Petco’s Incredibly Shortsighted In-Store Donation Strategy

After heaving a 25 pound bag of dog food from the back of the store to the register, I’m greeted by not just the cashier but a daunting proposition posed by the credit card terminal itself. Before I can actually checkout and pay, I’m prompted with the following on-screen question:



At this point in the checkout process, there are only 2 options. YES or NO.

Somewhat confused by now, the cashier gently reminds me to answer the question before swiping my credit card to pay. There are no other options on the screen and feeling guilty already for even thinking about answering no, I hesitantly selected YES.

On the very next screen, I am asked what donation amount would I like to contribute. Ranging from as low as $2 on up, I find myself at another unexpected crossroad. Can’t turn back now and even if I wanted to as there are no back/cancel buttons on the screen.

Do I tell the cashier I changed my mind and don’t want to help save a homeless pet? Nope, no way. Petco has me in complete submission and honestly at this point, ponying up the money just makes my conscious feel better.

It certainly didn’t help me think highly of Petco and feeling like I got duped in this process. I mean, who wouldn’t want to help save a homeless pet? The obvious answer is yes and if I had to guess, Petco is killing it with this point of sale strategy and collecting large stacks of cash all in the name of helping save homeless pets.

Let’s be clear. I’m all for saving homeless pets but don’t appreciate the tactics Petco uses to seek out contributions from their customers. It’s as if they are rickrolling everyone. In addition, their strategy is incredibly shortsighted. Sure, they got my $2 this time around but you can bet the next time I’m prompted by the same in-store question, the answer will surely be NO.

Rather than force me into a position where I feel begrudged and pressured to pay, I’d much prefer to see Petco implement a “round up” donation strategy where you donate your change instead. As a loyal Petco customer, they would surely collect more than the measly $2 they extorted from the first time around. :/

What do you think? Overreaction on my part or did you get duped by Petco’s donation tactics too?

Photo credit and additional thoughts/reactions: A Better Way to Raise Money Money at the Register

2 thoughts on “Petco’s Incredibly Shortsighted In-Store Donation Strategy

  1. Petco does have a roundup feature. Just tell the cashier. You can also back out of the donation screen by pressing the red button.

  2. I completely agree with the sentiment of this article – I myself went through the exact same process at my last visit to Petco. I have no idea where that money is really going and the method of collecting it is DISGUSTING. They lost me as a customer with that little trick.

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