Wednesday, September 13, 2000

I'm in sales

Wanna buy some wrapping paper?

How ‘bout some candles? Pistachios? Thin mints? Thirty feet of curly ribbon?

Yes, it’s school fund-raising time again. And though we’ve switched schools, the goods are the same. Gotta get that gift wrap. When did that start being the gold standard of school fund-raising? Did I sell gift wrap as a kid? I can’t remember. I remember selling Girl Scout cookies, and I most certainly remember selling tickets to concerts by my high-school choir, and I dimly recall something involving giant notebooks full of Christmas cards--but if in elementary school I toted home a big fat pouch full of brochures to use in selling my friends and neighbors tissue paper and gift bags, I’ve forgotten.

Of course, in those days, I would have been selling it door to door. That’s a no-no now. Maybe not everywhere, but in New Jersey, where memories of an 11-year-old boy who was killed while peddling candy door-to-door are still fresh, it’s gone from being no longer encouraged to specifically discouraged. DO NOT GO DOOR TO DOOR reads the instruction sheet, and we all know that means one thing: Make your mom sell this stuff. Kids can’t sell to strangers, but mom can tote the brochures to work and sell them to co-workers . . . who are trying to sell exactly the same merchandise for their kids.

Personally, I think the schools are missing the boat. Sure, we all need gift wrap, but if they sold school supplies, right now at the beginning of the year, they’d make enough to keep themselves in cupcakes straight through to June. Get a bunch of folders and notebooks and pens and pencils and rulers and glue sticks and scissors and pencil boxes and whatever all else the teachers are asking for in their start-of-year lists, print ‘em up with the school name, pile them on a table in the gym, and charge parents for the privelege of not having to run around town to five different stores to find book covers. I’m telling you, I’d pay top dollar.

But then, come Christmas, I wouldn’t have any wrapping paper, and that would be sad. You always need wrapping paper. You always need wrapping paper. I bet you need some right now? Wanna buy some?

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