Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.

Yesterday afternoon, I took a late, slightly drawn out lunch break to shop at Marshalls for a few new things to wear for my trip this weekend. By the time I was returning to the street where I work, I was all red faced and sweaty from the heat (like 85!) and also kinda, sorta really late. I parked my car on the street because our parking lot is really sketchy and I suspect that ne'er-do-wells lurk under the cars, holding knives in their teeth like Captain Hook's pirates.

So I'm half-running back to the office, when I see this kid walking in the middle of the street up ahead. I slow down, for some reason. And then he starts to walk toward me. He must be like 6 and he's carrying this little wooden box. Oh dear. He's going to try to sell me something. Oh I can't say no! (Also I'm sort of hoping he's peddling bags of peanut m&ms because those would hit the spot right about now.)

"Would you like to buy an Easter card for charity?" he mumbles shyly. Well isn't he just precious. And when is Easter, btw? I have no idea. Maybe I should buy a card. "It's one dollar," he says.

"Uh. Sure." And I beging rummaging in my purse for a dollar bill. Seeing as I have cash on me about .2% percent of the time, I wasn't surprised when I couldn't find a single freakin' bill in my wallet. But I had lots of change floating around in there and so I dug up four quarters. (And parting with quarters in these paying for laundry times is a grand gesture, let me tell you...)

By the time I had all of the quarters in my hand and looked back down at him, he was holding out the card for me. It was homemade. All white, with the face of a dog drawn on it with black marker and a little speech bubble coming out of its mouth saying "Happy Easter."


So part of me was like, "Cute! He's making his own cards and selling them. How productive and artistic."

And then, honestly, part of me wanted to revoke my offer and lecture him about making false claims about charities. But of course, I didn't. I'm not a jerk. I get that it's better to support his efforts. I bought his little card and we went our separate ways.

When I told a coworker about this encounter (because I feel the need to tell everybody everything that happens to me in order to share my wondrous life with the world), he suggested that perhaps the kid was only earning 10 cents on that dollar and forced to give the rest to some drug lord. So, apparently, the reality of the situation is some combination of these three things:

1. I am tragically naive.
2. The world is worse off than I'd originally suspected.
3. My coworker grew up on The Wrong Side Of The Tracks.

And this whole experience got me thinking about the way we as adults react to kids selling things. I can recall my sister and I, sitting at the end of our driveway when we were like 8 and 6, selling snow cones made from our Snoopy snow cone maker. And nobody bought them. Or when we painted rocks that we'd collected from Myrtle Beach and tried to sell them --considering them works of art on imported stone-- and nobody bought them. And then as I got older and had the ability to grow bitter, I'd walk from door to door selling candy to raise money for marching band, and one neighbor after the next would say no and I'd wonder why they couldn't find it in their hearts to buy some stupid candy just to save me from having to walk away from their house feeling bad about myself. Seriously, you give me one lousy dollar and you get to enjoy a king size pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. That's 4 cups. You can eat them all now, or eat them later. You can put half of them in your freezer. You can give them to your grandkids for snack time and then they will love you even more. Just buy my fucking candy you assholes!

In fact, the only time I didn't have a hard time in sales was when I was a girl scout. Everyone wanted to buy cookies. They'd order themselves 20 boxes. "I freeze them so I can eat them year round," they'd say. Hoarding food like bears preparing for hibernation. And so they throw their money at the girl scouts. Devoted customers year after year even though the price per box consistently increases and even though they keep changing the names of things and even though they sometimes get rid of the good cookies and replace them with weird lowfat ones that are always lemon flavored. Who the fuck craves lemon? Have you ever heard a woman say, "God, I have my period this week. I seriously need some lemon heads." No. You haven't. Which is why they need to make more chocolate flavored cookies. But they don't care what YOU want.

You know who does care? The other kids who are selling m&ms and kit kats and crunch bars. But your dollars are too good for them. You're saving up for the girl scout cookie feast.

Anyway, my point is: Give a kid a fucking break and buy something once in a while. It's good for their work ethic. Maybe if more people had bought stuff from me when I was a kid (and maybe if I drank less these days) I wouldn't have lost my desire to work hard.

