I HATE the plethora of school/sports team/Scouting/whatever fundraisers that are so prevalent now, where you are solicited to buy VERY overpriced popcorn/cookies/cookie dough,etc. (and usually by an adult, NOT the child). But this really takes the cake. I have a friend (and I should note that this friend is one of the Sale Parties types who does Pampered Chef, Party Lite Candles, etc. and commits a fair amount of etiquette breaches that way on his own behalf).
What took the cake with this friend was when I got an e-mail from him telling me his niece was selling cookies for her Scouting troop or some such thing. This child might have been around at some of Friends’ parties that I’ve attended, but I do not really know the child or have any relationship with her. My friend wanted to MAKE SURE that his niece won and sold the most boxes. So in the email he requested NOT ONLY that I buy the cookies, but that I ask around at work and any other organizations I belong to, to see if anyone else wanted to buy some!!!!
So, not only should I buy cookies from this child I don’t even know, I should do the sales work for her to insure she wins a prize!!! I think this child might grow up to be one of those bosses who has their underlings do all the work, and then takes the credit! 0118-10
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You can’t please everyone. As a single woman without children, I have been asking desperately around my groups of–unfortunately generally young and childfree, although some are new parents–friends for someone to “hook me up” with a child who is selling Girl Scout cookies. I usually buy about $100 worth and send them to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I couldn’t find anyone selling last year and missed out.
The people at my work who have kids all have either toddlers or college aged kids. If I could find a connection, you’d bet I’d mention it to my colleagues.
The only issue I have with this is the person who states he will make sure his niece wins. That’s intrusive. The person selling is supposed to do the customer a favor by providing access to a valued resource, not the other way around.
Oops! I was kind of guilty of this as a child. I won the cookie t-shirt for the region. Why? Because my Papa (grandfather) was the ultimate salesman. He told me he couldn’t decide which type of cookie to buy and asked to keep the form overnight. Driving home, my Mom asked for my form and I explained that Papa couldn’t decide. She knew right then what was going to happen and we were kind of powerless to stop it. He walked all over his senior complex with a picture of me and the cookie form. This was 1980 and the Broadway musical Annie was a huge hit. Well, I had (and still have) more than a passing resemblance to the curly redhead. Papa sold multiple boxes of cookies to even the residents who had grandkids in Scouts who lived in town.
I have to agree that these over-organized fundraisers have gotten way out of hand. (Having a grade-school-aged child means I’ve dealt with the seller side of things, reluctantly and grudgingly, and been often frustrated by the disorganization and inconsiderate actions of the companies providing products for kids to sell.) Girl Scout cookies started out as cookies baked by the girls themselves, which always sounded to me a lot more sensible than the corporate fund-raising machine they’ve become.
However, I’ll still support causes for children I personally know — relatives, or my kid’s playmates, or a few other kids around the neighborhood — as long as it’s something I can find a use for. It’s not the fault of the children, or their respective schools or clubs, that they desperately need funding.
When my three sisters and I were all in Girl Scouts, we asked our father if we could send a cookie form to work with him. He said, “No, I won’t take the form in; but I will take you into the office and let you ask my co-workers yourselves.”
Now that I’m an adult and have a job of my own, I’d be delighted to buy something from a child who came into the office to ask me directly. But I won’t buy anything if the child’s parent or grandparent simply brings in the form.
The worst one I can recall was when a former boss of mine put a cassette tape recorder in our break area with a sign requesting that we push “play.” When we did, we were treated to the sound of her two sons begging us to buy whatever junk they were selling. And I mean begging. Not just, “Hi, this is X and Y. We are selling XXX as a fundraiser for our school.” but more of “PLEASE PLEASE BUY OUR STUFF! WE WANT TO WIN PRIZES! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!”
Needless to say I did NOT buy anything.
To TychaBrache: (and any others who are interested), In the future, contact your local Girl Scout Council office. Explain that you would like to have your name and phone number passed along to a troop who would like to come by and sell you cookies. (I would ask for a group in your school zone, if possible). Also, make sure you order cookies from a troop, NOT from the council office (troops do not receive any portion of boxes sold by the council).
As a Girl Scout leader, I do hate to see the parents and other family members doing the selling. While this is a fundraiser, it is also an educational experience for the girls, and gives them a chance to learn communication skills, self confidence, math skills, and the pride of working hard. If we do it for them, we are robbing them of these experiences…and when they receive awards that they haven’t earned, what then ARE we teaching them?
I think these days, with so much more in the news about child molesters and such, parents are reluctant to send kids door to door like they did years ago. Unless it is to a trusted friend or relatives house, you have no idea what your kid will run into, especially in larger towns and cities.
It is safer for the kid, and to the annoyance of co-workers who get hit up with it, to take the sheets to the office.
I usually buy off the Girl Scout sheets, and skip the Pampered Chef. No need to fill the house with gadgets I’ll never use. 😉
Niece once upon a time was selling and the troup leader was trying to aim for 50 boxes per child sold. Not that they had to but to reach some goal or other that was what they should aim for. My niece’s aunt on her father’s side took the form to her family who bought 50+ boxes by themselves. All knew my niece but she had little to do with them at the time. She came out as head seller selling 180+ boxes total and other than her aunt no one took the sheet to work, to school or whatever for her. I helped with a lot of the legwork going to people who knew/trusted me but she wasn’t too shy to talk to.
