Fundraisers: When Cookie Monsters Knock On Your Door by Jane Suter aka Plain JaneLife is a box of chocolates . . . and Girl Scout cookies, frozen pretzels, pizzas, popcorn tubs, magazines, and submarine sandwiches.

Yes, school is starting and it’s time to open those wallets and answer your front door to the line of neighborhood children begging you to purchase their wares. Not since the time of Charles Dickens have we seen such waifs begging for a shilling. Or should I say $12.99! Good grief. My stoop hasn’t seen this much action since I came home from the hospital after the birth of my son.

Now I’m hiding behind the curtains, peeping out of my bedroom window like a felon. A SWAT team of little people armed with highly complicated order forms and unwavering terms of cash up front ring my doorbell. These sales tikes are relentless. Not answering the door? They keep coming back, hunting me like a wild Dingo. Their number 2 pencils are held in clenched fists high above their shoulders, ready to spear my order. I can run, but I cannot hide. These micro-mini selling machines must have a dreaded and powerful leader with a name so feared it can only be uttered with initials.

Yes, the PTOs and PTAs who arrange the majority of these fundraisers are well-oiled machines of über-amazing parents. The mafia only dreams it could be this organized. Using tactics outlawed in the 1930s and breaking every child labor law currently on the books, they send out legions of these adorable indentured servants to do their bidding. These masters of money-raising are not to be trifled with. I am convinced they could easily solve the world’s problems in one doughnut-fueled weekend, yet they refrain from such grand aspirations and focus on hitting their monthly goal. And hit their goal they do! They acquire laptops, book guest speakers, and get whole libraries built!

So I Buy

I never say no. I buy because each adorable face begging for my order reminds me of, well, me. Flashback to the 1970s: I am going door-to-door selling Girl Scout cookies. There is a rotten, scowly-faced lady who lives several doors down. Before I even finish my sales pitch she slams the door in my face. I can still feel my pleated green Girl Scout skirt skimming my legs as I slowly cry my way home: rejected right down to my dark brown knee-hi socks. I vowed that very day to never do that when I got “big.”

So here I am. Big. I have not forgotten my promise to my younger self, and I surely won’t pay the karmic debt of saying “no” to a child, topped off with the metal swoosh of a door whizzing closed. I emerge from behind my iron curtain of, “I really can’t afford to buy anything” and open the front door.

I say “yes” to the blue eyes looking up at me. I see the relief on her sweet face and I smile. Yes, younger Jane would be proud, all the way up to her badge-emblazoned sash and tasseled green beret. So clean out those freezers, ladies and gentleman. Make room for the bounty of September’s expected delivery date. Open your wallets, answer the doorbell and say “yes” to that box of chocolates! Your younger self will love it.

Jane Suter is one funny mom. To share some of your own parenting experiences with Jane, write to her at janesuter@hotmail.comIllustration by Colleen Johnson.