Young Entrepreneurs, School Fundraising Fiascos, & Parental PTSD

The Dork Side

Image courtesy of The Dork Side

I was a BORN entrepreneur, and blessedly was a child of the 70s and 80s. I always had a business from the time I was four. My first venture? Selling my “art.” I got a Spirograph for Christmas and two types of paper, regular and legal. I’d spend hours crafting my original designs and then set out door-to-door (after cartoons and Sesame Street ended). Legal-size art was .15, regular was .5. Or you could buy all I’d made and I’d promise to go away for $1.

You KNOW you had one...

You KNOW you had one…

Once little brother came along, this increased my workforce. We washed cars, weeded gardens, trimmed hedges, picked up dog poop and at the end of the day, I’d split all we’d made 50/50. Our most profitable venture involved hoeing up crabgrass for $5 a bag. There is a LOT of crabgrass in SW Fort Worth. Was pitiless work in triple-digit heat, but everyone eagerly paid up.

I knew my market. Our neighborhood was working poor or elderly and we offered excellent work for a fair price. My mother and grandfather had taught us how to slay crabgrass properly by the time we were tall enough to hold a yard tool. Get those babies at the ROOTS. First rain will even the holes. Beautiful yard will soon ensue.

My little brother and I were also the precursor to the ATM. Mom and Dad knew we were always flush with cash. It wasn’t uncommon for us to have $50-$100 or more. Back then the banks were open three hours a day at the worst time, so if my parents needed quick cash? We were there…for a small service fee.

Family is family, but business is business.

What makes this extraordinary, is my little brother was legally blind. God help the kids who picked on him. They had ME to contend with (only I could call him a dork). I remember him being 5 and crying when he got his first glasses. He didn’t know trees had leaves.

I was a tough boss, though. You can feel the crabgrass. GET IT!

Everything is possible. Though Little Bro attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, Florida, blessedly, his vision drastically improved once he hit adulthood (so did optics/lenses). Now he’s the owner-CEO of his own successful company (and a devoted father, husband and involved in his City Council). In college, even though his vision was corrected, he volunteered countless hours translating books into braille and became fluent in ASL.

My first business partner...

My first “dorky” business partner…

Today's C.E.O.

Today’s “only slightly-less-dorky” C.E.O.

The Elementary Enigma

Okay, back to 1980 when I began grade school. I recall being baffled the day I entered the class and there were stacks of these cardboard boxes with a handle. We were all required to take at least one, sell all the contents then turn in all money to “support the school.” Problem was, no one in the educational system knew about a SWOT analysis.

Strengths—Cute kid selling candy.

Weakness—Over-saturation of cute kids concentrated in the same geographical area selling an unwanted/unnecessary product for an obviously inflated price. Our market was working poor. Yes, they’d pay $5 for some kid to hoe up crabgrass for two hours, but $3 for a candy bar that cost less than $1?

And then there was the repeated lecture about how they paid property taxes to support schools and shouldn’t have to buy candy, stale popcorn balls, yada yada yada.

Sigh.

Opportunities—Make teacher happy. Yeah, probably not. Sunburn? Mace? Potential abduction? Okay, I had nothing.

Threats—Other than the blatantly obvious over-saturated market, there were the roving packs of feral Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Brownies to contend with. Highly territorial and taught how to tie knots and set fires. And people waited all year for Girl Scout cookies. They were/are like the crack of the “kids selling stuff world.”

Customer: $20 for Thin Mints???? *twitches and scratches arms* *eyes VCR and tempted to rewire it*  All I have is $19. PLEASE. I can get you the $1 on payday! You gotta help me out, Kid.

Girl Scout: Okay, this time. But the price is now $25 and I want Barbie clothes.

Customer: DEAL!

Girl Scout: I know where you live.

Customer: *nods and shambles off with cookies tucked under coat*

The worst part of it is I was no stranger to working my tail off, but I at least was able to tangibly enjoy the fruit of my labors…with CASH. None of this existential “support your school” crap, a school that I had determined by Age 5 was a front for fascism.

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The Band Candy Bandit

As I grew older, new threats appeared, namely the little brother who’d once been such a loyal business partner. I was in the band and required to sell ridiculously priced Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (again for some nebulous end). Apparently the siren’s song of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups was stronger than sibling loyalty. He couldn’t see them, but his sense of smell was greatly enhancedO_o.