I hate these kind of things myself, I dislike selling the bloody things even more so.
Back at my Primary school we actually were forced to sell boxes of chocolates, I didn’t see a way of getting out of it and every student in my year was made to take a box or two home.
Now my mother did not want me going around the streets by myself nor going up to strangers houses, and she didn’t have the time to take me around herself. So instead she’d simply take the boxes to work and put them on a table with the money envelope and list paper so that her coworkers could go up and purchase things if they like without having to be harassed to buy things.
My daughter is in Girl Scouts and sold cookies earlier this year. Her dad and my mom took the order forms to their works (they both were actually asked to take them by co-workers once they found out they were related to a GS! Everyone loves cookies!) but other than that my daughter did the work herself. Asking her teachers, family members, going to a couple neighbors etc. She sold a lot of cookies. Another girl in her troop mom did all the work..going to stores and restraunts selling to customers who were there. Then when she didn’t sell that many she proceeded to buy over 200 boxes in order to make sure her daughter got all the prizes!
My friend also brings her daughter’s boxes of chocolate to work and sets it up with the money envelope where people can see it. She also attachs an adorable looking picture of her daughter with a note saying “Please buy my candy.” Ahhh, great salesmanship LOL!
Skoffin- we did the same thing in high school, selling chocolates. Being a shy 14 year old, my nan spared me by buying out the box and then giving me one freddo/caramello koala each time I visited.
I’m working in a large office now, and one of the ladies there has a small son. She brings in a box, puts a note on it with the price, and leaves it in the kitchen. Nobody is pressured to buy, however we don’t have vending machines and the cafe is VERY overpriced so we normally go through a box each day!
The saddest part of this sort of fundraising is such a small portion of the proceeds actually goes to benefit the childrens’ cause. This is why the items are so expensive. When I was working, a few of the parents in my office would leave assorted pamphlets and order forms in the breakroom, and those interested would fill the form out themselves and leave a check. The parents didn’t actively hunt down our checkbooks, which I appreciated. If I had extra money that week, I would order something. My own daughter is only 2 so I haven’t reached this stage with her yet, but I am a supporter of both my godson’s various collections. It makes them feel good to be productive and it’s really for a good cause in the end.
This is a source of continual frustration to me within our extended family – we have a niece and nephew that are constantly doing one sort of fundraiser or another (usually for their school or sports team). Their mother thinks nothing of sending out a generic email on their behalf whenever they are selling whatever it is they happen to be pushing at that moment. I’m not exaggerating either as to how often this occurs. It got so bad that we (as a family joke) kept a running total one school year – we had been solicited nine (yes – nine) times between the start of school through December. My husband spoke to his brother about how ridiculous this had become and told him we would do small thing (around $10 a child) for each kid once a year and only if they did the work and asked us themselves. We want to support our niece and nephew but we have three kids of our own and we don’t allow our kids to solicit them at all. If I want my child to participate in something then I will pay the cost – not ask family to do it for me.
I think the whole ethos of Girl Scouting is about selling cookies (aware that Boy Scouts don’t do this) is indefensible. Corporate manipulation of what should be a group that gets urban girls out into the wilds.
That it is brought into work places, as a kind of social coercion is awful.
Depending on the workplace, children may not be welcome for any reason. In such cases, I would think tacking a notice on the bulletin board in the break room announcing that $fundraiser event is happening and anyone interested should contact $employee should not be overly intrusive.
Any type of interaction that puts a coworker into the position of having to say “no”, in my opinion, is the etiquette breach.
I am a bit late on this, but I would like to say that since I was first presented with fund raising materials from my school/band my mother has promptly thrown it all away. She told me it was rude to ask friends and family to buy things that are overpriced and unnecessary. She told me that she and my father would rather write a check for $50-100 to the particular organization if it really needed the money for something important so they would get all the money and not just a portion. And she did. For band trip/uniforms, she wrote checks. For prom and ambiguous class fundraisers, she didn’t. I thought (and still think) that it is a wonderful policy.
A couple of years ago my dance teacher organised for us to sell chocolates in order to raise money for our costumes for the end of year concert (each costume costs $25 to hire, sometimes more. I was in 10 dances and have 3 sisters in similar numbers). My parents refused to sell the chocolates to people, and insisted that we do it ourselves. Since my other sisters were so young (5ish and 9ish) my other sister (13ish) and I (15ish) sold the boxes ourselves. We sold 20 boxes in 2 weeks. How? We waited until exam week and then took them to school with us. We walked around with the boxes, never actually selling them to anyone. Eventually word spread that we were selling chocolates and hundreds of stressed out students came for their chocolate fix. I doubt we would have sold as many chocolates if our parents had tried to sell them.
One boss of mine somehow got suckered into selling off all the extra boxes of girl scout cookies in our office. Her niece maybe was the gilr scout?
So one day, she brought in over 50 boxes. Kept them in her office and when someone’s sweet tooth kicked in, they went to her and bought a box.
To give my boss some credit, she never pushed the sales. Never sent out an email that she had all these cookies. The office gossiped a lot so everyone knew that there were cookies to be had.
It took awhile, but she did finally sell off all the boxes.