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October 02, 2009

Do Me a Favor, People

If you are the parent of a Cub Scout, Brownie, Girl or Boy Scout, please do not send your clueless offspring to my door with his/her hair uncombed, shirt not tucked in... and to really fry the Blog Princess's Maternal Bacon, bereft of the slightest clue what the troop is selling, how much it costs, who to make the check out to, or when payment is due for the order.

The princess is arguably the easiest touch on the planet but even she gets her Hanes Silky UltraSheers in a wad when faced with a monosyllabic, zoned out urchin who appears to be blinking T O R T U R E with his or her eyelids as she struggles to read the tiny print on the (*&%$ order form on her way out the door to some place that urgently requires her presence.

She really wants to buy that oversized tub of cheese popcorn that will sit uneaten in her pantry along with the caramel corn she bought this time last year from some other speech impaired midget.

And if she has to walk up to the street and drag you out of your car so you can perform the parental functions so beloved by generations of Moms and Dads from time immemorial to get it through your thick head that this is all part of the Great Circle of Life, she will.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well. Do your job.

Consider this a teaching moment.

Posted by Cassandra at October 2, 2009 05:45 PM

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Comments

Absolutely brilliant!! You nailed perfectly what passes for fund raising in the 21st Century! In 2009 I'm the one helping the kid at my door sell whatever. Back when my kids were doing this (25 years ago) my better half (more often than I) were out there helping out young'uns selling whatever.

Posted by: Northlander at October 2, 2009 06:17 PM

When I was a kid I did it on my own - back in the early 80's.

Posted by: Darius at October 2, 2009 06:46 PM

When I was a kid, our school made us pay for the candy up front -- $75, or some similarly large sum for a kid -- and then we got to keep the money we made from selling it. Heck of an incentive to sell the stuff: otherwise, you're out a fortune!

Anyway, I decided that the candy was mine (since I'd paid for it), and that I could therefore do what I wanted with it. Thus, I went around selling mine at double the price that I was supposed to ask. Might as well make a profit, right?

That worked out great until my somewhat-liberal mother found out I had been "overcharging" everyone (including her). Far from being proud of her young son's grasp of basic economic principles, she was outraged that I hadn't been charging a "fair" price, as determined by what the authorities asserted it was proper to charge.

She's still mad about that, in fact. She mentioned it just the other day.

Posted by: Grim at October 2, 2009 06:54 PM

Come on M'lady...

That the chilluns in question do not know or understand how they are perceived by their public, nor what they are selling. That they do not bother to learn anything about their products and have not clue one as to the cost, real or otherwise, yet expect you to fork your money over to them, well, just because.

With this grooming plus the reward of making money without the feedback that should accompany poor service, these little urchins may maximize their talents and one day become archetypical legislators. The eighth plague.

BTW, a big shout-out of thanks to mom and dad for a job well undone... May these chilluns one day expend as much thought and effort when they make their carefully considered choices for your geriatric care.

Posted by: bt_Curmudgeon_hun at October 2, 2009 06:59 PM

Each November, I scurried around the neighborhood collecting pine cones that fell on folks' lawns.

Dried 'em out, painted them red, green, or gold, then went to the same houses I'd picked them up and sold them as Christmas decorations, three for a nickel.

No (*&%$ order forms, no waiting for delivery, and, after the first sale, I always had change for a dime...

Posted by: Bill Z.Z. ZydecoT at October 2, 2009 07:07 PM

Sheesh... I'd forgotten all about this little bid'ness until just now. But when I was, ah, maybe 10, my bud and I used to shoot mistletoe out of the oak trees around our little home town and sell it just before Christmas.

A perfect product. Not much 'splain' required for product placement or the usage of a sprig of mistletoe. And almost everyone can, or wants to use some mistletoe over the holidays.

The only drawback was getting Spanish moss and the ever present red bugs on ya. There wasn't enough mistletoe in the world to entice a young lady to kiss you after the red bugs had their way with you. Well, any young lady other than mom...

Posted by: bt_Curmudgeon_hun at October 2, 2009 07:28 PM

Children? I thought you were talking about the parents. In our office, when I wasn't retired, the parents dumped a pallet load of nicely wrapped debris made in China with an honor list to sign and deposit money in.

Enough salt and artery clogging detritus in those cookies to kill a horse.

Posted by: vet66 at October 2, 2009 08:28 PM

Say, listen, if you're not going to eat that caramel corn....

Posted by: RIslander at October 2, 2009 09:11 PM

[Deleted.]

Posted by: yani at October 2, 2009 10:40 PM

If vani's comment is a joke, I'm not getting it and if it's not a joke it's one of the sickest things I seen in a while. In fact, it's sick even if it's supposed to be a joke.

