As we travelled down to
Cincinnati Mason, Ohio to visit Great Wolf Lodge this weekend, Hannah was busy working the phone lines and I started having some flashbacks. “Hello, I am selling Girl Scout Cookies to support my Daisy troop. Would you like to buy a box?”
In my lifetime, I have sold any number of items door-to-door all in the name of fundraising. From candy bars to raffle tickets to decals, it feels like too many moments of my youth were spent hocking my wares to anyone and everyone in the neighborhood when I would have much rather been playing in the yard with my brothers. The hardest part of all of this is that I am an introvert and I don’t particularly enjoy asking people for help. Putting these two activities together were not exactly my idea of fun.
Because of this, I have a soft spot in my heart for children going door-to-door selling something to support their team or activity. In recent days I have bought anything from popcorn to candy to cookies (I think I bought from 6 or 7 different Girl Scout troops last year) to flower bulbs, more in appreciation for all of those grown-ups that took pity on me all of those years ago and bought something from me than from any need for the items that the child is selling. I still feel somewhat guilty about not buying some cookies from one of the girls that knocked on our door the other day. It was the right thing to do given that Hannah is now selling cookies herself, but it still felt wrong to say no.
I still remember my first time going door-to-door. I was a precocious soon-to-be 7 year old who had just been signed up for Little League baseball. One of our first official team duties (I think even before playing a single game!) was to don my brand new uniform, band together with a few of my new teammates under the watchful eye of one of our coaches and knock on doors. But it wasn’t to houses in my neighborhood. I don’t know how they decided who went where, but I was sent over to the other side of town from where I lived. This part of town was older than where I lived and seemed a little scarier (although I had lived in that part of town only 3 years earlier, it seemed like forever).
The strangest part of the whole experience was that we weren’t selling anything. We were just going from house to house knocking on doors, equipped with only one of those old giant Tootsie Roll banks
and some mildly attractive decals that had the official Little League logo on them.
That was it! Despite the bare bones operation, people would invariably give us money in return for one of our
useless adorable decals. At least with the Police Auxiliary decals you can be under the illusion that a police officer might see your car sporting one and decide against issuing you a ticket for various and sundry moving violations. But we had no such pull, except for being cute and eager Little Leaguers. Which apparently was enough. Apparently one of the biggest innovations of the 90’s and the 2000’s was a major upgrade in youth fundraising technology because with all of the intricate baked goods, magazines and sales cards, I’m guessing our Seinfeld approach of selling nothing would not work any more.
Hannah is much more of a performer than I am, so I had somewhat higher hopes for her ability to move merchandise. In fact, she had a rather polished presentation that she would deftly deliver. For a little while, I thought we might have a budding Gordon Gecko on my hands. As I was driving I started imagining a retirement living in the lap of luxury from the piles and piles of money that my industrious oldest child would be raking in with her mix of charming personality and aggressive salesmanship. A little Donald Trump with much better hair.
“I don’t WANNA make any more calls! I’m tired of this already!” whined my little closer. After a whopping 2 phone calls. I wanted to turn to her and say that I understood, that trying to convince friends and family members to buy stuff so that you can play sports or have a Daisy troop sucks. I wanted to tell her that while this is difficult, it will build character and give you a greater appreciation for the activities that you participate in now and in the future. Instead what came out was “You NEED to do this, it doesn’t matter if you are tired of it!” Seems like my selling days are not quite over yet.
Speaking of selling things, in my last post I forgot to mention that one of the coolest presents I received for Christmas was a hard-bound copy of all of my blog posts for the year 2011. While I am not sure if anyone else in the world would actually want such a thing, I figured that I might as well throw the link out there, just in case. It makes an excellent birthday, anniversary and Valentine’s Day present for your loved ones, neighbors, garbage man, blah blah blah blah blah blah. But if you are interested, you can purchase your own copy here. I pretty sure I don’t get a cut from any sales, so you can feel free to purchase them solely because you know it is an awesome product.