Monday, February 21, 2011

what cookies have taught me

This weekend I chaperoned my 2 oldest girls selling cookies.  This is our second year going through this process.  Well, last year #2 was the only one selling and the process has changed a bit.  This year, we hoard cookies in our garage and sell from our independent inventory.  Last year we "pre-sold" and delivered later....but I digress...

What I noticed or learned from this weekend has been varied.  I learned that #3 is a go getter.  She was hawking her wares at school, handing me sticky notes after school for the orders she took.  These were orders we filled and were paid in full within 24 hours.  She also is good at taking feedback.  After she tried to sell to her friends at taekwondo, I let her know that she has to start with the cost or sell to the parents.  Her friends thought she was giving them something.  Oops.  But, she did not make that mistake again.  She also honed her opening speech.  And she walked and sold and walked and sold.  She cautiously opened gates, checking for dogs.  She knew I was at the sidewalk waiting to help if needed.  Some gate latches were too high, but for the most part she persevered.

I have learned that #2 is consistent, yet not always predictable.  #2 is apprehensive, but confident at the same time.  She will not look adults, strangers or not, in the eye when she speaks to/or is spoken to.  This is without regard for what she is doing.  Last year, when she set out solo to sell, she let #3 come with her for moral support.  This year she took #4 with her for support.   She even let her brother help.  She is competitive, but is sharing with her sister.  They never share.  She is also willing to let #3 go to the more challenging houses.  The girls have worked out a deal to share prizes.  Reminder, they never share.  This is letting her good side shine and lessening her competitiveness.

I have learned that there are a lot of cookie sellers in our neighborhood.  We don't want to encroach on other girls' business.  #1 felt we should still "double knock".  What I mean is even though every other house said someone else had been by, he thought we were quitting when we acquiesced.  We rolled home due to darkness.  The next day, the group gave up a trip to the city to sell again.  #2 chose to do a quick sell and head to a play date knowing #3 would pick up the slack.  That is pretty trusting when the combined sales will dictate both of their prizes.  Smart girl.  #1 rolled with us for over an hour.  He went home when we were short on inventory to bring back more cases.  Way more motivated than I ever expected.  Especially when he has nothing to gain.  It also seemed to be an opportunity for my group to see that following rules and etiquette has a place.  They would be the first to complain if they had been wronged.  Maybe they will remember this when they have a choice and I am not there to be the voice of reason.

This is also a lesson in not making assumptions.  I learned that in college business and fashion merchandising classes.  You never know who will buy what and how many.  This is a great way for my kids to see this rule.  The vendor at the farmers market may be our best customer.  Even though these cookies are as far from local and organic as you can get.  Ya' never know...

I have learned that our neighborhood is way bigger than I thought.  Many more people have gated properties than I ever expected to see on our journey.  Some properties are huge and there are even a few mansions among tiny cottages.  There are a lot of dogs, many off leash.  People are generous.  Some donate change, others buy cookies to support the cute freckly girls at their door.  People ask about the girls' favorites and let them do the math and bring them change.  They are patient and kind, even if saying "no thank you".  It is almost like trick or treating, but in the daylight.  We see so much more.  Their support is priceless.  This is what makes us go out again.  And grow.

Yes, my girls are doing this because they get stuff.  But, this has been a great opportunity to hang out with all of them and see so many parts of their personalities and our neighborhood.  I don't think they realize that they get more than "things" and I get stuff too.  Our family is brought together by something I can't even eat.

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