Tuesday, October 18, 2011

546. I Hid From The Boy Scouts

The rumors are true: I hid from the Boy Scouts. And also the Jehovah’s Witnesses. And the guy selling meat out of his broken-down truck. I don’t feel that guilty about the last two, but the Boy Scouts episode sometimes keeps me up at night.

Let me back up. We were living in our last house, the house before this one. A sweet little neighborhood Cub Scout and his dad knocked on our door selling popcorn (I guess those Girls Scouts had already cornered the market on cookies). When I opened the door as a preemptive strike against them ringing the doorbell and waking up my sleeping toddler (this was a couple of years ago when Short was a toddler, now he is a runner), the scout immediately walked into my living room and started his speech.

I did not want any popcorn, but I felt sorry for him having to sell stuff. I remembered back to my junior high days where we were forced to sell donuts door-to-door, and I instantly felt sorry for my former self … although I do remember the donuts being quite tasty.

I politely listened to his speech, culminating in a chipper, “So, Mrs. MOV, how many boxes of popcorn can I put you down for?” while his father beamed from the comfort of my living room sofa, like a paid studio-audience-member (I thought he might break into a round of applause at any moment).

“Uh, boxes?” I asked, confused. Shouldn’t caramel popcorn come in canisters?

He handed me the order form and I signed up for three boxes, for a grand total of $45. Conveniently, the Boy Scouts accept all major credit cards and personal checks.

A few months later when I had completely forgotten why my checking account was overdrawn and what the heck “B.S.— $45” stood for, I almost tripped on three tiny boxes (think the size of a can of tuna, maybe smaller) outside my front door. There was a cheery note in childish scrawl that read,

This was accompanied by a smiley face in thick, black Sharpie.

I felt good about sending him to the Grande canyon, and I hoped his trip might include some spelling lessons. I did not feel so good, however, about the doll-sized tuna boxes by my feet. How were three large canisters of caramel popcorn (“Perfect For Any Gift-Giving Occasion!”) supposed to fit in these boxes of Lilliputian proportions?

I picked them up and brought them inside. When I opened them, I was dismayed to see microwave popcorn, like the generic kind you buy at the grocery store. I had overdrawn my checking account and paid $45 for microwave popcorn, and we don’t even own a microwave?

I was livid.

But I couldn’t take it out on anyone, like, say, an unsuspecting Cub Scout, because the cowardly cub had (wisely) abandoned the grasshopper size popcorn boxes at my front steps (most likely so he wouldn’t have to deal with the fall-out of my disappointment and Popcorn Rage).

When The Husband came home that evening, I shoved the little boxes at him by way of greeting.

“What’s this?” he asked. “Did you order some eye-drops from Amazon again?”

“Open it,” I sulked. “Go ahead.”

He peered in the boxes. “Popcorn. Oh, hon, you got the wrong kind. We don’t have a micro—”

“Duh, I know,” I glared at him, as if he were the reason for this mistake instead of my own impulsiveness and inability to waste time reading fine-print.

“Uh, well, why don’t you return them?” he offered helpfully.

“They are from the stupid Boy Scouts! You can’t return charity!”

The Husband was used to my kooky moods by now; we’d been married several years, some of them happy.

“You know what?” he started. “I will take them to the office. We have a microwave there. Then they won’t be wasted.”

“Okay,” I pouted.

When the next selling spree commenced a few months later and I happened to notice the uniform-clad boys walking up my block yet again, I quickly turned off the lights and closed the plantation shutters so that they couldn't tell we were home. They knocked anyway (I guess the car in the driveway tipped them off). I decided I would rather have a woken-up, cranky toddler than overpriced, microwave popcorn.

The Boy Scouts have followed me to my new house as well, where they stalk me and pester me to buy stuff. Religious zealots join in the fun, as do wannabe lawn-care professionals.

I draw the blinds and ignore them all. I might crack open the door if someone comes up with a fundraiser involving Chardonnay.



  1. Since I moved into my new place, I've had a high school band kid try to sell me fifteen-dollar cookie dough (I bought; I used to be a bandie myself) and a boy scout try to sell me a twenty-five dollar Dine-A-Mate book (did not buy; I've never been a boy scout). What I want to know is, whatever happened to the one-dollar candy bars?!

  2. I am notorious for not answering the door for salespeople. First of all I have a loooong road that says private, so that should be the first tip off not to come down. When I see the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witness flyers all scrunched into the faux briefcases I flee upstairs for my life. They always hunt me down.

  3. You've made me cringe, MOV: I just bought popcorn from a kid at my school who's also in Scouts, and I hope and pray it's the chocolate smores stuff the photographs showed. If I, too, get microwave garbage then I'll know it's a conspiracy of international proportions.

  4. If they ever do come to your door for a Chardonnay fundraiser, you can put me down for 3 cases. Appreciate it. Marianne

  5. Dee from Tennessee

    Oh mercy...I had "lost" your blog - again! SO SO glad I found you - you literally made me laugh out loud - and I don't do that! Thanks for making this tired , old, cranky senior citizen have a good laugh!

  6. I No longer answer the door to sales people either. But Had a really fun time watching the confused looks the Religious boys were giving the Barbie hair-do head in my front window. She was so rude she was ignoring them!!!(I blogged it Here
    BUT!!! I have realised if you do get stuck answering the door the best way out is "SORRY my kid is selling those too!"

  7. My nephew is a Boy Scout in South Dakota which makes it kind of hard to get popcorn from him since I'm in Illinois, so I order online and have my order sent directly to our deployed troops; my nephew gets credit for the sale. As a Marine Mom, I'm kind of partial to that sort of thing. Plus I'd rather do that then buy all the wrapping paper, over priced chocolates and jewelry the school groups sell. And some of that cookie dought? It's just horrid....

  8. Rockygrace, so you are basically a big push-over like I am/ used to be?

    Meg, even the long driveway does not deter them, huh?

    Kay, I hope you were luckier than I and that you get chocolate popcorn-- yum!

    Marianne, you got it (although, if they are running low you might have to fight me for it).

    Dee, welcome back! You can always put "mothers of brothers MOV" in your search engine and it will find me. I see that a lot as a traffic source. Apparently, there are not too many people name "MOV" writing a blog.

    L, I am on my way to read your Barbie head blog post! sounds awesome! (can I maybe borrow her head for the carpool lane on the freeway?).

    HW, I agree about the wrapping paper. I kinda feel like the group should just say, "MOV, hand me a check for $200 and we will leave you alone for the rest of the year. Promise." I am totally onboard for that.

    thanks to all that wrote, and please feel free to add your comments too.


  9. Barbie would be happy to be at your service my Gals don't use her very often.and I think the Mormons are onto her.
    I remember when I was a kid My mom was asked to bake for a bake sale music fundraiser. She burnt two batches of Fudge and sent me with cash and a note for the music teacher. She requested that when they need money perhaps they could to a bake-less bake sale. They DID and requested money for many years afterwards! saving many parents headaches.she's a woman ahead of her time.

  10. I like how he wrote 'apeshit' on his note

  11. oh, my dearest darling gweenbrick, only you would notice (and appreciate) that! I should not be surprised......... and a warm welcome to my blog, it's about time you made it over here.



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