artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


23 September 2008

Kids selling things == EVIL HORRIBLE Man, I hate it when schools ask kids to go door-to-door selling stuff like candy bars. Half the damn time, the parents just hit up the office for it (which pisses me off even more). When I was a kid, when we had to do one of those stupid fund-raisers, I usually wound up buying the stuff myself out of my spending money just to get it over with: I hated hated HATED accosting my neighbors for money. [More:]

As far as I'm concerned, it's just a huge scheme to get kids used to working retail before they can legally work, and my wife and I have already determined that our kid is never going to sell a god damned thing door-to-door for /any/ school-related cause.

(oh, hi, I'm back)
...and if someone could please "more" my too-long post, I'd appreciate it, because I'm an idiot.
posted by scrump 23 September | 12:26
I agree, scrump. One of my kids is in a club that does fundraising. We write a check.

I sold candy bars in high-school. I ate a lot of them and left a box or two in a hot car and ended up shelling out a lot of my own cash. I have no idea what I was fundraising for.
posted by LoriFLA 23 September | 12:33
hi. :)

So what prompted the post? Did a kid just come to your door? I agree with you, btw - except for Girl Scout cookies, which I crave. And we don't have Girl Scouts or their cookies in Greece... one of our Greek tragedies.

GREEK CHORUS SINGS: No Thin Mints for you, alas, alas!
posted by taz 23 September | 12:39
One of my friends made the mistake of mentioning something tangential (parents doing their kids' homework), and I was off to the races, foaming at the brain.

shut up about the Girl Scout cookies god dammit I'm on a roll
posted by scrump 23 September | 12:41
I remember the assemblies they'd do to push the programs- LOOK AT ALL THE COOL STUFF YOU CAN EARN FOR SELLING MAGAZINES- TAPE PLAYERS, BOOM BOXES, RIDES IN LIMOS AND PIZZA PARTIES. Alas, I never earned much of anything, because I was way too lazy to sell and my parents weren't too into the idea, either.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 23 September | 12:43
In 6th grade we has to sell light bulbs to go to camp. It was pretty horrible, even as a 6th grader i knew that you couldn't just randomly hit up people to buy light bulbs. At least chocolate is something people will buy on impulse.
posted by doctor_negative 23 September | 12:45
I sold greeting cards for prizes through those ads in comic books and I delivered newspapers (and in the process recruited new customers for my route and learned how to get tips, etc). It's not a bad idea to teach kids that money dosen't fall from the sky and how to hustle for it.
posted by jonmc 23 September | 12:48
I remember doing that crap. (Of course, by the time I got to HS, most parents had already been fully tapped for all that shit. They did a basic "Here's the amount you'll need to either fundraise or write a check for. Your call." which worked out surprisingly well.)
posted by sperose 23 September | 12:51
Oh I hate the stupid fundraisers. Everyone we know is in the same school district--who are we going to sell this crap to? Each other?

But I don't mind those as much as the kids who just ask for donations at stoplights or in front of the store. No, I do not want to help your ice hockey team or cheerleading squad or water polo team travel to the Big Championship. That's a Rich People Problem and I don't solve those.
posted by jrossi4r 23 September | 12:52
I think it's a terrible idea to teach kids how to hustle for money. I mean, it's not like, in most households, they won't be working just as soon as they legally can. Why start them down that road any earlier than strictly necessary?

I started working officially, 40 hours a week, at 15, but I'd been working at least 20 hours a week since I was 12. And I never really stopped: I worked through the school year, and on my "summer vacation", because we needed the money to pay for my school: first my high school, which was a Catholic private school, and then for my college. And the one thing I keep thinking now, at the age of 36, is that I wish I knew what a summer vacation was like. I wish I'd spent more time learning to play, or relax, or just sit around thinking: doing something, anything, other than working.

