Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Musings

Who knew that selling popcorn outside of Walmart was so exhausting???  I mean, I guess I knew.  I vaguely remember from last year, that is.

The kids did great.  Thomas was just a little energizer bunny, with sincere "Have a great day" comments to even the rudest people.  A few observations:

  • The Eagle Scouts are the greatest.  We had so many people stop, either buy popcorn or give healthy donations, and tell the kids that they are/were Eagle Scouts.  Most of them also made some incredibly encouraging comments to either the boys, or me, or both.  It was sweet.
  • A very close second are the Eagle moms.  A couple made me cry.  They all either bought popcorn or made a nice donation too.  And somehow, their "they grow up so fast" comments didn't come across as trite as that phrase usually is.  
  • The people who told the kids no nicely were often quite wonderful as well.  Usually, it was that they had already bought from a nephew, a neighbor, a co-worker's kid -- or their own son.  But a smile with a no was an okay thing.
  • What was disheartening was the people who wouldn't even look up long enough to say no.  They just rushed past the kids, pretending they weren't even there.  I'm sure some of these people had serious problems on their minds, and they were caught up in their own world and truly did not even see the boys.  But most of them... would it really hurt to look at the kids and say, "I'm sorry, I just can't."?  William had a string of people totally ignoring him, and he was starting to feel invisible.  We chatted, and decided that he needed to start praying for everyone who seemed so totally self-absorbed.  Either they desperately needed it because they just had a child diagnosed with terminal cancer, or they really needed it because they need to learn to smile and be smiled at, and connect with the human race.
  • What nearly drove me to step in and hit someone was those couple of people who were downright rude.  The boys were trying to be sure to ask people coming out about buying popcorn, and when it wasn't busy, they'd ask people going in too.  One gentleman (and I use that term incredibly loosely), snapped when the kids approached him on the way out.  He yelled at them that they had already asked him once, and how dare they ask him as he was coming out too.  Energizer Bunny just smiled at him, and cheerily told him to have a great day.
I know, I see kids selling stuff at the doors of a store, and I groan a bit.  Popcorn is easy, obviously, as I smile, tell them I have three scouts of my own, and say something encouraging about something I notice there.  If it isn't busy, I ask what rank they are (if I can't tell) and say something about a fun thing they get to do this year (the advantage of having practically memorized the cub requirements).  Or I ask what their favorite thing about scouting is.  I don't feel guilt for not buying anything, as I certainly wouldn't expect them to support my scouts.

Girl Scouts and high school bands, or gymnastics teams, or whatever... those are harder.  Especially when I truly cannot afford to purchase something.  But I *always* look the kids in the eye, and show enough common courtesy to tell them no.  (I admit, when adults are doing things outside the stores, I do sometimes walk through avoiding eye contact and pretending I don't hear them.)

In seven hours of selling this weekend, my kids probably asked around ninety people an hour if they wanted to buy popcorn.  They made about thirty sales.  They got donations from probably around forty people.  That means they heard "no" about every 45 seconds.  For seven hours.

So, if you are out shopping this weekend, and you see scouts selling popcorn, please, please, please... even if you can't drop a dollar in a donation bin, can you at least smile at them and tell them what a fantastic job they are doing?  Assuming they are, of course.  And do the same when Girl Scout cookie season comes around.

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