Mom and I woke to an 8-year-old passed out in a sugar coma, surrounded by brown and orange wrappers.

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 9.28.13 AM

My poor single mother somehow scratched together the $100 to give to the school, though I felt they should have just locked little bro up and solved ALL our problems. He did the crime and could pay the time…and I’d no longer have to contend with him hiding my art supplies in the field behind out house just to tick me off.

Brave New Parenting

These days, sending your kids off to knock on strangers’ doors all alone isn’t nearly as acceptable. Thus, every storefront becomes a trap of “sad face” where you don’t dare make eye contact. I mumble something about food allergies and skirt past feeling like a jerk.

When Hubby was at a corporate job, every office worker had a kid selling something through their dealer (the poor parent who probably still suffers peanut cluster flashbacks). One year, we had so many Girl Scout cookies I banned Hubby from answering the door. He was helpless in the face of a cute kid. Between everything bought from family, the office and our front door? We were staring down the barrel of a second mortgage.

Kiddopreneurs

I will say that I love supporting kids. I buy what I can, even if I am deathly allergic. I remember being in that position and how hard it was. What I really love are the authentic small business owners. One day, I opened the door and three little girls stood there. They were selling magnets they’d made themselves.

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This one was my favorite. I have three🙂

I noticed the tiniest of the girls (she was elf-small) hid behind the others and I coaxed her out. She was missing an arm. Fumbling, she said they’d started their business to make money for extras their parents couldn’t afford. She couldn’t pull weeds or mow yards, but she could help make and sell magnets. She’d hidden because she didn’t want me to see her missing arm.

I bought their entire inventory.

And I’d have done that anyway. It had nothing to do with the one girl’s appearance. She’d done everything she could to support her sales team and NOT use her “disability” for sympathy sales.

I was so genuinely impressed with their hard work. They’d done their research. These were beautiful magnets that cost next to nothing. We all need pretty magnets. Magnets aren’t fattening and there is little competition. I wanted to support these future business owners the way my neighbors coughed up change for my silly Spirograph “art.”

Their grandmother was waiting in the car and I strolled out to praise her, and who was the CFO sitting in the back seat? Big brother. I donated an additional $30 as an angel investment. Big brother (11) ran the numbers and kept track of sales. My heart still flutters when I think of this story.

The Special Circumstances

I love kids. I’d adopt all of them if I could. It’s why I love that I’m called the W.A.N.A. Mama, because I can be den mother for countless writers. Also, we’re more than writers. We are people and many of us are parents. We have struggles and sickness and setbacks, but the cool news is we have each other.

And yes, I have something to sell. I almost never do this even for myself beyond a blip at the bottom about my book or upcoming classes. You’ve been warned, but I think this “sale” is a tad extraordinary.

Last Friday on Facebook, one of the WANAs was terribly discouraged. Her son has Down Syndrome and the school has tasked the kids/parents with selling ninja cookie cutters. His mom, Leona (a WANA) only asked if I could buy some cookie cutters. I was the one who offered to blog and talk to you guys.

I KNOW many of the writers in my community have special needs kids or grandkids and it is one of the toughest jobs in the world. We applaud you for your love and all your tireless work. This is the least I can do, beyond buying cookie cutters when I never bake😀 .

Leona sent me this note after I offered to help:

Isaac is five years old with Down Syndrome. He’s recently moved to new school as we were able to get out of bad living situation. He’s doing beautifully. The new school provides many specialized services, like speech, resource rooms for extra tutoring, etc., and not just for the special ed kids.

It’s a good district. Unlike the old schools that acted as if I’d murdered their grandmother when asking for help or asking why something had happened this way or that, they are friendly, helpful, and happy to serve you and your children to getting a better education. All three of my kids have done so well in the new schools. They’re all happier, less depressed, and more focused, so I really appreciate your help in this.

The money is for the Gilbert Elementary PTA. They put on barbeques, and other family oriented things for the children and families to do things. They do a great job. The parents are relaxed and don’t look stressed, the teachers are helpful. I believe they play an integral part to keeping the community relations happily together with the schools goals. 

I appreciate you doing this as it will help Isaac garner some recognition, which though he won’t completely understand the whys of it, he will be happy with the positive attention. I’ve included a picture of him playing at the park before his back to school hair cut (BELOW)…

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How can you help? Maybe buy some cookie cutters or share this blog or the information below with those in desperate need of ninja cookie cutters😀 .