Because I sure as shit know how to work, but I'm not sure I know how to play.
posted by scrump 23 September | 12:55
Actually, this just made me remember the time back around 1990 when I was in a bar in the East Village called (no joke) Downtown Beirut. My friend Dene, one of my punk rock mentors, took me there. As we drank our beers, this skinny little kid walked in with a box of chocolate and said "You wanna buy a candy bar to help me fight drugs?" "No," she answered "I need all my money for drugs!" She did buy one, though, as I recall. A few moments later, someone put "Don't Believe The Hype" on the jukebox and the bartender noticed the kid and told him to scram, and he literally danced right out the door.

Why start them down that road any earlier than strictly necessary?

I guess my parents both 1)couldn't afford for shower me with pocket money and 2)maybe they figured that my academic erraticness meant that I should learn early about making money. Whether that's for the best or not is open to question, but i guess that's what happened.
posted by jonmc 23 September | 12:58
I think it works for people who have salesmen-type personalities, perhaps such as jonmc, but not for the rest of us.

One of my favorite Dilbert cartoons of all time (can't locate a link at the moment):

Ted: “I’m taking orders for ‘Camp Girl Cookies’ on behalf of my daughter.”

Ted: “How many dozen can I guilt you into buying.”

Dilbert: “I’ve always wondered, Ted, why do they sell cookies? Is it just for the money?”

Ted: “No, it’s to help them build character by earning their own money.”

Dilbert: “Oh, so your daughter is doing some selling from door-to-door?”

Ted: “No, too dangerous. My wife and I are doing all the selling at work.”

Dilbert: “Well, then aren’t you only teaching your daughter to act helpless so other people will do her work?”

Ted: “Just buy the stupid cookies!!”

Dilbert: “Have you considered foster care for your kids?”
posted by Melismata 23 September | 13:01
I was always intrigued by the idea of selling Grit door-to-door, but then, I never knew exactly what the hell Grit was.
posted by Atom Eyes 23 September | 13:03
I think it works for people who have salesmen-type personalities, perhaps such as jonmc, but not for the rest of us.

Well, I've done sales (and my Dad was and still is a salesman, which was a good way for a man without a college education to achieve a middle-class life for his family) and it's got it's pluses (direct rewards for better performance, clear motivation) and it's minues (stress like you wouldn't believe, hypercompetitiveness). But I think that's a tangent to the question of young people working. I think most teenagers (I started working around 13 (11 if you count the paper route)) should have at least part-time or summer jobs, to teach them about the value of a dollar and the work ethic. This fundraiser stuff, is less important.
posted by jonmc 23 September | 13:07
One day last winter a bunch of neighborhood moms and our babies got together at someone's house to play. One of the moms also has a teenage daughter and she passed around this Otis Spunkmeyer cookie fundraiser thing that the kid's church was pushing. This was so she could go on a trip to Mexico with the church to build a playground or something.

I said to the mom, I'd be glad to buy something but don't you think Allison should be asking instead of you? She got all embarrassed and flustered and then I felt bad and bought some of the damn cookies anyway.
posted by Kangaroo 23 September | 13:11
I hated hawking shit like this. Hated. It. I think I sold magazine subscriptions in junior high. Like, if people want a magazine subscription they usually know how to get one -- maybe from one of the ten thousand cards stuck in their favourite magazines? They don't need some snotty-nosed kid begging them to take one of theirs.
posted by loiseau 23 September | 13:12
I used to sell candy bars and lolly pops in high school - it started as a fundraiser for church camp, but after I won a scholarship I just started pocketing the profit.

It was a pretty good racket, as long as I didn't get conned into giving kids free stuff.
posted by muddgirl 23 September | 13:15
What sort of things do they have kids selling these days? I remember selling wrapping paper, magazine subscriptions, popcorn maybe?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 23 September | 13:22
I feel the same way. I quit Girl Scouts right when we had to start doing cookie selling and frankly to me it's one of the most distasteful things about scouting. I have no issue with fundraising but geez have a car wash or something, don't just teach kids to be middlemen in the retail chain where they have to get all of the embarassment/headache without even learning how the system really works. Soeone says "hey these candy bars are terrible" and you're just sitting there, a kid with a bad overpriced product, hoping to cash in on the decency of your funding goal.

