March 20, 2007

Seven Dollars Going Once. . .

Posted in Office Hijinks at 2:30 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

As a young girl, my mother and father adamantly refused to bring my school and social activity fundraisers with them to work.  My father reasoned it was because he was the boss and didn’t want his employees feeling obligated to buy stuff from his kids.  My mother argued that if her co-workers bought stuff from me she would have to buy their kids’ crap.  Not wishing to send their absolutely adorable daughter out on the mean streets of Allentown by herself, they often purchased whatever was necessary to meet my fundraising requirement. 

I think my mother openly wept with joy the day my high school offered the option of just paying out of pocket in lieu of fundraising.  She got down on her knees and thanked the Lord that her days of ridiculous, reusable holiday tins that once contained peanut brittle were over.  As were our subscriptions to seventeen various magazines purchased over the years.

At the time, I was very disappointed in my parents.  All my friends’ parents took their fundraising brochures into work with them.  All my friends got to pick really cool prizes out of the catalogue in the higher lettered levels.  I think highest prize level I ever got to was D.  I remember I picked a portable a.m. radio that was either lost or broken within a month.  

Now that I am an adult, I see my mom’s point.  There are always pamphlets being passed around, filled with the same confectionary delights I was forced to sell.  Most of the time I just hand the brochure to the next gal, guilt free. After all, I don’t have any kids whose wares I have to hock.  There is no quid pro quo.     

Still, having not completely forgotten what it was like to want so badly to be the one that the principal calls up at the assembly as the top fundraiser, I have purchased a magazine subscription here, a calendar raffle there.  I am not completely heartless.  I also always buy Girl Scout Cookies as I became addicted to those back when I was still a Brownie.

In addition to the occasional school fundraiser, some of the women at the office will sell things for their churches.  I am not a churchgoer, but have a great deal of respect for those that do.  In the past I have purchased these items probably out of guilt for my own lack of faith.  However, I was so grateful the day I returned from lunch to learn that I had missed the latest round of homemade goods for the better good.     

They were fake, plastic, Hummel-looking children hot-glued to the top of a candy jar. They were kind of creepy looking, but I love the assistant that was selling them so I know I would have bought one.  I smiled at my good fortune and maybe poked a little fun at Patient for having been suckered into buying two. 

A couple days later I was not so lucky.  Apparently a partner had called the assistant to tell her he missed out on the sale and was hoping she would return so he could make things right.  When she stopped by, he was out to lunch again.  Unfortunately, I had opted to take my lunch at my desk the day she came in with a box full of her arts and crafts projects. 

Oh, boo-hoo for me, right? I had to buy an ugly candy jar. Oh, if only Karma were so kind to me that afternoon. No, I didn’t have to buy one, I wasn’t even asked. Instead the box of jars was left with me, and the assistant asked that I finish selling them to my co-workers. It all happened so fast, she was around the corner and out the door before could say, “Sorry, I’m allergic.”

I put the jars under my desk and waited for the partner to get back. When he returned, I realized I had no idea how much she was asking for these. I emailed her, she called me, the partner never came back with the money. Others have passed. Some raise an eyebrow, some furrow their foreheads. Others blatantly point and laugh. Persevering has suggested I cut the price in half or have a blow out, buy-one-get-one free sale. I just smile politely.

It has been several months and they still sit under my desk, taunting me; reminding me that if I were good at sales I would have a job at Smith Kline and Beecham. The assistant has been by several times and noted her disappointment in my inability to unload these things. What she doesn’t know it that I have already decided to just buy the lot myself and give them as Christmas gifts to those co-workers who made fun of me for getting stuck with them in the first place.

It is a Karma-proof plan; retaliation with the proceeds going to a good cause.

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