday.
As last time, it was interesting to note who was making the donations. Once again, it was older people and those with young children. Young adults were the least generous and I did notice a lot of people seeming to deliberately use the “IN” door when leaving the store, so that they didn’t have to walk past me. Eye contact was virtually non-existent.
I also noticed that many of the people who did donate, were not at all interested in the name on the bucket. I could have been collecting for anyone, it made no difference. They just dropped a few coins in the bucket and walked off. They might have been donating to the Wirral branch of the Ku Klux Klan for all the notice they took of the banners and the bucket.
Last year, we had a lot of people stopping for a chat when they donated. “My Dad had leukaemia” or “I have lymphoma” type chats – people relating to the charity and us as collecting volunteers. This year, absolutely nothing. The name change meant nothing to the people. Only one person asked what Bloodwise meant in the whole two hours I was there. When I explained, he said “I assumed that it was about diabetes or HIV or something”.
It would be interesting and informative, I suspect, if it were possible to collect under the old name on one weekend and the new name on the following one, with the same people collecting at the same times etc. But that’s not to be.
I am grateful to the kind and generous people of Bidston who did drop a few coins in my bucket last Sunday morning and I do know that friends who collected later in the day had a bit more luck than I did. But I do have the impression that collecting money for this charity has been made a whole lot more difficult.
And, that’s a crying shame.