I had jobs all through high school and I buy raffle tickets and donate in every other way, but I will never buy a product from a fundraising kid, ever.
posted by jessamyn 23 September | 13:26
What sort of things do they have kids selling these days?


They figured 'if you want to raise funds, don't mess around.'
posted by jonmc 23 September | 13:31
At high school we were constantly fundraising to get an actual gym. But we didn't often sell stuff. I think we were more inventive about it. I do remember at one fundraising event we held a slave auction and I auctioned off students and teachers who were slaves for an hour. I think we were encouraged to be a bit more inventive about how to get cash.

The school got the gym - but not until many years later after we'd all left. I want my name on a brick dammit - all that hard work to raise money for something none of us got close to using!
posted by gomichild 23 September | 13:31
I was really, really shy when I was a kid. If you could concoct the perfect torture for me, it would probably be forcing me to sell stuff door-to-door. I was in Girl Scouts and I hated that part - and my parents refused to do the bring to work thing, so I just ended up selling like 4 boxes of cookies.

I think the door-to-door thing is worse than regular retail. I started working retail at age 16 and it got me over my shyness pretty quickly. But the difference is someone walking into a retail establishment is at least potentially interested in your products, whereas going door-to-door you're very likely to be actually bothering people. Much like the difference between receiving calls to help customers and cold-calling.
posted by misskaz 23 September | 13:36
In high school we sold croissants for our French class. I don't know why exactly we did this, but the French teacher had a source for some really badass croissants. My mom insisted that I just bring my entire allotment home for her to buy.

I vaguely remember selling candy bars for little league baseball (not the official Little League, but a neighborhood version of the same). I'm not entirely sure what the money was used for, but I think it subsidized some of the lower-income kids in our mixed neighborhood. I didn't mind those fundraisers, but I remember really hating the school-sponsored fundraisers that involved some outside firm who hyped all their bullshit prizes.

Then I started working at my dad's telemarketing firm during the summers from about age 14 on. I actually loved that before I learned enough to know better. It was good for me, I think.
posted by mullacc 23 September | 13:42
Dude- if they were selling good croissants my annoyance level would disappear completely.
posted by small_ruminant 23 September | 13:56
Half the damn time, the parents just hit up the office for it (which pisses me off even more).

Y'know, I understand the principle, and usually I'd be lining up right behind you to be pissed off... but practically speaking I love this approach.

Maybe that's because all the parents (and aunts and uncles and such) I've known to do this have been very relaxed about it, just keeping the box of candy (or the cookie sign-up sheet, or whathaveyou) under their desks and letting those interested approach them.

Me, I lost my Girl Scout Cookie Girl when my ex- and I split, and I count on a friend to keep me in Thin Mints via her Girl Scout niece. I have to remember to prod her about it, because the friend doesn't pester us to buy them. It's a simple solution that appears to irritate no one.
posted by Elsa 23 September | 14:04
I hate these fundraisers only because they usually hand out the packets during the first couple of days of school. Not only do they expect you to raise money by selling whatever; you're still trying to purchase the required school supplies. The kids in my neighborhood are lucky that we all pretty much know each other: they will come to my door, but usually mom or older sibling is standing on the sidewalk for support. I always look forward to my Girl Scout cookie salesgirls. To be honest, I don't even bother with the fundraising things my kids bring home, I'll usually just toss the paperwork in the trash.
posted by redvixen 23 September | 14:37
Maybe that's because all the parents (and aunts and uncles and such) I've known to do this have been very relaxed about it, just keeping the box of candy (or the cookie sign-up sheet, or whathaveyou) under their desks and letting those interested approach them.

I had a boss at a summer job bring in his kid's catalog and strongly encourage all of us (his employees) to buy something. I bit the bullet and bought the cheapest thing- I think it was a plastic cup with gummy worms in it, for something like $10 or $12. I never even got the thing, because the job was over by the time they delivered the stuff.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 23 September | 15:00
Oh I hate the stupid fundraisers. Everyone we know is in the same school district--who are we going to sell this crap to? Each other?

