It's that time of year again. By now, you've probably had a Girl Scout, Brownie or Daisy pounding on your door, hawking her fat-laden, sugar-filled, diet-killing, over-priced guilty pleasures. You may or may not have given in to temptation, buying a box of Thin Mints or those delicious Samoas from the tiny neighborhood stranger.
It's hard enough to say no to those mini entrepreneurs, but what happens when the cookie pusher is actually an overachieving mom and happens to be your friend? Are you obligated to buy in order to save the friendship?
I am knee-deep in the years of raffle tickets and wrapping paper and have quickly discovered there's an unwritten expectation among some moms. Purchase unnecessary items from each other's kids -- period. And if we don't follow the rules, we could be setting ourselves up for the wrath of a fellow mom.
When I asked around about whether it was OK to forgo a fundraiser for a friend's kid, Ellen, a mom of four, said "Don't buy if you don't want to and don't feel guilty." But she and Ramona, who admitted that if the request is not in person, she ignore it until it expires, were the only two who didn't swear by always grabbing the checkbook when friends' kids are selling.
"One of these days, it will your kid. Buy." - Liz, mom of two boys
"Buy. Period. It's part of the mom handbook." - Naila, mom of a teen and infant.
"I always buy. Especially in high school when your child joins a team or club, it is REQUIRED for them to sell a certain amount. Basically, you the parent puts up the initial money and you sell in order to get your money back. I say "you" because you end up being the one actually selling the stuff for your kid." - Melissa, mom of three
"I always buy something -- even if it's just a little. But I've been known to buy 12 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from the neighbor kid too!" - Cheri, mom of two teens
"I usually buy unless my kiddos are selling the same stuff then I buy from my kids only. This year, we purchased one box of Girl Scout cookies from every friend we knew who had a daughter selling." - Christine, mom of two
"I always buy, that way, those people buy from my kids when they are asking. Unless my kids are selling the same thing." - Sandi, mom of three
"BUY BUY BUY... it's the right thing to do. What if the roles were reversed and it was your kid? Think about how the child feels when they hear... 'no!'" - Michelle, mom of two
Now, I understand where the ladies are coming from but frankly, we have no idea of the financial stability of our friends these days. With the economy in the toilet and neighbors just trying to hold onto their homes with no cash for the extras like date night and kid activities, I think kids need to learn at a young age that while some of us support their latest project, not everyone has money lying around for magazine subscriptions or overpriced squares of wrapping paper -- or the latest flavor of cookie. If we, as parents, don't teach our children that the word "no" isn't an insult but sometimes a necessity, we're doing our kids a huge disservice. And at the very least, while I can appreciate the excitement and drive in a miniature salesperson, sometimes, they're just going to have to learn that the world doesn't dig into their pockets just because they're peddling the latest cookie flavors.
But it's not the kids who are resistant to the life lessons -- it's sometimes the women who raise them. Like the mothers who leave reminder notes in the break room at work, practically pointing out by name those who haven't made a purchase. Or the relative who reminds you four or five times, making passive-aggressive comments about how their kid will feel so rejected, it will snowball into a miserable, unsuccessful life. Ladies, if Girl Scout cookie sales are "for the girls," why have I never seen your little one holding the order form?
And while I actually ignored the doorbell being rung by local Girl Scouts as I wrote this very post (true story), I'll probably end up buying a box (or three) of those damn Do-Si-Dos. Because while I may talk a mean game, in the end, I'm just another mom who's a sucker for those adorable girls in green.
Follow Jackie Morgan MacDougall on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JackieMacD