Like most other workplaces in America, the bulletin board in the employee kitchen at the world headquarters of NewsCut has its share of “buy this stuff my kid is selling” sign-up sheets. The problem, as some see it: The kids aren’t selling anything. Mom and Dad are.
This debate usually rears its head around this time of the year — Girl Scout cookie time.
“This goes beyond helicopter parenting. Ensuring that kids sell their own cookies is responsible parenting,” argues Kelly Richmond Pope on the Washington Post’s website.
Selling cookies, I learned more than how to resist the temptation to embezzle. Since my parents were not involved in the process, other than walking me around the neighborhood, the buck stopped with me. I was in charge of all orders and counted my money every night. I learned never to set unrealistic sales goals; to always take responsibility for my work; and that if someone says “no,” have confidence, because another will say “yes.”
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call. It was my friend’s 7-year-old daughter with her Girl Scout Cookie sales pitch. Not only was she poised and professional, she closed the deal by asking for the names of friends who might be interested in purchasing cookies. I was impressed — and ordered three boxes of Thin Mints.
If she follows my old-school approach to Girl Scout Cookie sales, she may not be the sales leader in her troop, but she could be the next Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sandra Day O’Connor, Sally Ride, Barbara Walters or Gloria Steinem — all legendary Girl Scouts. I trust that they sold cookies themselves, learning about accountability along the way.
Sign up to buy stuff on the company bulletin board, and you’re helping to create tomorrow’s white-collar criminals.