It’s that time of year when I feel like I’m forever digging around in my purse for $3.50. Not for anything too important—just a box or two (or four) of thin mints and samoas (wait, I forgot, now they’re called “caramel delites”). Because after all, what person with even a fraction of a heart can say no to tiny 8-year-old’s donning silly turquoise vests chocked full of badges, giving you great big toothy grins as they con you into buying just one more (or five) boxes of Girl Scout cookies. I know I sure can’t.
I had to go to Walmart twice in one day a couple of weeks ago. To avoid buying even more cookies in my second trip, I had to pull the old cell phone trick on the unsuspecting little ones. There’s nothing that deters a Girl Scout more from asking you to buy a box of cookies than if you appear to be on your cell phone for an important call.
But with all that said, I keep wondering how we’ve become a society so obsessed with selling things to others and fundraising for something or another at every waking moment.
When I was much younger, it seemed we only ever had that once-a-year fundraiser with the glossy catalogs. My mother groaned each year I brought it home, knowing she’d be paying out the wazzoo for wrapping paper that costs only $.99 at Walmart, and tins of peanut brittle no one really wanted to eat.
These days, we’re hit with fundraisers on a daily basis—throwing everything from gourmet lolly pops and fancy chocolate bars to Boy Scout popcorn and magazine subscriptions at us.
With such a tough economy still affecting America, I find it amazing that children and adults can even sell close to the amount they need to make this profitable. I surely miss the days of bake sales, car washes and giant garage sales for donations to raise money for a particular trip or cause.
Overall, I think if students were not forced to care so much about fundraisers and encouraged to worry more about their academic achievements, perhaps grades would become a higher priority for some. At the very least, establishments should not allow people selling products in their doorway to block every entrance to a store and guilt people into buying whatever’s for sale.
Just once I’d like to be given the option to walk out of Walmart thin mint and trefoil free. Not only is that easier on everyone’s wallet, but also easier on each person’s waistline. Because let’s face it, no one can ever eat just one. Even the recommended serving size of two cookies seems too insignificant to stick to most times. And boy, don’t even get me started on the Boy Scouts’ overpriced (but delicious) popcorn.
Shauna Banks; Opinion Editor/Columnist; firstname.lastname@example.org