Snookered by an 8-year-old.

I have GOT to learn to quit answering the door when I’m half-asleep.

I’ve just gotten up from a nap and am trying to regain consciousness this afternoon when the doorbell rings.

I open the door, and this chubby, exhausted-looking little guy in shorts and a T-shirt mumbles, “Would you like to buy some popcorn?”

As I am looking at the brochure, this rugrat’s mom and dad make some chitchat about how they live over on Such-and-Such Street, while Junior fidgets uncomfortably, groans about how he’s been walking all day, and finally cuts to the chase by announcing to his mother, in a stage whisper you could have heard in Sapulpa:

“I gotta PEE!”

His mom tells him to calm down, because they’re going to their friend’s house next, and he can use the bathroom there. So I hurry up and mark something on the order form and send them on their way.

It isn’t until I get back inside and think about who Junior is shilling for that I realize that I have been HAD.

I have gone out of my way for years to avoid supporting the Boy Scouts. Not that I have anything against munchkins going camping and doing good deeds, mind you … but I have a lot of gay friends, and the Boy Scouts’ membership requirements are just a wee bit too exclusive for my tastes. I think everybody ought to be able to go camping in the woods in a silly-looking uniform if they want, regardless of race, creed, color, or sexual orientation. (The Girl Scouts, incidentally, agree with me. Which is good, because it would probably kill me to try to survive a year without a case of Caramel DeLites.)

But this afternoon, by the time I figured out I was being solicited by a plainclothes Cub Scout, I’d already agreed to look at his brochure.

There is an unwritten law of human decency that says that if you look at a rugrat’s sales brochure, you must buy something, whether you want it or not. I don’t care if he’s raising funds for al-Qaeda. If you take the kid’s order form, you’ve gotten his hopes up, and it’s just not right to dash them, no matter what you think of his cause.

Besides … I felt sort of sorry for Junior, who reminded me of the Red Fork Hippie Chick at age 6, trudging around her neighborhood in a beanie and sash, dancing up and down on her neighbor’s porch and trying not to wet her pants while she waited for him to quit making small talk and hurry up and order his @#$% Thin Mints.

How could I fight that?

I feel so used.

Caramel corn comes in Nov. 12.

5 thoughts on “Snookered by an 8-year-old.”

  1. Haha. Who did you think sold popcorn? Nobody sells popcorn except scouts. I think they have a monopoly. 🙂

    I remember one time when Talia and I were living on 13th street and we both waited tables together. One of our co-workers tried to sell us boy scout popcorn for her son. She approached me first, and I said, “Sure, but I have a table waiting for me, so just go have Talia pick something out.” So she went and found Talia, and then came back to me, saying. “Talia says she’ll go in with you but she wants you to be the one to pick out what it is.” I’m still in a hurry trying to take care of this table, so I grab a pen and just circle the first canister I see and say, “There — that’s fine.”

    My co-worker comes back a few minutes later with a weary expression. She says, “Talia said she wanted you to pick this one on the next page with the chocolate on it.”

    This is quentissential Talia. 🙂 I love her to death, and I can’t wait for her to be my bridesmaid this coming weekend, but I just crack up when i think about her and the popcorn. My dear crazy friend. Good times.

  2. I was vaguely aware that the Boy Scouts are the purveyors of popcorn. But I hadn’t even completely processed that this little guy was, in fact, saying “Popcorn” until I’d already taken the brochure. He was pretty incoherent, and — having just crawled out of bed moments earlier — so was I.

    From here on in, I’m not buying anything from anybody who isn’t either wearing a beanie and a khaki jumper or playing canned calliope music out the window of a beat-up panel truck….

  3. Worse than kid-fundraising I think is when adults do it. There is a woman I work with who sells ALL of the following: Pampered Chef, PartyLite, Home Interiors, Better Homes & Gardens home decor, Avon, and some other homey-thing I’ve never heard of before and can’t remember the name of. I hate walking by her office because every time I do, she throws catalogs and postcards at me and wants me to give her $90 for a 4-inch candle that smells like a mentholated cough drop. Ugh.

  4. Yeah, but it’s easier to blow off an adult who’s just trying to make a buck. It’s harder to say no to a third-grader who’s schlepping popcorn and candy bars for some flavor-of-the-week underfunded child-enrichment program.

    I can usually get rid of adults by interrogating them about the ethical implications of whatever product they’re selling. If that doesn’t work, I just follow up with a bunch of non sequiturs.

    Pampered Chef: “I only use cast iron cookware and Amish-made wooden utensils. If Grandma didn’t use it, I’m not using it. This is our American heritage we’re preserving!”
    PartyLite: “Did you know that paraffin is a petroleum product? Every time you use paraffin, you’re lining the terrorists’ pockets! Does the Department of Homeland Security know what you’re doing?”
    Home Interiors, et al: “Oh, sure — I’ll just decorate my home with the fruits of the labor of small children who slave in factories 18 hours a day for 10 cents a week in a third-world country while being denied an education and a future under some evil Communist regime. Have you no decency?”
    Avon: “Are you sure this product isn’t animal-tested? I think it contains animal products. They hide that pretty well, you know. They give it some fancy name on the ingredients label, but what they don’t tell you is how many bats are captured from the wild, imprisoned in tiny cages, fed second-rate mealworms, and doped up with Ex-Lax to produce the billions of tons of guano necessary to make just one tube of your precious mascara! It’s a conspiracy! You enslave the bats to keep them from eating the mosquitoes, thus creating artificial demand for your Skin-So-Soft products!”

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