Also, would anyone like an Easter card? I've got to give this thing to someone to get my money's worth.

UPDATE: My sister Katie requested to see the card. Here it is. Not bad, eh? Better than my artwork.


percillamaymarshmellow said...

Take a picture of the card and post it. I want to see it. I get suckered into buying everthing. I was at Starbucks the other day and the employee kid asked me if I wanted to donate 55 cents and I just said, fine, and then as I handed him my giftcard to pay I asked, wait, what is the 55 cents for? And he's like, oh we're having a contest to see who can sell more shots of espresso to win an i-phone. And i'm like, but my iced tea doesn't have a shot of espresso in it. He's like, yea but you can still donate to be nice. What nerve! As if Starbucks needs "donations." Plus, I want an i-phone too and now I'm 55 cents away from one. Anddd I didn't even get the espresso shot.

Inono said...

I have never seen a kid selling candy that was less than $3. If it was $1 I'd be more than happy to help, but I am not spending $3 on a candy bar that I can buy for 44 cents!

surviving myself said...

i obviously disagree with this.

but i will say that snoopy snow cone makers were awesome.

Hollywood Sucker said...

percilla- Ok, yeah that's not a worthy cause. Eff him.

inono-really? maybe you need to come shop at my crappy Ralphs then.

survivingmyself- I thought about your post on this topic as I was writing...and I knew you'd disagree but I thought the difference is that this was a cute youngster who made something, and not a teenager with a possible criminal record who likely stole the candy. eh? eh?

devin said...

i think that card is teriffic. i would like it and will pay you $2 for it, so you can feel good and make a profit, too. Did it ever occur to you that this kid was selling cards that he made himself and donating the money to charity as a nice thing to do, you know, for like... Easter. it's not like he was one of those pimped kids selling obviously stolen bottles of Gatorade for $1 when we were in nyc.

margottt said...

when i was four i used to sing that whitney houston song on cue because i was convinced i was going to be famous and that my vh1 special would interview my parents about it...

don't think its going to happy :(

margottt said...


surviving myself said...

ok - that's true.

and do you have any snow cones left?

cherry please.

nicoleantoinette said...

My years in NYC made me a complete unfeeling hardass in regard to kids who sell things.

I'm like "you aren't selling those candy bars for your basketball team. Stop trying to get me to fund your drug addiction."

And then I think, "fuck, when did I get so cynical?"

I'm glad to be back in the suburbs with corner lemonade stands to buy from during the summer.

JenBun said...

I am familiar with your sales disappointments. This is why I stop at EVERY lemonade stand I see, EVER. Annoying to others? Sometimes. But that $0.50-Dixie-cup full of warm, lemon-flavored water (what? is sugar extra?) shuts them RIGHT UP.

The card is lovely and you should display it proudly. Or give it to Devin for being so positive and optimistic about this kid's charity-donating propensities.

Finally, the words "I feel the need to tell everybody everything that happens to me in order to share my wondrous life with the world" add up to the best reason to have a blog. EVER!

Hollywood Sucker said...

devin- Oh shoot, you're right. He could have been selling cards to give the money to charity. If only I wasn't in such a hurry, could've asked.
And I will give you the card since you like it.

margot- There's still time! And there's still karaoke!

surviving- Coming right up!

nicole- Being cynical is exhausting. I find it much easier to be an idiot.

jenbun- Thank you for being on my team!

Anonymous said...

You are a fantastic storyteller.

I think "Just buy my fucking candy you assholes!" would be a great marketing campaign sign for any kind of stand. I would buy something from a stand that read that.

J-Money said...

Re: The Easter Card

Why does the dog have a spider on its mouth? And, if it is in fact a spider, why is his reaction "Happy Easter?"

Also, Easter should be capitalized.

These are things I would have pointed out to the little peddler. Lessons about life's disappointments are more valuable than a dollar.

This is why I will never have kids. And why my car is frequently keyed.

Phil said...

I also am tragically naive. But I generally always support kids, so I'm totally with you there.

