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Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Thursday, 12 April 2012 10:07 UK

Supermarkets 'sell hope' in charity venture

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Two Budgens stores in North London have come up with a novel way of encouraging customers to donate to charity by selling blocks labelled "hope" which shoppers can buy along with their groceries with the proceeds go to the Alzheimers Society.

Andrew Thornton, owner of the Budgens branches involved, said that "this is a chance to make a charitable donation on impulse" and described the product as a sustainable block of wood, which when bought, is scanned at the checkout and £1 is donated to the Alzheimers Society.

But you do not get to keep the block of wood.

Julian Baggini, philosopher and editor-in-chief of The Philosopher's magazine, said that human beings "find it difficult to get our head around abstract things like hope" so by making it concrete and tangeable it helps us feel our actions are contributing.

He believed that keeping the block would mean you would only do it once whereas if you put it back you might do it again.

Andrew Thornton said they have sold well over a 100 blocks of "hope" in its first day and have had suggestions to sell things like "joy" and "happiness" too.

"There is a different way to be a supermarket... and be more involved in the community," he said adding that it has "captured imagination" of shoppers.

Julian Baggini said that there is a backlash against street collections, or chuggers at the moment, so charities are getting cleverer and realising that "we don't like to feel guilt... so they need to give us something more positive".


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