Posted by: Donna B. at October 2, 2009 11:06 PM

What Donna B said. Except the moniker is "yani" and the owner of the moniker needs taken out to the woodshed for a little physical education.

Posted by: John Hitchcock at October 3, 2009 02:42 AM

I doubt it's a joke, although the poster is. He sounds fragile enough that a trip to the woodshed would cripple him for life.

Not that I'd be against that...

Posted by: BillT at October 3, 2009 04:44 AM

BillT;
He is already crippled for life. I wouldn't be against it either. These folks always engage in the same psychopathy which belies their anger and impotence.

Pathetic.

Posted by: vet66 at October 3, 2009 05:38 AM

He's more a "progressive revolutionary" wannabe, but without the intellect God gave crabapples.

Matty Blackfive banned him a couple years back. It seems Ricky-baby hates blacks *and* soldiers.

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2005/09/have_you_been_b.html

Posted by: BillT at October 3, 2009 06:28 AM

Popcorn sales! It's that time of year again. My Bright Young People usually drag one of us along for the first few times until they get the sales pitch down cold, along with the Relevant, Pertinent Facts pertaining to price, delivery, etc. That is why we hit up our friends first before we go to Total Strangers. Feedback is critical, you know.

This year, because of impending county fairs and Eagle Projects in the works, my lads will be foregoing popcorn sales. Otherwise, I would send them up to the People's Republic of Maryland for laughs and giggles.

Bwahahahaha...

Posted by: Cricket at October 3, 2009 07:35 AM

yani, shut up. As usual you are missing the point, unless you are rubbing the one on your head.

it amazes me that you have been allowed access to a keyboard. do your white-coated keepers know you are off your meds again?

http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog/archives/2009/10/do_me_a_favor_p.html

Posted by: Cricket at October 3, 2009 07:43 AM

Dang, I lead a sheltered life... I've missed running across the jackass what calls themselves yani.

But given her spewage towards M'lady, I'll invited her down to God's country for some backwoods tutorials.

Yani, any time you think you're up for it, ask the lady of this house for contact info, she and a couple of others around here know how to reach me. Just get in touch, come on down, and I'll extend to you the same welcome I'd give to all of your character. And that is to consider that my door is always open... Don't bother knocking, just come on in.

Until then, you are cordially invited to STFU.

Posted by: bthun at October 3, 2009 09:19 AM

Yet another reason to be glad that "La Casa de Camo" (my rambling estate) is at the end of a dead end road...

Posted by: camojack at October 3, 2009 10:00 AM

I too prefer dead end roads camo. Along with no HOA/Covenance, a dead end road has always been high on the shopping list.

And even with all the growth in this area, it's still country around the Hun hovel. Enough so that we've a couple of hundred acres of pasture and woods out back.

Plenty of room to conduct the odd, little Chihuahua schoolin' events without disturbing the neighbors.

Posted by: bthun at October 3, 2009 10:14 AM

Amen, Cassandra, Amen!

Posted by: lela at October 3, 2009 11:29 AM

Grim, your enterprise makes perfect sense to me. When I was around 12, my brother and I took it upon ourselves to sell homemade cinnamon toothpicks. Sells took a dive when the school nurse started getting complaints about blisters forming in kids mouth.

Posted by: Russ at October 3, 2009 02:43 PM

[Ed. note: deleted. Off topic and boring to boot.]

Posted by: yani at October 3, 2009 08:13 PM

Yani, if you aspire to troll status here at VC, you really need to step up your game.

Witty trolls are generally tolerated. Sadly, you're just not that interesting.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 3, 2009 08:19 PM

I mentioned this to my wife, who is VP of a Girl Scout council. She laughed and said her staff members have children and know not to leave an order form in the office kitchen. "Before anyone buys anything," she said, "the child must come to the office and explain what is being sold, for which organization, what the money will be used for, and be able to answer questions." I said I will do cut and paste on the post. My wife said she will distribute the post to her staff. A good piece of writing.

Posted by: SgtBob at October 3, 2009 09:49 PM

Cass, may I forward this on to our local Scoutmaster? His son is attending the Citadel.
He would love it.

Posted by: Cricket at October 3, 2009 10:09 PM

Whats up guys? yeah we have some smart people on this page. Great subject to. You know you can blog on www.women-sunglasses too. Your all invited. Creat your own subjects and get them created for you. But Yeah I really think what you said pretty much naild it in my opinion.
Jason

Posted by: jason at October 4, 2009 02:01 AM

Yani, if you aspire to troll status here at VC, you really need to step up your game.

Not gonna happen, Cass. Yani's already used his best material.