To support #TeamIssac go to the Cherrydale Farm site and enter the following information:

Student Name: Isaac Bushman
State: Washington
School: Gilbert Elementary PTA
Group code (It will automatically fill in, but just in case): FRGILYW

And then if you hit continue, you can shop and Isaac will get credit.

Thank you for being here and for your support even if it is a comment or a share. Love and potential are limitless.

I LOVE hearing from you!

Did your school force you to sell overpriced stuff? Did you dread the tins of popcorn? Do you have kids and groan when they come home with candy bars? Is your office crammed with desperate parents trying to offload candles, greeting cards and chocolate? Yeah, sorry to add more peer pressure (ok, not really). Are you a tad shocked you weren’t held captive by that creepy neighbor with the van, but knocked on his door anyway because you had to make your quota?

To prove it and show my love, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner for a a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

All comments today are in a separate contest so less competition and a much greater chance of winning😀.

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  1. #1 by Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti on September 16, 2014 - 10:33 am

    Love this blog Kristin! I remember bagging up marigold seeds as a kid and trying to sell them door to door.

  2. #2 by Ann Bracken on September 16, 2014 - 10:34 am

    When my neighborhood kids come to my door, I always write the check directly to the parents for whatever activity the fundraiser is for. I have trouble spending the $3 for a $0.50 candy bar, but have no issue writing a check directly to the child for $10 just because they asked. I know, it doesn’t support entrepreneurs, but it does teach them that the neighborhood is made up of adults who love and support them in their endeavors.
    Now, if they made a spirograph? Those I’d purchase!

  3. #3 by The Story Reading Ape on September 16, 2014 - 10:34 am

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
    Now THIS is what I call a great ‘How To Reel Them In’ Business Strategy😀
    UK – Read And Learn
    USA – Give Support If Possible (refer to that Famous Philosopher Audrey Hepburn) in one of the visuals below😀

  4. #4 by ruthkj on September 16, 2014 - 10:38 am

    Loved this! As a class mother I remember driving with 800 kg of sausages in the back of my SUV and then packing them into bags for the 25 kids to deliver them to those who’d placed orders. Happy days.

  5. #5 by christicorbett on September 16, 2014 - 10:39 am

    I did the “ugly cry” when I read the line about you buying all the magnets. I love it!

    *scrambles off to twitter and my blog to repost, and to wallet to buy cookie cutters*

    Christi Corbett

  6. #6 by christicorbett on September 16, 2014 - 10:39 am

    Reblogged this on Christi Corbett's Blog and commented:
    A worthwhile read!

  7. #7 by christicorbett on September 16, 2014 - 10:41 am

    Reblogged on my blog, but don’t know how to tell you aside from leaving a link here. Is there a better way to show you I did it?

    http://christicorbett.wordpress.com/

  8. #9 by Carradee on September 16, 2014 - 10:48 am

    I had schools that required me to make sales thresholds in order to do things like attend the class party. My family was on welfare for much of my childhood, my parents were skeptical and discouraging about entrepreneurship, and my parents also had rather strict limits on where I could go try to sell things (which was limited to the not-wealthy area where we lived).

    As far as I can remember, the only times I ever made ANY sales threshold on those was when the family was doing well enough financially that Mom bought enough to hit the threshold.

    I did end up making and selling little things when I could, and I loved petsitting, but learning on your own when you don’t know where to look for what you don’t know is TOUGH. Plus I’m still recovering from bad habits my parents instilled in me that actively hurt my business, such as the bone-deep belief that I have nothing worth buying or paying more than bargain basement prices for.

    • #10 by Carradee on September 16, 2014 - 10:50 am

      All that to say… I know how tough it is, to even try to be an entrepreneur when those around you aren’t or you don’t know how to be one.

      And then if you’re forced into a situation where you actively CAN’T succeed and then judged on that failure? It’s hard to believe you can succeed at all, or that reachable goals are even possible for you.

    • #11 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 16, 2014 - 11:06 am

      Oh LORD. I forgot about that part! I never got to go to the parties😦 . My mom was a single parent and our neighborhood folks were on budgets as lean as ours.

  9. #12 by Nan Sampson on September 16, 2014 - 10:51 am

    Great post! And just so you know, you embody limitless love. Off now to buy cookie cutters!

