“Knock, knock, knock,” Abra said knocking her knuckles against an imaginary door.
Mandy reached out her hand to the imaginary doorknob on her side of the imaginary door and answered, “Hello?”
“Hi, my name is Abra. Would you like to buy some girl scout cookies?”
Both girls turned their head to face our Brownie leader, eyes questioning “was that good?”
“Okay, but let’s not kick people. You’re swinging your leg the entire time,” the group leader said and she mimicked Abra’s stance. Hands clasped behind her back, weight set on her left leg allowing her right leg to swing back and forth.
We all giggled like a group of 6-year-old girls — ’cause we were — at the start of our first Girl Scout Cookie Season. How to politely approach and talk to strangers was the first lesson in selling.
There would be many more fundraisers over the years — from pens to paper and chocolate bars to cookie dough. For most of them I can’t remember what we were raising funds for. At some point, years later and after I had convinced my parent’s to let me drop out of Brownies (turned out kindergarten was the high point), I was again in a group of kids — adolescents this time — receiving a lesson in selling.
“Ask your friends and family. Get your parents to take the sheets to work so that they can ask their co-workers,” they told us. “You don’t want to go door-to-door or ask strangers.” They weren’t teaching us how to behave out in the world anymore. It was a dangerous place and we didn’t have to go out there. If our parents (and their employers) were willing we didn’t even have to be responsible for selling.
Since these cookies were the only elementary fundraiser I participated in, I can’t say if others were given the same lessons in etiquette, but I like to think they were. If they weren’t then the first lessons my school peers would have received would have been the second. The one where we were told to stay away from others.
Working where I work and reading the annual horror story about Black Friday combined with ever so many other instances that have made the news have made me think of these lessons recently. About how it seems that kids are only taught that strangers are bad — to be feared, to be ignored. The parent’s who are teaching these lessons are forgetting the other one. I think this helps explain rudeness. It’s not computers or social media. It’s that people are taught and people believe that strangers are always bad.
Then you get the giggling school girl effect. One starts so the others can follow, one thing leads to another, and everything feeds off each other.
When you stop selling to the public you stop respecting. Selling and buying are both about getting as a result both are giving to the other. In the stranger danger world the motive behind the buying and selling changes: the seller is only interested in themselves and the buyer is only interested in themselves.
Assuming that strangers are always bad creates that me against them mentality. People are willing to treat strangers in a way they would never treat family or friends — I hope. Of course you would trample, hurt, and pepper spray someone so that you can buy whatever because you and yours deserve it. That other person doesn’t because they’re a stranger.
I’m proud of my new theory because it is applicable to many situations — not just consumerism. Don’t worry I’ve decided to get off my soap box and step away from my pulpit. Today’s post revealed my preachy side — I realize this is not always the most appealing side. Please accept these cookies in return.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Post Punk Kitchen’s Punk Rock Cookie Jar Mixes
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup cocoa powder
large pinch ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground flax seed
little less than ½ cup oatmeal (optional – it was an experiment)
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup chocolate chips
⅓ cup vegetable oil (technically I used canola – I think)
¼ cup non-dairy milk (This is supposed to be a vegan cookie. I used almond milk ’cause that’s my favorite non-dairy milk.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine together all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add in the remaining ingredients. Heat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Take spoonfuls of the dough and smoosh into a ball. Place on the baking sheet, flattening each ball into a fat disc. They don’t really spread so they can be placed fairly close together.
Bake for — according to the recipe — about 10 minutes. Being a chocolate cookie it’s hard to tell when it has achieved the browned appearance you are typically looking for in a cookie. I don’t have a different suggestion — you just have to make a judgment call. I slightly burnt one batch.
These are great first thing out of the oven.