Remember that time when you were in elementary school and you had fund raisers where you had to sell spice racks, jewelry, and on the rare occasion window cleaner to fund playground equipment and lice checks?
And you would walk door to door and be rejected by your neighbors? But the ultimate insult and what really hurt is when you would go to your so called “friends” and “families” houses and they refused to buy your product. Oh, it was so painful.

During a particularly difficult fundraiser where I felt like the “little match girl (or boy as it were) practically begging people to buy my wares in the blinding snow, I made a vow that I would buy anything that a child sold me no matter how cheap or stupid it was. I would do it just to make the child feel good about themselves, because if Whitney Houston has taught us anything it is that, oh yes, CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE.

So on Saturday I went to the store on my way home from work, just to grab a gallon of milk so I could enjoy my Malt-o-Mill Golden Puffs before church. When I reached into my pocket all I had was $5.00 so I didn’t have enough money for any extras.

Right when I walked through the sliding glass doors I was mobbed by three cub scouts offering me tickets to the SCOUT-A-RAMA. “That sounds awesome friends but I only have enough for milk today.” They went sulking back to their cub leader who was wearing sweats and lounging on the motorized shopping cart. He gave me a disappointed look and shook his head.
Ouch, that hurt.

I kid you not, I walked another 50 feet and I ran into the Special Olympics kids selling root beer floats (I don't know who was in charge of fund raising this year but ice cream in the middle of winter? OK, good luck with that.)for $2.00. They set their table right in the middle of the isle so you had to pass them. Those kids are genius! “Sorry friends,” I said, with my heart bleeding. “I only have enough to buy milk today. I am so sorry.”
One of the kids flipped me off and I continued to the Dairy isle.
Oh, real professional!

After I got my milk I just wanted to run away from crushing the dreams of the cub scouts and special needs kids. I probably single handedly cancelled the SCOUT-A-RAMA and the Special Olympics due to my lack of funding.

I purposely exited on the opposite side of the store so I could avoid the swearing and spitting I am sure the Cub Scouts and the Special Needs kids were ready to dish out when I left.

As I exited guess who greeted me? The little league girl’s softball team selling Papa Johns coupons. As soon as they saw me all ten of them rush towards me with coupons in hand. I couldn’t take it anymore so I just pushed them and ran to my car. I pealed out of the parking lot hoping that it would deter them from chasing after me and grabbing on to my bumper.

As I drove home instead of feeling bad for my youthful sales people, I was angry at them for making me feel so guilty. How dare they make me feel that way when I would have bought there crappy stuff if I had money. My heart was in the right place dangit!

I swear to you I was home for maybe 5 minutes when the doorbell rang. Guess who it was? The boy scouts. In my anger, I just grabbed a handful of pennies and threw them out the door and said, “How fun at the stupid CRAP-A-RAMA. Make me feel guilty will ya?”

So…um…yeah…that vow I made all those years ago?.... it''s pretty much broken.


j said…
I hate those fundraisers, probably because my parents were wise enough to not allow to visit our neighbors and try to sell them anything. Occasionally I would get to sell some wrapping paper to my grandma, but that was about all they would allow.

Usually they'd just say, "We're happy to just make a donation to the school, instead of buying something crappy". I paraphrase, but that was the gist of it. Little help that was toward winning a Razor scooter.
Carrot Jello said…
I'll tell ya what else is broken, fella. A lot of little kids hearts. Your path home was strewn with them. I hope you can sleep at night. On your stomach full of cereal. If you're a stomach sleeper, that is.

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