  10. #13 by Bethany A. Jennings on September 16, 2014 - 11:01 am

    I enjoyed this post! I may buy some ninja cookie cutters.😀 I don’t use cookie cutters often, but my mother in law makes sugar cookies every Christmas and all the kids decorate them with crazy designs together…I can see my younger brothers-in-law having a blast with those.

    I was homeschooled, so no forced fundraising for me! Yay! However, my sister and I were often entrepreneurs, with lemonade stands and homemade art. My sister sold paintings out of the back of our van at one point…I remember she made some sales.

  11. #14 by lisenminetti on September 16, 2014 - 11:03 am

    Just yesterday I opened my son’s backpack and found his fundraiser stuff. I inwardly groaned and then looked more carefully. For the first time since any of my children have been in school (my oldest is 13), there was … a worthwhile fund raiser!!! For the price of $25 you received a coupon book with HUNDREDS of coupons in it, all good through 12/2015. AND I could order books for specific geographical regions for most of the mid-East Coast too!

  12. #15 by lalouziane on September 16, 2014 - 11:05 am

    Love this story. We lived in a rural area when I was in high school. Going door to door was not very practical. I had great parents though. My daddy drove me around and pulled in the driveways of people and I went in and sold them a band calender. Having their birthday printed on it was 15 cents extra. Daddy might have been a bit competitive. Mama definitely was. I was the outstanding (sold the most) band calendar sales person all through high school. Our drum major got upset with me when he found out I had sold calendars to his neighbors before he got around to asking them. I had a cute sales pitch.

    Fast forward to Boy Scout popcorn sales. My son was so embarrassed to go door to door. Now we live in a neighborhood we can walk through and knock on lots of doors. We had recently moved so I thought it would be a great way to meet our new neighbors. Most didn’t even answer their door. At the last house on the last street, he begged me not to do it again. I said “Come on, these folks have a flag out, surely they’ll buy.” And they did. Our one and only sale in the entire neighborhood.

    My husband had told my son he would not be the den mother. We would get him a uniform and get him to the meetings, maybe make a batch of cupcakes once in awhile… when they came back from that first meeting, my husband was the “den mother”. I think they call it Scout Master. Son grew up, got his Eagle Scout badge that culminated in a project that involved our entire family. Son went off to college, married, has three children. My husband still goes to Scouts every Monday night and we still sell Boy Scout popcorn. My living room is full of it right now. These days they light in front of a store and accost everyone who is going in or coming out. They do much better than door to door.

    I don’t know if it’s because my husband cannot say no to a child, or if it’s because we had so much trouble with the door to door stuff with our son, but any kid selling anything comes to our door and we buy. They know this. There is some kind of kid network whereby they share the “easy addresses”.

    I once answered the door to three girls who had a big bag of stuff for us. And a bill. The bill was quite something. One little girl looked up at me and said, “Your husband ordered it. I’m sorry. He got all the most expensive stuff.” Yeah, it was my husband alright.

    I appreciate this article. It made me smile and remember fun times. I’m forwarding it to my husband, the sucker… um… the wonderful man I married.

    I think kids selling stuff is good for them. It improves their skills, makes them aware of marketing and gets them out doing something different. It gives parents and grandparents an opportunity to part with their money. We have cookie dough on the way now from the grandchildren, even as I write this. And don’t get me started on Girl Scout cookies. They all know where we live. Hubby loves those cookies.

    Another great article. Thank you.

  13. #16 by Brenda on September 16, 2014 - 11:06 am

    You, too? I was charging kids on the block to skate in my roller rink in the garage and for rides in the “covered wagon” (a round wire tomato cage covered in a blanket on the red rider wagon). I even sold over 300 candy bars to win a bike (my mom had me stand outside of the bank and grocery story and ask). I had a thick skin as a kid. Now, not so much. This was inspiring to read. Thank you!

  14. #17 by Faith Simone on September 16, 2014 - 11:06 am

    This brings back so many memories! Unlike you, I was the one that ate most of my chocolate bars, not my sibling. The scent would call out to me…I couldn’t resist. I did sell some though, and it’s amazing that me and my two sisters were allowed to roam the neighborhood and knock on stranger’s doors. We were never harmed in any way and had so much fun. Men like your husband were the easiest: they couldn’t resist our cute faces either!

