Let the kids sell the cookies n popcorn, okay?

Originally published in 2002 in The View (helped me win an award!)

Who Is Selling Those Cookies?

“Greg – you don’t look like a Girl Scout.”

 Does anyone you work with have daughters in the Girl Scouts? Do you tire of said parents selling you cookies? Before you former Scouts practice the hatchet toss at my back, let me apply this to parents of band members, drama class divas, track team, yoga squad, or what ever kids group needs to raise cash.

Let me further state that 87.9% of the time if an ACTUAL KID asks me to buy his or her candy bar, bumper sticker, box of cookies, pot holder or whatever, then I am a buyer. The 12.1% who get a “no” tried to sell me something beyond the pale or caught me without any cash. I DO love buying from kids. I DO NOT appreciate parents doing the job for them. 

What are they teaching their children? “You just stay here in front of the warm monitor honey and daddy will find someone to buy your cookies.” This isn’t what the Girl Scouts had in mind when they conceived this fundraiser. I can remember when kids actually had to sell what ever it was they had to sell. I was one.

As a lad in the ‘60’s, yours truly was involved in the YMCA in Tucson, AZ. They operated a great overnight camp in the Catalina Mountains and I wanted to go in a bad way. Finances at our house were tight. For my working, single mom a week at Y-camp for me was a luxury.

The answer: Butter toffee coated peanuts. By selling cans of these an enterprising camper could EARN his or her way to camp. Sure, one had to sell a ton of them, but I wanted to go. I wish I could remember how many cans I had to sell to earn a one week stay. Suffice to say, we had several cases of peanuts go in and out of our house during the days and weeks I went door to door. Did my mom lessen my burden by taking peanuts to work with her or the University where she was studying to earn her Masters Degree?  Did my mom strong arm her co-workers and classmates into buying her little lamby-kins’ snacks? Heck no – going to camp was my goal, not hers. I practiced my presentation and schlepped peanuts all over town and finally sold enough for a week at camp.

Maybe it is the fear of their children NOT performing well enough to be in the proper percentile for pronouncement at parties driving this. How humiliating for Couple A when Couple B announces that their daughter “sold” her quota of 330 boxes, especially if daughter A sold doodley squat. Imagine the shame.  That’s probably how this whole thing started. Some dad tired of hearing how well someone else’s son did and figured if he took them into the office his boy could “sell” more.

At the very least, we must have proper labels on the boxes:

WARNING: This box contains Girl Scout Cookies. However, the cookies in this box were NOT sold by a Girl Scout. The cookies were not produced by Girl Scouts. The girls pictured on this box are not Girl Scouts, they are paid professionals – any resemblance to actual Scouts is purely coincidental.   

All things considered, I‘m gonna stop buying multiple boxes of chocolate mint and peanut butter cookies every year. Yup, I’m quittin’ just as soon as they stop making ‘em taste so damn good.
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