Girl Scouts Gone Wild: Local Police Department Takes a Bite out of Cookie Sales

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Thanks to the quick thinking and action taken by Villa Rica's finest, strip malls across this sleepy Georgia town have returned to business as usual.

Meanwhile, fundraising table dodgers across the nation leap to their feet and applaud the boys in blue for standing firm in enforcing the rules as they apply in their town. Yes, indeedy, harder to swallow than the shrinking sizes and rising cost for a box of these tasty treats, are that rules apply to everyone, even the Girl Scouts.

Cop Shuts Down Girl Scout Cookie Stand: MyFoxATLANTA.com

Finally, someone had the stones to stand up to these pesky peddlers and their pushy parents for breaking the rules they think don't apply to them.  Justice has been served...sort of.  Even cops are suckers, they later apologized for frightening the kids and offered the troop a pizza party as a consolation prize.  Ah, so new century~offer the kids a tasty snack and all is well in the world.

I admit I am a guilty fundraising table dodger; and trust me, I am sometimes ashamed for saying no when I am quite frankly, just not interested.  Only one thing bugs me more than the pushy kids stationed in front of Walgreens on any given Saturday morning; and that would be the grown ups in charge of these rascals.  Take a look at the picture below, you will see what I am talking about...

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The pesky kids' even pushier parents. 

I get it.  The kids have to sell this stuff as a means to keep their afterschool activity afloat.  Selling cookies, popcorn, wrapping paper, candy bars and the like, teach the kids responsibility, teamwork, accountability, math skills, social skills and marketing skills.  I really do understand that.

Now, I would never refuse a neighbor kid knocking on the door selling something for their club.  Nor would I give up the opportunity to nab a box of thin mints from a scout selling from a table nearby a store's entrance.  In these cases mom or dad is either curbside or sitting a safe distance from the table of goodies.

My beef lies with the parents (you know who they are, every club has 'em) that insist on completely taking over the marketing, sales pitch, and cash transactions.  They have more than likely been up all night making colorful posters or painting an announcement of what they're selling on the back window of their SUV.  They get up early and don a matching uniform, much like the kid is wearing.  It is a scene like this that makes me wonder, who is really learning the lesson?

Yep, I have kids...and yes, they peddle all kinds of crap to meet the fundraising standard set by the different extra-curricular sports they are involved in.  We do not make posters, paint the windows of our car, or even model mama/child matching uniforms.  We bite the bullet, and fork over the expected amount of cash to get the kid to the expected threshold.

Over the years this has translated into a lot of popcorn, yearly magazine subscriptions for magazines we probably never read, discount cards for area restaurants that we never visited in the past or intended to in the future~we bought them and gave them away as gifts. 

Sure we could be like many who bring the order forms to work (who can resist a parents' plea to "help out with Susie in attaining her cookie selling badge?), or set up a table outside of Jewel, or take to the phone and hound every relative within driving distance. 

There certainly is nothing wrong with this; we just do not feel comfortable with this particular approach.  Sure we "sell" stuff to people we buy from, we just use our goods to pay for their goods.  Give me twenty bucks worth of cookies and I'll trade you a twenty dollar discount card.  We feel more comfortable buying from people we bug.  Cash rarely exchanges hands as our orders cancel each other out -- you pay for your kids' stuff--we pay for our kids' stuff and then we merely trade goodies.  Everyone is a winner.  Ah, sounds like the new century's battle cry.

You may wonder how my hooligans learn their lessons when we do not partake in selling their team's wares in front of our local Walgreens.  No need to worry, they still learn most of the skills.  We drive the "responsibility" home by insisting they finish their homework before heading off to practice or a game (on time, every time). 

Team work and accountability is instilled by insisting the kids participate in ONE activity a season.  They are a contributing teammate by committing to the sport--meaning being at every practice and every game, and even more importantly, again, the old showing up on time every time--yep, even if their main function is warming the bench.  There are no excuses for missing practice or a game other than fever or death.  We have not missed one yet.

As far as social, math, and marketing skills being missed by not selling cookies and popcorn in front of Walgreens goes~let's be honest~the only people really benefitting from those skills on any given Saturday are the parents.  

These are lessons they learn and are taught on a daily basis; we do not depend on the annual fundraiser to teach them these every-day skills.

Seems times are different these days compared to when I was younger peddling my thin mints door-to-door.  Fundraising is slowly but surely entering a new era.  I was surprised to find I could buy a square on a football pool while at the same time donating some cash to a travel baseball team.  A $25 wager to win $500 on the big game while helping a kid's team earn some extra cash seems like something everyone would be on board with.

Even better, the kid didn't have to jump up and down at the entrance of a strip mall with a poster his mother made.  Mom simply put a "shout-out" on her Facebook page.  Sure, mom was essentially doing his dirty work, but I did not feel like I was put on the spot.  I was interested, so I bit at the bait and no one had to wear a matching uniform or finger paint the window of their family wagon.

Now, if you are the type who likes to camp out at the local store front in the matching uniform with your kid, please be my guest.  Most shoppers, like me, would prefer you sit a comfortable distance from the entrance making sure your products within eyesight.  Don't meet us at the curb and shove the box in our face.  If I am interested in what you are selling, trust me, I'll come to you.  And, if what your kid is selling are Girl Scout Thin Mints...please make sure you bring along plenty and make sure you get a permit!

 I cannot believe those Girl Scout mom's in Georgia never considered a permit necessary.  Most stores in our area require a formal request at the service desk to secure your spot well in advance at the store front.  Not sure how things are in Georgia, but those Mama Grizzlies sure looked like gals who covered all the bases. 

 

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