  15. #18 by Melissa Lewicki on September 16, 2014 - 11:10 am

    I never say no to any kid that comes to the door or who is posted outside HEB. But, I don’t take their products. I just give them money. I do not need to be eating Girl Scout cookies….

  16. #19 by Susanna Leonard Hill on September 16, 2014 - 11:13 am

    I can’t say no to a child in need! I did not get cookie cutters, though… I would never have used them since I only ever bake chocolate chip and similar drop-by-rounded-teaspoonfuls type🙂 Nope, I availed myself of the opportunity to stock up on gift wrap! I wish I’d been more of an entrepreneur when I was a kid – maybe I would have been more prepared for this writing life where we’re supposed to know how to do all that! – but I never went beyond your basic lemonade stand/dog walking/babysitting. You and your brother are amazing!

  17. #20 by Courtney Hunt on September 16, 2014 - 11:27 am

    Is there a way to donate directly? I prefer to just donate funding–more for the school and less clutter for me.

    However, your story about the magnets made me cry. Just lovely. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  18. #21 by sharonhughson on September 16, 2014 - 11:33 am

    Selling all that stuff to earn my way to cheerleading camp and pay for new basketball warmups is why I get hives just thinking about selling stuff today. How on Earth am I going to sell my books? Uh, the WANA way.
    I say this, and yet, I believe teaching kids to work – even if it means door-to-door selling – is a priceless life lesson. This is why I didn’t take my kids’ candy bars, shiny catalogues or tins of popcorn around to coworkers or friends. I took my kids. After all, most of the time they earned a “prize” if they sold a certain amount (for school fundraisers anyway). At least one of them isn’t eternally scarred. How do I know? He’s majoring in Business Marketing in college😃

  19. #22 by Allie P. on September 16, 2014 - 11:48 am

    Fantastic post! Tasteful magnets and crab grass annihilation are much more appreciated than the tins at my house. So far we’ve been lucky. My son’s school hosts a fun run/walk rather than candy drive. We sponsor. They sweat.

  20. #23 by Leona Bushman on September 16, 2014 - 12:27 pm

    Thank you all! Isaac doesn’t understand what he’s doing it for, or even what he’s doing. It’s just paper and walking, and since he was ill last weekend, it will all have to be this weekend. At least he likes to walk🙂 He and I walk while we wait for his bus. His brothers and I will help him go door to door in our new neighborhood. Hopefully, we will get to know our neighbors a little and find the “Mr. Lamb” of the neighborhood…😉

  21. #24 by Laura on September 16, 2014 - 12:28 pm

    I love cookie cutters.🙂 I don’t have an oven in my RV, but I will have one again someday, I am sure. I’m sure my sister-in-law needs some for Christmas, too. I have worked as an aide in special ed classes twice in my life, and they were the two best jobs I have ever had. I’m glad he’s in a school where they care understand now!

  22. #25 by Laura on September 16, 2014 - 12:53 pm

    I tried to reblog it, but my site and my WP acct for commenting are just not linked somehow. I need to fix that.😦

  23. #26 by Violet Ingram on September 16, 2014 - 1:24 pm

    Heading there now. I have 5 kids, 2 with special needs. It is a tough job but it is also the most rewarding.

  24. #27 by angelapenadahle on September 16, 2014 - 1:53 pm

    I dread the school fundraisers! I do like the small business ones though too.

  25. #28 by tamarknochel on September 16, 2014 - 2:04 pm

    I am definitely one of those who dreads the school fundraisers! Most of the time I shove them back into the bottom of the backpack from which it came and pretend like I never saw it.😉 THIS fundraiser however, I LOVE! I love the idea of showing, not only the little boy, but his parents and his school the power of BLOGGING!!!!!!! There’s a LOT of love out there for us to give and spread around and I think bloggers do a great job of it! Kristen thank you SO MUCH for all your wonderful sage advice, but more than that, for being here for us when we need that extra bit of pick-me-up from a friend who knows what it’s like to be a writer.
    I am TOTALLY sharing this one on my blog tomorrow!😀

  26. #29 by moxeyns on September 16, 2014 - 2:05 pm

    Wow, this sounds so alien to me. I am so glad schools in the UK (at least my part of the UK) don’t do this.

  27. #30 by theowllady on September 16, 2014 - 2:06 pm

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

  28. #31 by Elizabeth Anne Mitchell on September 16, 2014 - 2:10 pm

    I hated being forced to sell overpriced candy for school. I pay it forward by giving kids the money, and not taking the goods. Like Melissa, I shouldn’t be eating what they’re selling.