Half the damn time, the parents just hit up the office for it (which pisses me off even more).

This is what happens where I work - everyone just kind of agrees to buy one thing from everyone else, so it ends up more or less equal and it works pretty well. A lot of parents are worried about sending kids out door-to-door and don't have the time to follow them around. Then there's people like us, who live in an area where there are maybe 10 houses within a couple of kilometres and they all have kids, most of whom go to the same school. You would end up just buying the same crap from other kids.

With my eldest daughter, we spent years fundraising for a school hall, which was built the year after she left primary school and then spent years fundraising for a performing arts centre for the high school she went to, which was built the year after she left there. I'm done with that shit - I've made my contribution to other kids' education and that's all they get from me.
posted by dg 23 September | 15:19
I was only in Girl Scouts for about a month (and it wasn't even full-fledged Girl Scouts -- it was Brownies), so I never had to do the cookie whoring either. My next-door neighbor was into it on a competitive level, though. Not only did her dad sell cookies at work (he worked in the same building as my dad, so I know this FOR A FACT!), but they roped me into helping sell every year. Our little town was rural and spread out, so there was really no walking door-to-door. Her mom would drive us from house to house. I'd go to the houses on one side of the street, and the official girl scout would go to the houses on the other.

Looking back on it, I'm not sure why my parents allowed this, except that it got me out of the house on otherwise boring winter weekends. Her parents, though, they were shady like that, and in retrospect I'm not surprised at all that they came up with the scheme. (Cindy, the other next-door neighbor, helped sometimes too.)

Flash Forward: For the past couple weeks, a Cub Scout troop has been selling cans of popcorn outside my favorite grocery store. They're not very aggressive -- they mostly just stand there looking small and cute and hopeful -- but the other day one little boy did come up to me with the old "Would you like to buy some popcorn for a good cause, Ma'am?" routine.

I politely told him no, not today. But what I really wanted to say was "I'm sorry, young man, but your organization thinks that people like me shouldn't be around children, and they've gone all the way to the Supreme Court to fight said point, so I will not be buying popcorn from you today. And also, BOO!" [And here I'd wave my arms and stick out my tongue like the terrifying gay person that I am, and he'd run away crying to his heterosexual troop leader.]
posted by mudpuppie 23 September | 15:20
Then there are the rest of us, who think you shouldn't be around ANYONE because you're a BIG INTERNET WEIRD-FACE PERSON RUN AWAY RUN AWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY oh hey you have cookies awesome
posted by scrump 23 September | 15:29
I remember selling Girl Scouts door-to-door. I was never very good at it. It's hard out there for a pimp.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson 23 September | 15:29
As a child, i felt shocked and demoralized at the concept.
And yet, i had been making money selling stuff at school since kindergarten.
"I'm suppose you sell your weird cheap tacky crap at inflated prices because what? To strangers?"
They were already bilking us with endless scholastic book merchandise and Hot Dog magazine.
They made kids pay for cute kitty pics back then.
posted by ethylene 23 September | 16:44
Hey, jonmc, I sold those stupid greeting cards too! At least till I ran out of softhearted relatives....

I simply refused to allow my kids to do school fundraisers. Period.

Now, if a kid is selling candy, I can deal with that. But I don't want overpriced wrapping paper (the year I ordered it the poor kid didn't even get it back in time for me to wrap Christmas presents in it) cookie dough, candles, or other assorted crap. Do a daggone spaghetti dinner, or sell me a candy bar. Otherwise leave me alone.

If enough parents would just say no, this crap would go away.
posted by bunnyfire 23 September | 16:57
I don't recall such a thing happening at my school... if it did, chances are I was out in the woods near the fitness track smoking a doob when they were handing the shit out.
posted by Meatbomb 23 September | 17:10
I sold stuff as a kid: it taught me a lot about finances and how to interact with strangers. I think it's a good exercise.
posted by eamondaly 23 September | 21:19
Have you guys seen those insane ads for high-fructose corn syrup? || Less is more ...