It’s that time again; time for all the little chillun to start canvassing the neighborhoods with their glossy brochures hawking pretty wrapping paper, or delicious chocolates–all in the hopes of winning some trinket for their efforts.
Do you remember this when you were a kid? Boy I do. I actually LOVED fundraisers, and I wasn’t one of these kids who forgot to do it and then begged his parents to make up the difference. No, I was quite the little peddler, which is funny considering how anti-new-social I am as a grup (bonus points if you know from whence the term “grup” comes from. And if you can’t figure it out, go here).
Come, walk with me…
I remember sitting in the school gymnasium on the floor (this was before my knees and back made floor sitting obscenely painful) listening to the pitch-man explain the fundraiser, while in the background stood a colorful display of all the wonderful prizes we could win by selling a certain amount of product. The basketballs and Frisbees® sitting alongside wonderful dragon kites and candy, all served to feed the great selling machine that is cute little kids–hordes of them even!
Then, I’d run home and show my mom what I had to sell, almost bursting with excitement to get out there and start selling. I had no idea then that, more than likely, she was rolling her eyes even as I foamed at the mouth and fairly buzzed with pent up excitement!
But I knew my customers! I knew who would buy, and who would not. I knew who would casually look at the brochures, and then come up with an excuse about why they couldn’t buy today. For these people, I was prepared, “Would you like me to come back tomorrow perhaps?”
There was the nice lady with the white Lincoln Town Car, back when they used to have the wheels on the trunk. She was so nice and always bought something. Sometimes, I would head straight to her house knowing she would get me started right; but other times, I’d wait and hit her last so that I could end my patrol on a high note.
There was also the house near the opposite end of the neighborhood from me who one year put up a sign on his door that said, “No soliciting.” Being only 8, I had no idea what that meant, but figured anything that started with the word “No” probably indicated that he didn’t want to talk to people, so I started skipping his house. It was OK, he wasn’t much of a buyer anyway.
But then I remember the disappointment when, after all my work and after miraculously getting all the money to the school (without my brother stealing it…yeah it happened a couple of times), it was only to find out that all I qualified for was an oversized lollipop. But it didn’t matter. That was one oversized lollipop that my parents would never buy me, so I had earned every lick!
Yeah, I remember those days and so I try and be sympathetic to the kids in my neighborhood. Their wares are usually overpriced and crap, but they’re trying and I give them points for that. But knowing how little of that money is actually going to the school, I’d almost rather they came to me with a list of improvements the school wants to make, and ask me to donate money to my favorite choice.
Course…that would rob them of the same memories that I treasure, and that’s pretty important too.
I therefore proclaim: Children of Wildwood Springs—Bring me your wrapping paper; your chocolates; your overpriced tins of stale caramel corn! I’ll buy something from you. Just promise me you’ll pay forward the favor when its your doorbell ringing!