Kelly said...

So I went to high school with Devin, and he linked all his myspace people to your blog, which has now become a part of my daily slacking-at-work routine. I felt the need to come out of lurker-dom here, however, to point out that I think the dog in question just might be a rabbit. It is easter, after all, and those are some long ears and some bunny-esque whiskers for your average dog.

Also, I would have bought the card, too. though I often feel the need to lecture people about the ethics of fundraising and the lack of worth of paying for a good or service instead of just giving your whole dollar to charity, I can't say no to anyone asking for money for anything that claims, even feebly, to be a charity. Cheers to being a naive and hapless sucker!

Peter said...

That card is cute. I'd buy it too.

Of course, I'd probably buy a kick in the nuts if it was a little kid selling it.

I wouldn't pay more than 4 bucks though.

A Lover and a Fighter said...

Maybe he was making the cards himself and donating the proceeds to charity? My mom, because she's a hard ass, sometimes made us EARN the money for the church collection plate. I sold my "inventions" which were things like Eyedrop Dispensers made out of popsicle sticks and glitter (worst idea ever- everyone got the Ole Glitter Eye) and puppets, and later switched to issuing tickets to kids on my street and collecting the fines. Kind of like utilising the Free Parking option in Monopoly.

Or he was a wee baby crackhead.

Julie_Gong said...

Um, this might be the best post ever.

Hollywood Sucker said...

Nico- Thank you! And I wish I could make a career out of using "Just buy my fucking __________ you assholes!" for any product known to man.

J-Money- I make stupid faces when I'm being serious, which is the real reason I didn't want to lecture the tike.

Phil- Welcome to Team Space Cadet.

Kelly- Thanks for reading! Also, I think you might be right and it is a rabbit...eeek. Hopefully the kid doesn't read my blog or I'd hurt his feelings.

Peter- I know someone who'll kick you in the nuts for $2.50.

lover/fighter- Boyfriend had the same suggestion, that he was maybe earning the money to give to charity. Maybe you two should date instead. I'm obviously much too surly.

julie- Um, best comment ever!

mindy said...

One time I was at Leann Chin when a teenager approached me with a box of candy. He gave me a speech about how if I bought some candy from him, the proceeds would go toward a charity that gets youth out of gangs. I figured "what the hell! I like chocolate, I don't like gangs!" So I gave him a buck or whatever and got my candy. Then he approached everyone else in the restaurant. When he finally got enough money, do you know what he did? He walked up to the counter and ordered himself some sweet & sour chicken! I couldn't believe it. That's why I don't buy things from kids anymore. Although a 6 year old with a hand-drawn card would probably change that.

Anonymous said...