Posted by: BillT at October 4, 2009 02:56 AM

I will take your caramel corn there Cas. Just send it prepaid of course. :)

Posted by: Tom B at October 4, 2009 03:08 AM

Wow - the trolls are out in force today I see.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at October 4, 2009 04:36 AM

It's funny. I read this on my Google Reader yesterday, hit the Kroger on the way home, and there were some really dirty Girl Scouts trying to sell cookies there. Their uniforms were obviously unwashed in recent memory, and the little darlings could hardly speak English. One of them actually said "yo, you want to buy sum cooky?"

Posted by: William Teach at October 4, 2009 09:27 AM

When my boys were small, I HATED fundraisers.

That said, we always did our part. The thing is, I tried to teach my kids that it was their job to put themselves in the "customer's" place - to make them want to buy.

If they couldn't come up with a convincing sales pitch, there was no reason to expect someone to part with their hard earned money. Part of that sales pitch is (or, I think, should be), "Sure, you can buy X at Walmart. But if you buy it from me, you also have the satisfaction of supporting the Boy Scouts, an organization that does good things."

If a kid comes to the door unkempt and looking apathetic and it's apparent no one bothered to teach them how to sell, why should I want to support the Boy Scouts?

Ironically, shortly after the first kid came to my door, two more kids came selling the same thing.

They were polite and well groomed and cheerful. Their pitch wasn't polished, but at least they were trying. I asked them to come back Sunday :p

Unsurprisingly, their Mom was with them.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 4, 2009 09:56 AM

I don't mind if anyone sends this around, but I hope people will realize it was written with tongue firmly in cheek.

I love kids. And it makes me mad when I end up with a bad impression of a child because no adult cared enough to teach him or her the right way to perform a task. Kids aren't born with experience or knowledge - it's OUR job to teach them. My ire about this incident wasn't aimed at the children, but at their parents for not doing their job.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 4, 2009 09:59 AM

I will send it with the appropriate caveats and your last comment. I love children too, which is why I bother to teach mine. While this may sound self-serving, and to a certain extent it is, our children are a reflection of their upbringing. So far, while the Young Man has irritated me with some totally Stoopid comments, he is analytical, insightful, hardworking, kind and generous. I have never known him to do a mean thing.

When he was in school, his teachers told us they wished the children in their classes behaved as well as the Young Man.

Having said that, his Eagle project preparation is giving me fits. Despite the fact that writing is a Required Subject at Chez Engineer Academy, he has balked. We have pulled hen's teeth to get him to outline it, then separate each job, what tools, etc.

He is doing the work, but it is frustrating for us because we see it as 'easy' and he, poor lad, is being hit with the full brunt of expectations.
Well, we are Nearly There with turning it in, and hopefully it will meet or exceed the standard required by the council.

The Younger Brother, OTOH, has a terrific Eagle project that he thought of and got approval for, and it is coming together easier.

Posted by: Cricket at October 4, 2009 11:31 AM

The real name of our homeschool is Klingon Warrior Academy Prep.

Just in case you were wondering.

Posted by: Cricket at October 4, 2009 11:33 AM

"I love kids. And it makes me mad when I end up with a bad impression of a child because no adult cared enough to teach him or her the right way to perform a task. Kids aren't born with experience or knowledge - it's OUR job to teach them. My ire about this incident wasn't aimed at the children, but at their parents for not doing their job."
So true...

When I pay too much attention to young'uns, especially those traveling in herds, or the drek that passes for entertainment in younger circles, I worry that we are sowing the wind with our lack of oversight for The Children™.

The shame of it is that children will imitate their parents, at least for a while since they know no better. And as we all know, some parents are not the best examples for imitation.

Another observation which nags at me, but one for which I have no answers, is that the laws of our society require that we test and license people who, build structures, handle other people's finances --unless you are elected to public office of course, provide daycare services, operate motor vehicles on public roads, cut the publics hair, etc.

Anyone who performs a service that is deemed to have a modicum of impact on the public health and/or well being is regulated to the nth degree. Yet there is no preparation, test, quality assurance evaluation or anything beyond a blood test, that determines whether a person meets or exceeds the capability to care for and properly provide for a child. Nothing beyond concerned and involved parents.

The freedoms which allow one to thrive or completely hose up their own life, also allow a screwup to spawn and foul succeeding generations right from the get-go. Add to that the gub'ments history of encouraging people who are not prepared for the responsibility of parenting to spawn endlessly through well meaning, but ill considered, programs funded via taxpayer largess.

Then again, even when young'uns have been instructed by devoted parents, through guidance and example such that the young'uns know right from wrong, good from bad, industry from sloth, outside influences, peers, Universities, the entertainment industry, sports figures, along with other flavors of role models can lead malleable child/young adult's off in a less than optimal direction.

