Cathy Hamilton: Girl Scouts could end crisis
November 19, 2009
I am hunkered down over my keyboard, working feverishly (OK, tepidly) on my weekly column. The topic? Something about how I've sacrificed my lunch hour with people for a daily tete-a-tete with the dog.
Not my best idea ever. The words aren't exactly flowing onto the page.
Suddenly, I hear a familiar voice from around the corner.
"Let's go see Cathy. Maybe she'll want to buy some."
Just then, the daughter of a co-worker, an adorable 7-year-old girl I've known since she was in utero, steps into my office and shyly approaches my desk.
"Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?" she asks, meekly.
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Dear little girl, I think to myself. Is the Pope Catholic? Does a bear, er, sit in the woods?
Of course, there are countless reasons why I should not purchase her wares, starting with the 75-per-cookie calorie count. I've done an admirable job kicking my sugar habit, and a box or two of Thin Mints (aka "legal heroin") could send me on a downward spiral for months.
(Not to mention, with a delivery date of early January, my New Year's resolutions would fly right out the window!)
She looks at me in eager anticipation through hazel-colored Bambi eyes with lashes out to there. Her sash, covered with merit badges, is draped haphazardly over her skinny shoulders, and she smiles with an endearing overbite, thanks to two new permanent front teeth.
I am defenseless over such dastardly sales tactics.
As if I needed more convincing, she proceeds, at her mother's prompting, to tell me her goal is to sell 200 boxes so she can have a chance to win a Nintendo Wii.
Stick a fork in me, Brownie girl. I'm done.
"May I borrow your pen?" I ask, as I take the order form from her wee little hands.
Six boxes of Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Shortbreads and legal heroin later, it comes to me — the best idea ever:
What if all American retailers took a page from the Girl Scouts of America cookie sales playbook? Hire the cutest, most irresistible 7-year-old people you can find. Set them up in your showrooms, department stores, car lots and boutiques. Add a Brownie sash or alternate piece of all-American flair, give them an order pad, and let them do their thing.
Bada boom, bada bing! Recession over.
Think of it. With Black Friday and the all-important holiday season coming up, who could better loosen the purse strings of fearful, financially conservative American consumers than a cuddly second-grader with a lisp?
"Hi, Mith-ter. Would you like to buy a Thony 42-inch flat thcreen TV today? It's jutht thixteen hundred thixty-two dollarth and theventy-two thents!"
Take those kids out of school, put 'em in the labor force, and listen to cash registers ring from sea to shining sea. They could sell anything — from trucks to newspaper subscriptions, soup to nuts. These kids are closers, I tell you!
Oh, sure. I know there are child labor laws and that a few disgruntled grown-ups might not enjoy being replaced by little girls with "Hi! My Name is Emily" nametags, but it's the price we must pay for full fiscal recovery. And, besides, to whom would they bring their commission checks at the end of the day? That's right, Mommy and Daddy!
Better yet, let's put 7-year-old Brownies in charge of all banks and securities firms. Think of the millions we'd save in executive bonuses! All these girls would demand is a year's supply of bubble gum and a trip to DisneyWorld.
Bada bing, bada boom! Bailout money paid back in full, with interest!
I don't know why the Obama administration hasn't thought of this before. After all, is there anyone who can say "no" to a second-grader peddling sugar? And think of how much the tykes would learn. Talk about education reform!
I suppose there might be problems if the concept really took off. Illegal alien 7-year-old workers, for instance, or, God forbid, the second-graders might unionize.
But, let's be clear, I don't want them working in steel mills or driving big rigs, just doing what they do best — selling people things they don't need and have no business buying.
It's the American way, and it will work. I have a $21 cookie order to prove it.