Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thin Mints and Pledge Cards




I hated selling Girl Scout cookies as a kid. Hated it. I really think that if a team of experts worked for a year to come up with the most effective method to torture shy little girls, making them go door to door selling cookies would be the method they would recommend.

I was a loyal Scout and a bright child. I "got" that the cookie selling was directly connected to our troop having the funds to do cool things later on. And since my Mom was Cookie Chairman for our troop at least once, I also got educated about how our cookie sales helped support the work of Girl Scouting nationwide. (Early training for interpreting per captia maybe?)

Still, I hated it. Even at that young age, this idea had somehow implanted itself deep in my psyche: If you ask for help you will appear lazy, stupid and incompetent. People won't like you. Better to go on the offensive and be as helpful as possible. Then you will appear kind, industrious and wise and people will love you. Asking people to buy my girl scout cookies, to my mind, equalled asking them to help me out. Yes, of course they weren't really helping ME but my organization--but I had a hard time making that distinction emotionally.

Fast forward 35 years. For me, the annual Stewardship Campaign feels EXACTLY like the annual cookie drives of yore. When I get up to address the pseudo-festive Stewardship Breakfast I might as well be wearing my old green uniform and knee socks, holding a box of Thin Mints in my trembling hand.

Would you like to buy some cookies?

10 comments:

Teri said...

ooh, yes. I was a Camp Fire Girl and we sold almond roca. I didn't even like the stuff, but...I had to sell it whether I wanted to or not.
I do feel sort of like you say about stewardship too. I wonder, though, if we had cookies, or if we gave "gifts" the way NPR stations do, if pledging would increase? hmm...maybe a stewardship raffle is in order. We'll put the name from every pledge card we receive in the raffle and then at the end one or two people will win a fabulous (and donated!) prize!!!

or maybe not..

Pastor Katherine said...

Our family has a dirty little secret regarding girl scout cookies.

We were terrible salesgirls, and everyone was expected to sell at least 60 boxes. So the night before the order form was due, my mother would sit at the kitchen table and make a bunch of fake orders in the names of dead people. We ended up with a lot of cookies, because somehow the last ten names on the list never ponied up the money come February...

Katherine said...

oops, i was signed into the church account...

cheesehead said...

In answer to your question,

"No thanks. I gave at the office."

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

You really ought to dress up like a grown up girl scout and totally read this entry to them. They would get a kick out of it and it really might just break the ice.

Stushie said...

It's a rip off - 50cents to the Girl Scouts and $2.50 to the cookie company....and I thought that child labor laws prohibited this.

Songbird said...

I think you should tell the cookie story and triangulate with the congregation against the text, in this case the whole awkward stewardship thing. Then explain that to get the good things we want (the field trips, etc) we need to sell the cookies!

Preacher Mom said...

I SO get this!

Anitra said...

I stayed in Girl Scouts till about half-way through high school. Which meant i was pushing the cookies long past the expiration date of "brownie cute" Turned out my most successful technique was to stash a few cases of thin mints, etc. in my school locker and do serious business during lunch and morning breaks.

Sure, it wasn't "cool" but I was already hopelessly geeky so wasn't much to lose on that score.

Then I ran for political office and learned that in order to seriously raise money it wasn't about me. It was about the office, about the goals for serving in office. To oversimplify the question: do you want the office holder to be more concerned about tax breaks for the rich or healthcare for the poor?

Questing Parson said...

Passing out Thin Mints at the Stewardship Campaign. Hey, that might work.