Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No Soliciting

So yesterday I went for a jog. While I was still in my neighborhood, I passed a kid putting pizza fliers on the doorknobs of each of the houses.

Our neighborhood is a deed-restricted, no soliciting neighborhood. Big signs at the front gate that say so. So my initial reaction was the desire to tell this kid that he can't do that here.

But then I looked at him. The kid was maybe 17. Fairly clean-cut. Wearing basketball shorts and a t-shirt, carrying a backpack. I thought "Hey - the kid is just trying to earn some money." I mean, is it really the end of the world if I get a pizza coupon on my door? And this kid is working. He's not doing drugs or robbing gas stations. He's actually doing something productive. Most likely someone from the pizza place dropped him off and said "go flier this neighborhood", and he was just doing what he was told. Whatever the circumstances, at least he was doing something not involving criminal activity. So I smiled and said "good morning" and ran on by.

Then, about a half mile later, I thought..."Wait a minute. Shouldn't that kid be in SCHOOL right now?" Granted, I am in denial about my advancing years, and this makes me really bad at judging ages. But this kid looked young. I suppose there is a chance that he's a college student. If he had classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, he would have had yesterday - Tuesday - off to work.

Which leads me to the people selling stuff at the entrances to grocery stores. I always buy from kids selling stuff at store entrances, and here's why. Once I was walking into a WalMart, and I saw a group of kids selling candy bars for their baseball team. If you haven't put kids in Sports programs lately, let me tell you - it's expensive. Especially if it's a regional or travelling team. Expensive. Anyway, while I was walking in (I was going to get some cash at check out and buy some candy on the way out...) the kids smiled and asked this old man if he would like to support their baseball team. The old man CHEWED THEM OUT. Yelled at them about bothering people and why don't they go work to earn that money. His rant went on for several minutes. The kids, who were maybe 9 or 10 years old, were stunned, as was the adult that was with them.

I was embarassed. I mean, here are some kids who are participating in sports. Sports and other activites are proven to help keep kids out of trouble and keep their grades up. After school and on Saturdays, they are on the ball field instead of loitering around causing trouble, or going brain-dead in front of video games. On this day, they were simply trying to sell some candy to offset some of the expenses of their team. Why is that so bad?

Bart is worse than I am. If you are a kid selling something, be it for school or scouts or your sports team, come to our house. Bart will buy anything from a kid. A few months back he bought a Dominos pizza discount card for $20, and we hate Dominos pizza. He will cause a 5 car pile-up to stop at a kid's lemonade stand.

The point here is these kids are doing something productive, so why not support them if you can? Or, at a minimum, be polite? Even if you don't want the $20 pizza card, you can always give the kids a $2 donation.

Which leads me to the car wash. Bart and I are also fans of fundraising car washes. Again, it is usually kids raising money for their sports teams, band, etc. They are outside with people in broad daylight (which can be rare for teenagers.) I hate washing my car, so why not let the kids do it? I can almost always scrounge up $5 - sometimes in change - for a donation for a car wash. My biggest complaint? The signs. Make BIG SIGNS that tell me which team or cause you are fundraising for. If I really need a car wash, I'll stop for pretty much anyone. However, sometimes I don't need one, but if it's a cause near and dear to my heart (God bless you, band geeks...) I will get one anyway. Or make a donation.

Maybe I should get a flier job. Outside, in the sun, don't have to talk to anyone, can wear my Ipod. Exercise too. Hmmmm....

No comments: