So, at a number of stores they have, at the cash, these little boxes for charitable causes, which I used to ignore. Now, though, when I have less than $2 worth of change, I’m starting to either just dump it into the box or, even, telling the cashier to just dump it into the box. Is this reflecting some kind of new social awareness on my part? Well, not really. It’s mostly an understanding that I can’t really spend change, and so if I bring it home I end up tossing it in a jar and then having to roll it later, which is a fair bit of work. But I don’t want to just give it to the stores for their profit (although I’ll do it with good stores or with very small amounts). Giving it to charity through the charity boxes means that I don’t have to carry it around and maybe don’t even have to take it at all, and it goes to at least a decent cause.
Ultimately, this ties into the discussion of self interest that’s been happening in the comments of this post. I am acting in a “good way”, giving money — and an amount that could be significant — to charity to help others. But it isn’t really altruistic, because a big part of why I do it is because it gets me out of having to deal with change, which is a minor annoyance. So, my actions are, I’d say, self-interested but not selfish. As I frequently comment to the cashiers, everyone wins when I do that. So here’s an example of how acting in my self-interest works to benefit society as a whole.
Add in that society tends to look favourably on people who give to charity, and it’s a benefit all around.