Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Mini Mob...or Popcorn For Sale

It should have been included in our closing costs. Or in the mortgage. At the very least, we should’ve been told so we could budget for it. Granted, it’s only certain times of the year. But this must be the season because it seems as if every other day there’s a knock on the door and there stands some small, sweet, angelic-faced child asking me for money in return for some product I don’t want. If it’s not for the Boy Scouts (and there are more troops represented in my neighborhood alone then I ever realized existed at all), it’s for the band. If it’s not for the band, it’s for some group who wants to raise money to go on adventure trips (I picture Fear Factor-type events, with eight-year olds jumping onto fast-moving planks hanging from a crane or swinging from vines in Costa Rica). The truth is that I don’t even listen to their schpiels. I just say, “Sure!” as enthusiastically as possible, waving at Mom or Dad standing in the background, far enough away to give little Johnny his independence, but close enough to guilt me into buying whatever they’re selling.

There’s probably a network of these little tykes, a cross-group reference guide to which houses to go to. And ours is probably Number 1. “Yeah,” I hear the chubby little boy scout with the curly red hair tell the lanky, awkward preteen girl in the band, “You’ve got to go to the house with the red door. They’ll buy anything. Suckers!”

They usually want the money right away and so I have to scrounge around looking for the right change, embarrassed that my wallet is empty and trying to explain that I usually use my debit card. Once, I was even forced to pull dollar bills from one of those giant plastic water bottles that must weigh 50 pounds and into which Michael has been putting stray bills and change for most of his adult life (getting the dollar bills out requires tipping it over and inserting tongs and a really long fork. Don’t ask).

They’re like the mob, only smaller and stealthier. They act like you’re getting something in return, but let’s face it, they’re shaking you down. I gave one little girl a ten, which she pocketed, walking away without making change. Michael and I looked at each other like, “Can you believe that?” But what can you do? You can’t ask for it back. You can’t bully a little girl for $3. And you just can’t say no. To any of them. What kind of monster turns down their neighbors' kids? Besides, one day we’ll ask them for a favor (said in Godfather tones). Daniel will eventually be that little boy with a clipboard and catalogue filled with things no one really wants. And if anyone rejects him, they’ll have me to answer to.

So I cough up my seven dollars (I usually pick the cheapest thing and it’s almost always popcorn) and three months later some kid I swear I’ve never seen before shows up at my door lugging an enormous vat of the stuff. I thank him/her profusely and take it immediately to the section in the back of the pantry reserved for such things, placing it next to all the other canisters and boxes of popcorn we’ll never use.

I guess I could order the wrapping paper. Or candles. But I always seem to be hungry when they come a’ knocking. Luckily, the last kid who knocked on my door had magazines, so I signed up for Cooking Light. With any luck it’ll have healthy and delicious recipes for popcorn.


5 Comments:

At October 7, 2004 at 3:26 PM, Blogger Snart said...

Ms. Laurenmenis.blogspot.com, your rock!

Thanks for telling me about your blog. Now, if you think the North Atlanta suburbs are weird, just wait 'til you guys come visit us in Texas.

And you are going to visit. Right?

Tell D and M that Uncle Snart says hi.

-S

 
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