Sunday, March 6, 2011

Are They Made From Real Girl Scouts?

I hated having to sell Girl Scout Cookies as a kid.  It was always an exercise in crushed hopes.

In my troupe, some sort of prize went to the girl who sold the most cookies.  I don’t remember what the prize was.  If I were in charge, the prize would be never having to sell cookies again.

Congratulations, Suzie!  You’ve sold your lifetime quota of cookies.  
The rest of you?   Back in line!

We’d be handed a little pamphlet describing each cookie and an order form.  In my 7-year-old heart, I really wanted to be a part of the cookie-making process.  Unfortunately, we didn’t actually bake any cookies.  I daydreamed wistfully of those lucky Girl Scouts that (I assumed) got to work in the cookie-making factory.

 Mmmmm.....child labor.

My dream of being a child-laborer was quashed.  Still, there was the prospect that, if I couldn’t actually bake any cookies, I’d be the best darn cookie-sales-scout ever.

So, I’d haul myself through the neighborhood in all my buck-toothed, knobby-kneed glory, knocking on doors and asking, “Wannabuysomecookies?”

Some neighbors “wouldn’t be home.”  I can’t say I’d blame them.  It’s easier to simply ignore a kid, than to have to tell them, “NO!  I do not want your cookies or for you to be successful in life.  I have high cholesterol.”

Most neighbors, though, bought at least one pity-box. I lived in a small neighborhood, so I don’t think I had more than 10 or so doors to knock on in the first place.

I’d turn up to the next troupe meeting with my handful of cookie orders, only to be met with girls who not only lived in larger neighborhoods, but had parents who worked in offices that allowed them to hock their child’s cookies to their co-workers.

Naturally, I didn’t win the cookie-selling prize.  I don't even know if I earned a cookie-selling badge.  I just don’t have the salesperson knack. 

Later on in high-school I had to participate in various candy-bar selling fundraisers.  We’d all have to buy several boxes of candy to sell, and whatever we didn’t sell, we were stuck with.  People who once had sympathy for a goofy-looking child selling cookies, had little patience for an awkward teenager hocking candy bars.

Believe it or not, it is possible to grow tired of eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, especially when you are the proud owner of 20 unsold giant-sized packs.

Each bite tastes like failure.

So, these days, I have a great deal of sympathy for any wayward children pimping candy or cookies or wrapping paper in hopes of going to summer camp, or buying team uniforms, or whatever.  It’s not their fault. 

Eight is a little young to be forced to reckon with the fact that you may not have a future career in sales.


Jeremy said...

Love the post, it was very interesting.

Lindsay Schultz @sayschu said...

Hooray for The Addams Family reference!

Mom said...

I still can't look at a Reeses peanut butter cup!

Marianna Annadanna said...

Love that you thought there were lucky Keebler Elf Scouts. "Mmmm... child labor" Hilarious!

However, never too many Reese cups. NEVER!

Kids around here ask people for their leftover beer bottles. Then they return the bottles to the store for the deposit money. I like this approach. I don't have to buy anything, and I get to contribute to society too. Win-win.