    You choked me up with the magnet story. And I’m off to buy cookie cutters.🙂

  29. #32 by catemorgan on September 16, 2014 - 2:12 pm

    With us, it the all-girl’s show choir. We’d sell horribly overpriced candy bars for trips and costumes that mysteriously never appeared. Although the OTHER show choir (the co-ed one) had BEAUTIFUL costumes and travelled every other month. *suspicious*

    After two years of this nonsense, I joined the theatre program full time and never looked back. At least I knew where our ticket sales went!

  30. #33 by tamarknochel on September 16, 2014 - 2:19 pm

    Re-blogged on http://www.TamarKnochel.com it will post tonight a little after 11pm for tomorrow’s blog.😀 THANK YOU FOR SHARING KRISTEN!!!!!

  31. #34 by Kitty Bucholtz on September 16, 2014 - 2:43 pm

    I SO GET this blog topic! When my grandma bought me that loop/frame kit that makes colorful potholders, I made and sold so many the adults in my life looked at me like I was a little scary. Haha! I would totally buy something, even if I didn’t really need it, to encourage Isaac and his mom if we weren’t unemployed right now. But I’ll be praying for them to find this new situation in life continues to bless them more than they can ask or imagine! Thanks for sharing, Kristen!

  32. #35 by Beks on September 16, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    This is awesome. I remember selling that stuff door to door (introvert that I am, I HATED it!), but I try to help out kids when I can.

  33. #36 by mybrightspots on September 16, 2014 - 3:19 pm

    My brother and I used to go door to door selling freshly cut flowers. What we didn’t tell people was that at least some of the flowers had been cut from the gardens of our neighbors! I don’t think we asked our mom’s permission to cut her roses and I *know* we didn’t ask permission of our neighbors! Oops. 😦

    • #37 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 16, 2014 - 3:43 pm

      LOL. I did that too, BUSTED! I was 4.

      • #38 by mybrightspots on September 16, 2014 - 4:35 pm

        Well, I don’t recall getting busted. And I was (unfortunately) much older than 4. Old enough to recognize that I needed to go a few blocks over to sell the flowers lest someone recognize them.

  34. #39 by Lynda Jo on September 16, 2014 - 3:25 pm

    Yep, candy bars and bake sales. I understand from some people who have kids in school still that they aren’t even allowed to bring cupcakes to school for birthdays – all snacks must be healthy. That’s a little sad I think. Of course we could all eat healthier but there is a time in life for a treat now and then!

  35. #40 by ashara1934 on September 16, 2014 - 5:20 pm

    Is it acceptable to share this on my Facebook page?

    Judi Ring inhouseditor@yahoo.com judi@judisediting.com http://www.judisediting.com

  36. #42 by ugiridharaprasad on September 16, 2014 - 8:05 pm

    Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

  37. #43 by Kana Tyler on September 16, 2014 - 9:59 pm

    Oh Lord, the remembered trauma of slogging through snow with my Girl-Scout-cookie “order sheet,” absolutely petrified of knocking on all those doors! Never would have guessed I’d grow up to own a restaurant and sell food for a living.😉 At least I don’t have to knock on doors any more–they come to me!

  38. #44 by Deborah Makarios on September 17, 2014 - 12:20 am

    I never buy the chocolate at the door, because every school in the country seems to send its kids out with the same flavour: the only one I won’t eat! Why, why, oh why???
    By the way, I think I ought to point out that the best thing to make with ninja cookie cutters is NINJA-BREAD MEN!!

  39. #45 by Miriam Joy on September 17, 2014 - 7:47 am

    Our school never made us sell things (actually, I only heard of the whole “band candy” idea when I was marathoning Buffy the other day – there’s an episode in series three) so I think maybe it’s an American idea. But I did plenty of charity fundraisers as a kid that involved selling illustrated poems, coasters made of HAMA beads, other things I’d made… It was rarely profitable for me but I made a decent amount for charity a couple of times. These days I try to persuade people to buy my poetry properly but I’m much less cute and I think that’s really the problem here…

  40. #46 by lonestarjake88 on September 17, 2014 - 8:01 am

    I was homeschooled, so I never sold anything except $5 dinners at church for my youth group.

