When I was still working in an office environment, it was about this time every year that I had to start hiding from co-workers. There were about a half dozen or so people in my office that had daughters in the Girl Scouts and every year they would ask me to buy cookies from their kids. I felt like every encounter with these parents resulted in an awkward conversation.
Co-worker: “Do you want to buy some cookies? My kid is in the Girl Scouts and gets free shoe laces if she sells the most boxes.”
Me: “Maybe. Let me think about it.”
Co-worker: “What’s to think about? They’re delicious. How many do you want?”
Me: “I’ll get back to you.”
Co-worker: “Here, just take the sign-up sheet. Write down what you want and then give it back to me.”
Me: “Uh, sure.”
Then I had to find a time that they were away from their desk and sneak the form back to them so they couldn’t question me about why I hadn’t ordered anything.
I used to receive group e-mails, get post-its on my desk, and find sign-up sheets lining the walls in the break room. While I do enjoy the cookies and have no objection to supporting a fund raiser for the Girl Scouts, it always meant having to choose which kid to buy from. I could either buy a box from six different people, or get several boxes from one scout and ignore the rest. Either way, someone was going to think that I was cheap, or just rude.
I used to think that this annual dance was a problem. I didn’t know real problems until I retired from that job and started working out of my home. Now, the cookies don’t come to me anymore. I have to go to them.
I can’t just wait for a cookie order form to fall into my lap, I have to get in my car and start cruising the shopping malls like a junkie trying to find his next fix. And it’s a lot harder than it looks. When you don’t want cookies, there is a Girl Scout fund raising stand every six feet, but when you’re actively looking there isn’t anything but empty sidewalks for miles.
Last week, I decided to go look for some Tagalongs, because I’m human and who doesn’t want a block of peanut butter and chocolate every now and then? Those calorie bombs are delicious.
I pulled into a parking lot at a local grocery store and saw three kids covered in green outfits and merit badges with two adults hanging out on the sidewalk. They were all standing beside a silver van and loading a folding table into the vehicle.
I jumped out of my car and asked if they were still selling, but was told that they were done for the day and headed home. I suggested they could make one more sale before they left, but one of the parents said they were mostly sold out and what was left was already packed away.
I repeated my request slightly more emphatically, but it was met with equal resistance. I may have said something slightly inappropriate at that moment as I suddenly realized that two of the kids were crying and the third had simply turned around and run away through the parking lot. I decided it was time for me to leave.
Being arrested for verbally assaulting a pack of pre-teens is not exactly at the top of my to-do list.
I drove by the same location a few days later, hoping it would be a different group of people manning the cookie table, but I saw a couple familiar faces and decided to keep driving. I think one of the girls might have recognized me, but that could just be my own guilty conscience.
I found another cookie table a few miles from the first, but when I asked if they took credit cards, they told me they could only accept cash. I very politely explained that I did not carry cash and I would greatly appreciate it if they could please take a check or let me use my credit card. I was again forced to leave empty handed, fleeing a pack of crying children.
I really need to curb my use of profanity in the presence of minors.
Despite my failure to procure any cookies, I did learn three things this year during my hunt:
One) Thin mints are as addictive as crack and someone should be trying to find out exactly what is being baked into those things.
Two) Workplace fund raisers are only annoying until you realize that you actually want the items being sold.
And Three) Screaming at a 12-year old is counterproductive to reaching a desired outcome.
Okay, being a parent of two girls, I already knew that last one. Maybe I should clarify, screaming at someone else’s 12-year old is counterproductive. And, probably slightly illegal.
As of now, despite my searching, I have still not located any Girl Scout cookies for personal consumption. I am not sure that I will be able to find any before this year’s window closes, especially since I have been banned from the stands I have so far been able to locate.
I believe my only remaining option is to appeal to the kindness of my readers. So, if there is anyone out there reading this blog that has a daughter selling Girl Scout cookies, please send me an order form. I can make it worth your while.
And I promise not to yell at your kid.
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