I saw a posting on Facebook that said, “That moment when you realize your child has your sense of humor and you aren’t sure whether to be proud or scared…” (Or something to that effect.) That is true of my kids. They definitely have my sense of humor, and they are both like me in more ways than they will want to admit. Someday, the Goose and the Beetle are sure to utter the words that many have said before them, “Oh no. I’m becoming just like my mother.”
This past week, it was the Goose who amazed me, and at the same time, reminded me how much she is like me. She is a Girl Scout, and it is, as you probably know, Girl Scout Cookie Time. (If you weren’t aware of that, you certainly have not been around the Goose in the last 2 months!) After discovering last week that her troop still had 650 boxes of cookies to sell, she decided to do what she could to help her troop get rid of them. She talked me into having a trunk sale. A trunk sale is when a girl sells cookies from the trunk of her car, because, to have an actual cookie booth, we have to have two registered adults and two girls and we have to have permission from the store where we set up. For a trunk sale, one girl can sell with just her parent, as long as they are somewhere where selling is allowed.
So, last Saturday, the Goose and I loaded up the ole’ cookies and headed up to a busy corner with an empty lot. We opened up the back of the Suburban, put out empty boxes so people would know we had cookies and put signs up. The Goose donned her tan vest and held up a hand-made sign. Five minutes into it, I was done. No one was stopping, and I felt very awkward standing on a street corner trying to sell cookies. The Goose was hesitant, and I really thought we were going to pack it up and leave. She said it would be more fun if she had someone there. I reminded her that I was, indeed, someone, but she said I knew what she meant. I really didn’t. I insisted that I was someone.
After ten minutes, the Goose was sitting down, and I asked if she was ready to go. She told me that we weren’t leaving until the cookies were sold. I looked at the stack of 60 boxes and told her I was pretty sure we were leaving well before the cookies were sold. She said, “We’ll see.”
Then, the Goose did the thing that amazed me. My child stood up, grabbed her sign and started waving. On the back side of her “Girl Scout Cookies $3.50 a Box” sign, she had written, “Honk if you (heart) GS cookies!” She started holding up her sign, smiling and waving. And, wouldn’t you know it, people starting honking! They honked and smiled, but they didn’t stop. An hour into the sale, we had sold nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilcho. I was more than done. I had faked a smile and waved with her, but the flap of fat under my arm was tired from all that blowing in the wind. I told her I thought we should go. She said she didn’t think so. I told her I would give it 15 minutes, but if no one stopped by….and before I could finish the statement, a car stopped, and another, and another. We had four cars come all at once and buy 20 boxes of cookies between them.
After that excitement, the Goose sat down for a minute. Then, she was back up and waving again. This time, I finished the statement that I was giving it 15 minutes, and we were leaving if no one stopped. Wouldn’t you know, people kept stopping. We kept resetting the 15 minute timer over and over and over, and we ended up being on the street corner for nearly 3 hours. By the time we left, she had sold all but about 10 boxes and had gotten 77 people to honk at her (We counted to entertain ourselves). She wouldn’t have left if I hadn’t made her, but I had to go. (Really. I had to go. Three hours without a trip to the bathroom? Virtually impossible for me.)
Through our trunk sale, I was reminded of two things:
1. My kid is much bolder than I have ever been. At her age, there was no way I would have stood there and done that. In fact, at my age, I really didn’t want to be standing there doing that. I was embarrassed and awkward, and I would have opted out when I was little. She is not the least bit shy, and she has more self-confidence in her 11 year old body than this 40 year old could ever dream of having. In that way, she is not like me. I was always way too worried about what other people thought. She has more of the, "They can like me or lump me," attitude.
2. My kid is a natural-born salesman. I really don’t think it was the cookie sale that she cared about. I think it was the thrill of making money (even if it was not her own), and that, she got directly from me. She is an entrepreneur through and through.
My parents refer to me as their “Anything for a Buck Kid,” and I guess I am. I had my first business license when I was 17 years old. With that first business, I made and delivered gift baskets. Since then, to earn money, I have baked and delivered birthday and wedding cakes, cooked and delivered meals, sold Pampered Chef, sold felt story books, bought and sold kids’ clothes, bought things and sold them on EBay and started a traveling pottery business that turned into a retail store that supported our family for years. I have mystery shopped. I have edited. I have made mosaic furniture and small pieces. I have worked at conventions as a hospitality hostess. I have cleaned toilets, both in a church building and people’s homes. I briefly made beaded bracelets and sold them. I vaguely remember a babysitting gig in the late 90’s. These things are on top of “normal” jobs that I had once upon a time. There were probably more things to list, but I just can't remember them all.
So, to say that my kids got their drive to sell and make money from me would be an understatement. They both have the entrepreneur bug. Bless their hearts. I hope they will have better luck at making money than I ever have. Of course, I shouldn’t complain. My little jobs have carried us financially many times, but I hope their drive to own their own businesses will take them to bigger and better things than I’ve achieved. If not, they’ll at least have something else to blame on me when they eventually end up in counseling. -Al