Don’t believe one optimistic word from any public figure about the economy or humanity in general. They are all part of the problem. Its like a game of Monopoly. In America, the richest 1% now hold 1/2 OF ALL UNITED STATES WEALTH. Unlike ‘lesser’ estimates, this includes all stocks, bonds, cash, and material assets held by America’s richest 1%. Even that filthy pig Oprah acknowledged that it was at about 50% in 2006. Naturally, she put her own ‘humanitarian’ spin on it. Calling attention to her own ‘good will’. WHAT A DISGUSTING HYPOCRITE SLOB. THE RICHEST 1% HAVE LITERALLY MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. Don’t fall for any of their ‘humanitarian’ CRAP. ITS A SHAM. THESE PEOPLE ARE CAUSING THE SAME PROBLEMS THEY PRETEND TO CARE ABOUT. Ask any professor of economics. Money does not grow on trees. The government can’t just print up more on a whim. At any given time, there is a relative limit to the wealth within ANY economy of ANY size. So when too much wealth accumulates at the top, the middle class slip further into debt and the lower class further into poverty. A similar rule applies worldwide. The world’s richest 1% now own over 40% of ALL WORLD WEALTH. This is EVEN AFTER you account for all of this ‘good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS from celebrities and executives. ITS A SHAM. As they get richer and richer, less wealth is left circulating beneath them. This is the single greatest underlying cause for the current US recession. The middle class can no longer afford to sustain their share of the economy. Their wealth has been gradually transfered to the richest 1%. One way or another, we suffer because of their incredible greed. We are talking about TRILLIONS of dollars. Transfered FROM US TO THEM. Over a period of about 27 years. Thats Reaganomics for you. The wealth does not ‘trickle down’ as we were told it would. It just accumulates at the top. Shrinking the middle class and expanding the lower class. Causing a domino effect of socio-economic problems. But the rich will never stop. They just keep getting richer. Leaving even less of the pie for the other 99% of us to share. At the same time, they throw back a few tax deductible crumbs and call themselves ‘humanitarians’. Cashing in on the PR and getting even richer the following year. IT CAN’T WORK THIS WAY. Their bogus efforts to make the world a better place can not possibly succeed. Any 'humanitarian' progress made in one area will be lost in another. EVERY SINGLE TIME. IT ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT WORK THIS WAY. This is going to end just like a game of Monopoly. The current US recession will drag on for years and lead into the worst US depression of all time. The richest 1% will live like royalty while the rest of us fight over jobs, food, and gasoline. So don’t fall for any of this PR CRAP from Hollywood, Pro Sports, and Wall Street PIGS. ITS A SHAM. Remember: They are filthy rich EVEN AFTER their tax deductible contributions. Greedy pigs. Now, we are headed for the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time. Crime, poverty, and suicide will skyrocket. SEND A “THANK YOU” NOTE TO YOUR FAVORITE MILLIONAIRE. ITS THEIR FAULT. I’m not discounting other factors like China, sub-prime, or gas prices. But all of those factors combined still pale in comparison to that HUGE transfer of wealth to the rich. Anyway, those other factors are all related and further aggrivated because of GREED. If it weren’t for the OBSCENE distribution of wealth within our country, there never would have been such a market for sub-prime to begin with. Which by the way, was another trick whipped up by greedy bankers and executives. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. The credit industry has been ENDORSED by people like Oprah, Ellen, Dr Phil, and many other celebrities. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. Now, there are commercial ties between nearly every industry and every public figure. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for their ‘good will’ BS. ITS A LIE. If you fall for it, then you’re a fool. If you see any real difference between the moral character of a celebrity, politician, attorney, or executive, then you’re a fool.. WAKE UP PEOPLE. THEIR GOAL IS TO WIN THE GAME. The 1% club will always say or do whatever it takes to get as rich as possible. Without the slightest regard for anything or anyone but themselves. Reaganomics. Their idea. Loans from China. Their idea. NAFTA. Their idea. Outsourcing. Their idea. Sub-prime. Their idea. High energy prices. Their idea. The commercial lobbyist. Their idea. The multi-million dollar lawsuit. Their idea. The multi-million dollar endorsement. Their idea. $200 cell phone bills. Their idea. $200 basketball shoes. Their idea. $30 late fees. Their idea. $30 NSF fees. Their idea. $20 DVDs. Their idea. Subliminal advertising. Their idea. Brainwash plots on TV. Their idea. Prozac, Zanex, Vioxx, and Celebrex. Their idea. The MASSIVE campaign to turn every American into a brainwashed, credit card, pharmaceutical, love-sick, couch potatoe, celebrity junkie. Their idea. All of the above shrink the middle class, concentrate the world’s wealth and resources, create a dominoe effect of socio-economic problems, and wreak havok on society. All of which have been CREATED AND ENDORSED by celebrities, athletes, executives, entrepreneurs, attorneys, and politicians. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for any of their ‘good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS. ITS A SHAM. NOTHING BUT TAX DEDUCTIBLE PR CRAP. In many cases, the 'charitable' contribution is almost entirely offset.. Not to mention the opportunity to plug their name, image, product, and 'good will' all at once. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. These filthy pigs even have the nerve to throw a fit and spin up a misleading defense with regard to 'tax revenue'. ITS A SHAM. THEY SCREWED UP THE EQUATION TO BEGIN WITH. ITS THEIR OWN DAMN FAULT. If the middle and lower classes had a greater share of the pie, they could easily cover a greater share of the federal tax revenue. They are held down in many ways because of greed. Wages remain stagnant for millions because the executives, celebrities, athletes, attorneys, and entrepreneurs, are paid millions. They over-sell, over-charge, under-pay, outsource, cut jobs, and benefits to increase their bottom line. As their profits rise, so do the stock values. Which are owned primarily by the richest 5%. As more United States wealth rises to the top, the middle and lower classes inevitably suffer. This reduces the potential tax reveue drawn from those brackets. At the same time, it wreaks havok on middle and lower class communities and increases the need for financial aid. Not to mention the spike in crime because of it. There is a dominoe effect to consider. So when people forgive the rich for all of the above and then praise them for paying a greater share of the FEDERAL income taxes, its like nails on a chalk board. If these filthy pigs want to be over-paid, then they should be over-taxed as well. Remember: The richest 1% STILL own 1/2 of all United States wealth EVEN AFTER taxes, charity, and PR CRAP. A similar rule applies worldwide. There is nothing anyone can say to justify that. Anyway, there is usually a higher state and local burden on the middle and lower classes. They get little or nothing without a local tax increase. Otherwise, the red inks flows. Service cuts and lay-offs follow. Again, because of the OBSCENE distribution of bottom line wealth in this country. I can not accept any theory that our economy would suffer in any way with a more reasonable distribution of wealth. Afterall, it was more reasonable 30 years ago. Before Reaganomics came along. Before GREED became such an epidemic. Before we had an army of over-paid executives, celebrities, athletes, attorneys, investors, entrepreneurs, developers, and sold-out politicians to kiss their asses. As a nation, we were in much better shape. Lower crime rate, more widespread prosperity, stable job market, free and clear assets, lower deficit, ect. Our economy as a whole was much more stable and prosperous for the majority. WITHOUT LOANS FROM CHINA. Now, we have a more obscene distribution of bottom line wealth than ever before. We have a sold-out government, crumbling infrastructure, energy crisis, home forclosure epidemic, 13 figure national deficit, and 12 figure annual shortfall. The cost of living is higher than ever before. Most people can't even afford basic health care. ALL BECAUSE OF GREED. I really don't blame the 2nd -5th percentiles. No economy could ever function without some reasonable scale of personal wealth and income. But it can't be allowed to run wild like a mad dog. ALBERT EINSTEIN TRIED TO MAKE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND. UNBRIDLED CAPITALISM ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT WORK. Bottom line: The richest 1% will soon tank the largest economy in the world. It will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. and thats just the beginning. Greed will eventually tank every major economy in the world. Causing millions to suffer and die. Oprah, Angelina, Brad, Bono, and Bill are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A MULTI-MILLIONAIRE HUMANITARIAN. EXTREME WEALTH MAKES WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. WITHOUT WORLD PROSPERITY, THERE WILL NEVER BE WORLD PEACE OR ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE. GREED KILLS. IT WILL BE OUR DOWNFALL. Of course, the rich will throw a fit and call me a madman. Of course, they will jump to small minded conclusions about 'jealousy', 'envy', or 'socialism'. Of course, their ignorant fans will do the same. You have to expect that. But I speak the truth. If you don’t believe me, then copy this entry and run it by any professor of economics or socio-economics. Then tell a friend. Call the local radio station. Re-post this entry or put it in your own words. Be one of the first to predict the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time and explain its cause. WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE.

Joy @ Big Time Fancy said...

That easter card is damned adorable. I would have bought one too.

Felix for Zosia said...

This post has inspired me to share some words of wisdom that inexplicably are going around and around in my head:

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadow. If I fail, if I succeed, at least I'll live as I believe.
No matter what they take from me, they can't take away my dignity.

Hollywood Sucker said...

mindy- Maybe he was going to take the food to a homeless person? Ok, ok. He just sucks.

anonymous- You sure do have a lot to say. You should get your own blog.

joy- I'll get you one. Maybe I can get a discount for being a frequent customer.

felix- Lets go sing this at karaoke.

Stockmoose16 said...

This post was hilarious. Love the card.

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