Tuesday, February 07, 2006

it's a question of good manners

First... Let me apologize for the long post :)

Working for a big company… well… any company really… you get the obligatory charity / fundraiser crap pretty regularly… and here at the AT&Tizzle… there being 200 people in my office… about 50 of which I know by name and interact with on a regular daily basis… I get it A LOT…

and normally I don’t mind spending a little money for a good cause… I’m usually good for at least $20… and this being girl scout cookie time… you’d better believe that I’ve been hit up quite a few times… and I was a girl scout… for longer than I’d care to share (ok FINE… I was 14 when I finally quit… 14… jeezie creezie… hehe… it was almost the girl equivalent to an eagle scout… almost…) and so of course I’ll buy some…

but here’s my issue…it’s a question of etiquette… and I’d like everyone’s opinion… so far I’ve bought a total of 12 boxes… from 4 different people… you know… spread the love… but at $4 a box… that’s all the love I can spare this month… now these have all been bought from the children of my co-workers… my friends at the company… now another co-worker (in my dept.)… who from my personal blog… I call über xian lady (don't ask... long story)… has brought in another cookie order form… for her good family friend’s granddaughter

ahem…

yea…

and she’s telling this story about how the little girl has pneumonia and can’t sell her own cookies… and she has to sell all of these TODAY because the little girl has to turn her sheet in TOMORROW... and every person that walks by her desk (she sits right behind me) gets to hear this sob story... and I’m really sorry that she’s sick but… um… can’t her PARENTS sell the cookies for her at THEIR works… or her GRANDPARENTS… or neighbors… or anything…

maybe I’m being heartless… but every month I have my co-workers kids selling gift wrap… or tupperware… or candy… or coupon books… and enough is enough… I mean what would you guys do…I feel like if I don’t buy some from her… I’m being rude… or mean… or whatever... but I don’t think it’s fair to solicit like this…

8 Comments:

Blogger Jo said...

I agree, why is it we are forced every year to buy things from kids. I always do, the neighbors kids,friends. I feel guilty if I don't.
My daughter is in Pre-K and she was selling things by October. It wasn't even for a cool trip or anything, just for the PTA. I spent $60.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Jadzia said...

I don't think you're being heartless. I mean if you've already bought 12 boxes (!!), you shouldn't feel obligated at all to buy from this lady (heck even if you'd bought no boxes you shouldn't feel obligated, you should buy when and IF you WANT and have the $). I can understand how you feel, but you're only 1 of 200 people in the office, if she so desperately wants to help then she should branch out of the area instead of burdening you. I dunno that's how I see it...

4:07 PM  
Blogger furyouhin said...

As a former Girl Scout (yes, I know. Weird. Shit happens), I'm surprised that the parents/relatives have forgotten that the *Girl Scout* is supposed to be making the sale, not the girl's family members. That rule is quite clearly spelled out in the cookie sales handbook which goes home with the order forms, iirc, as well as on the GS website.

Not that I'm suggesting you get all Cliff Clavin in your coworkers' faces, waving the little red rule book around but here's what I used to do when I worked in an office.

I said no.

::gasp::

No really. To quote the very brittle former First Lady, just say no. With 200+ targets in your office, your coworkers will quickly move on to the next mark without much angst over your demurral. My fundraising purchasing were limited to "children with whom I have a personal relationship," which as icky Michael Jackson as that sounds translates to "I'm close personal friends with their parents and the child has asked me in person, clutching his or her little order form in his or her sticky mitts." Everyone else got a "No." The coworkers I liked got a "No, thank you."

If you are reluctant to go with the direct (but ever-so-timesaving) approach, here's some handy-dandy white lies which you may print out or scribble onto the palm of your hand for future reference.

"I'm sorry, you see my sister's/brother's/neighbor's kid already got to me last week and cleaned me out! Ha ha, little dickens! Maybe next year, huh?"

"I'm sorry, I'm trying to cut back." (Usage note: don't specify what you are cutting back on. Just look sort of wounded, clutch your stomach and quickly change the subject.)

"I'm sorry, I've just purchased a Maui timeshare and that's taking up all my discretionary income...heyyyyy, you like the ocean, right? I have a brochure right here...wait, where you going...hey! OK, well, I'll see you at lunch and tell you about it!"

Good luck

10:52 PM  
Blogger furyouhin said...

One last thought on fundraisers:

the other thing I used to do was decline purchasing the happy-crappy from the catalog and write a check directly to the organization who is sponsoring the fundraiser (the school, the church, the PTA etc) for the same amount of money I would have spent on stuff I didn't need/want.

Reasons:

1) The school/church/PTA are usually nonprofits willing to give you a tax receipt for a cash donation (yay!) You cannot deduct the amount you spent on overpriced gift wrap and frozen cookie dough.

2) the organization gets more cash in pocket because they don't have to share it with the catalog company. those companies rarely share more than 50% of the sales with the non-profit org. 20-30% is more common.

3) it's less of a hassle for the org: no order fulfillment, and less hassle for you: no calories, no clutter.

Really, who the heck needs gift wrap at $20 a roll? Even writing a check for $10 means the school/church/PTA comes out ahead and if you itemize your Fed taxes, so do you.

11:23 PM  
Blogger tamie said...

yea... I told her "NO"

it's just that I sit right next to her and I have to deal with hearing her pan handle for this girl over and over again... and I am upset because she's not even related to this kid... and she shouldn't be allowed to SELL this stuff for her in our office...

I usually only buy from the co-workers kids that I like... and I DO have nieces who are Girl Scouts... so it's no lie...

I am just a little sick of the expoitation of the workplace for every single persons kids crappy fundraiser... like furyouhin said... I'd rather give to the organization instead of getting the shitty cookie dough or crap-tastic kitchen ware... but when you have 200 people in your office... guess how many freakin kids/parents are pimping out their stuff each DAY...

it gets tiresome...

and I'm not even mentioning the COMPANY sponsered charity fundraisers... hehe...

10:19 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

I'd be like "I wish I had known earlier, but I've already bought stuff from other co-workers and I am at my limit". Screw uber-xian and her sob-story girl. The only time I buy stuff like that is if it actually is good. Like GS cookies. Our photographers cute little girl sold me some (4 boxes).

10:35 AM  
Blogger goldennib said...

Where I work, I never asked anyone to buy things my daughter was selling as I hate to be asked.

I began saying no quite heartlessly and then spreading the news that I was saying no and my reasons for saying no, which are all mentioned by others above.

Amazingly, others began saying no and we now have a solicitation free work place.

I give as I see fit, not based on the guilt trips that cookie Mom's try to enforce.

Someone has to stop the maddness!

4:09 PM  
Blogger furyouhin said...

i had the same experience as goldennib: once you start refusing to buy and making your reasons known, then the solicitations really taper off. youre probably not the only one in your office feeling put upon by all the solicitations and it just takes a few people to break the cycle of guilt and end it.

re GS cookies. The troop (i.e. the group of girls which contains the child you bought the cookies from) receives 12% to 17% of the sale, a whopping 68 cents per box, max. The rest goes to the local and national GS org and of course, the cookie manufacturer. Give the gal a buck or two and go buy some nutterbutters ;)

7:51 PM  

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