  41. #47 by Julie Glover on September 17, 2014 - 9:59 am

    I remember trying to sell candles and (would you believe it?) shampoo for school stuff. I hated the whole process and just wanted to buy the inventory and bury the products in the backyard. And to this day, I’m far more willing to give money to organizations that make the kids work for it — like spaghetti dinners and car washes. When I reached my kids’ junior high and they had a “no-sell fundraiser” (meaning you just donated and walked away), I nearly threw up my hands and shouted Hallelujah! (But I live in a pretty rich district, and there are enough people to do that and cover the ones who can’t donate. I know not everyone can do that.)

    Bless you for helping out Isaac and his family! And best wishes to them.

  42. #48 by John Holton on September 17, 2014 - 5:29 pm

    I had a Spirograph when I was a kid. I called it an Agnewgraph, because it was during the Nixon Administration…

    Have you ever read Robert Cormier’s book “The Chocolate War” or seen the movie based on it? Very apropos to the discussion here. As for my experience selling crap for school, we sold World’s Finest chocolate bars when I was a freshman in high school. I sold a whole box to my grandmother, who gave my brothers and me the candy. It was the only box I sold, and the only time I ever had to do that. Thankfully, since I went to school in the paleolithic era, I missed a lot of that.

  43. #49 by Denise McInerney on September 18, 2014 - 11:59 am

    Sometimes going to the grocery store around here is like running the gauntlet! Now, instead of buying yet another plastic baggie of squashed cupcakes with canned frosting, I just hand over a small donation to the Cub Scouts/Brownies/school sports teams/marching band/drama group/service club. Easier on our waistlines and no one has ever turned down the cash.

    I didn’t buy the ninja cookie cutters but got a nifty splash guard for my mixer instead. Will post link on my Faceook account. Go Isaac!

  44. #50 by conniecockrell on September 18, 2014 - 11:47 pm

    When I worked, I bought from every parent who came by my office even if I didn’t need whatever they were selling or worse, was allergic to it. As they say down South, God Bless ’em. Now, I have much less money so I volunteer. It’s much worse now cause I’m the one begging for money from people who have less than two cents to rub together.

    Here’s what I say. If any of you can donate, please do. Even a small amount from lots of people can make a huge difference. If it just isn’t possible, please keep all of those volunteers in your prayers. That can work wonders too. Don’t forget, you can volunteer too. An hour a month goes a long way.

  45. #51 by shanjeniah on September 19, 2014 - 1:51 pm

    Yes, I had things to sell…and it wasn’t good, because, although I enjoyed meeting people, asking them to buy things I knew they didn’t want was never something I wanted to do. Even as a waitress, decades later, my managers complained that I didn’t do enough to upsell – I just figured people knew how to choose from the options available, and had a better idea of their budget than I did…

    We lived rurally, and most of our neighbors (and us) qualified as working poor or lower middle class.

    In my grade, Lori and Gordon also lived on our one-mile street. We all had siblings close to us in age, too..and then there were other neighbors in surrounding grades…

    I loved your stories of selling your art. My daughter and her best friend have made some cash that way. They’ve sold at her friend’s house – big corner lot in a suburban area with schools and churches close by. They picked up rocks at an unschool camp gathering, decorated them with (washable!) markers, and eventually had a “work crew” of four other kids helping them sell. They made several dollars apiece, and it was pure profit.

    At our area unschooling conference, they used materials offered freely in the Art Room to create, then staked a table at the Untrepreneurial Fair (I’m NOT making that up; it’s a thing- really!), and practiced their sales pitch on all comers. Again, pure profit!

    Neither of my kids have ever gone to school, so neither has been pressured to sell anything they didn’t want to. I’m thinking that makes selling a more attractive prospect, because it’s always on their own terms.

    Heading over to check out some cookie cutters…and I LOVE Isaac’s long hair! =)

    • #52 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 19, 2014 - 1:58 pm

      Thanks. This post had funny timing. I just bought bacon bowl makers from the girl across the street, LOL. poor kiddos AND parents! Thank you!!!!

      • #53 by shanjeniah on September 19, 2014 - 2:00 pm

        Where IS that girl across the street? My daughter REALLY wants bacon bowl makers, and I’d rather buy them from a child than the television! =)

  46. #54 by Raani York on September 25, 2014 - 4:40 pm

    What a great post!! Love it!

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