Grim says it well here

"Conditioning of any sort is an attempt to develop a Second Nature (per Aristotle) that builds on your First Nature. If there's no foundation for the Second Nature in your First Nature, it doesn't work. If there is, and if you choose to accept what you are being taught, you can develop the Second Nature. It is important to remember, though, that even in that case what you are doing is refinement."
When I compare kids today to those of a half century ago, I sense a growing whirlwind. I wonder how much responsibility for the whirlwind should be owned by parents, and how much by the less than honorable influences readily available and directly marketed to the youth today? And ultimately, how much by the child/young adult?

On the other hand, I know that too often, we only notice those who do not meet expectations.

Apologies for the windiness. As I've admitted on more than one occasion, it slipped.

Posted by: bt_Curmudgeon_hun at October 4, 2009 04:24 PM

School Answering Machine Message

Actual answering machine message from a school in Australia. Goes along with the general theme here.

Posted by: Cricket at October 4, 2009 07:07 PM

I love it, Cricket!

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at October 4, 2009 07:16 PM

We are all working under the assumption that the parent knows the proper thing to do.

Posted by: RIslander at October 4, 2009 07:29 PM

Well, there is that, RI. When I sub at a school in an affluent neighborhood, I know I can most likely expect a pleasant day. When at a school in a lower socioeconomic neighborhood, it's a roll of the dice. Has a lot to do with parental expectations and the kind of behavior the kids observe at home/is tolerated at home by the parents.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at October 4, 2009 07:47 PM

Good helk. The message is a hoax.

Sigh.

Posted by: Cricket at October 4, 2009 07:50 PM

Oh, I figured it wasn't for-real, but it is something many educators would love to say to parents...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at October 4, 2009 07:53 PM

"We are all working under the assumption that the parent knows the proper thing to do."
Well, maybe not all of us.

And I know that if I would have had the ability to call do-overs when I was a young parent, I'd have exercised that option more than a time or two.

Posted by: bt_Curmudgeon_hun at October 4, 2009 11:50 PM

I've been an adult leader in the BSA (a.k.a. "Scouter") for the last 17 years. In my neighborhood the parents won't even send their kids door to door in the first place. They take the sheet in to work and run it around the relatives, and that's it. When I ask "Why?" the answer is that either they don't consider it safe (my neighborhood is a quiet to the point of torpor Chicago suburb) or that it takes too much time. Sometimes I get asked "Why don't I just write you a check?" from the more affluent parents.

My response to all of them is that from a Scouting viewpoint, fundraising is not separate from the rest of the program; it's an integral part. "Thrifty" is the 9th point of the Scout Law and the explanation starts off that "A Scout works to pay his own way and to help others." By having the Scout work to earn money it presses this point home and gives him a sense of accomplishment that he helped pay for what the Pack, Troop, Crew or Ship does. By doing it for him you are depriving him of part of the program.

And yes; if the Scout is selling popcorn (the nationally organized and approved fundraiser) he should be neat and clean and in full uniform (as much as he can afford, anyway) that is itself neat, clean and pressed.

The last objection is "But my son is shy." My response is "This will be a good lesson for him, then." I generally hear this from the overprotective moms that want to shield their kids from anything that they might find unpleasant or objectionable. Understand that I walked my neighborhood on foot for a few years with my son while he walked up to doors and sold Christmas wreaths, so I'm not talking about something I wouldn't do.

Posted by: RonF at October 5, 2009 02:07 PM

I did it too, Ron, so I hear you :)

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2009 02:10 PM

Cass, check your email.

Posted by: Cricket at October 5, 2009 03:03 PM

If it would make it any easier, I can give you the online ordering information for that wonderful popcorn you so desire.

Posted by: David M at October 5, 2009 04:25 PM

Heh :)

You're a dead man!

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2009 04:43 PM

Welcome to the club, Dave.

Don't worry, she couldn't hit the broad side of a barn firing from *inside*...

Posted by: BillT at October 5, 2009 05:14 PM

How do you know? :)

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2009 05:16 PM

I'm still breathing...

Posted by: BillT at October 5, 2009 05:44 PM

Yes, but I have never fired at you :p

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2009 05:51 PM

Which was possibly kind of his point...

Also, you have a comment from Jason which seems to be spam, and not particularly clever spam either.

What are your thoughts on these little entrepreneurs setting up roadside stalls or online presences, though? Is that alright? Maybe they can get their cheerleader sister and friends to help out - that would work a treat on me, at least.

Posted by: Gregory at October 5, 2009 10:07 PM

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