My order of Girl Scout cookies came in. And no, you can't have too many Caramel deLites.
Caramel deLites used to be called "Samoans". My brother and I cherished these. Back when we were teenagers, we were down to two boxes, one stacked on top of the other in the cupboard. I proposed that we do our best to ration these. He agreed.
So the first box is near completion. We managed to stretch it out far. We finish it. Then I pick up the second box underneath. It feels strangely light, even though it's sealed in the front. It turned out that somebody had secretly opened the back and had been eating out of this box. I pull out the tray to reveal a lone Caramel deLite, which prompts me to scream "What?!? ONE cookie left?!? ONE?!?" That's when my brother revealed his sneaky deed of eating from the second box.
Naturally, I pick up the remaining cookie and announce that it's mine. And despite the unforgivable act my brother has committed, he still had the balls to plead, "Aw come on, can't I just have a little piece of it?" No way. I then proceeded to eat it in front of him. Slowly.
Being a Cub Scout and later a Boy Scout as a kid, I was always envious of the established fund raiser that the Girl Scouts had. All they had to do was dress up in their uniforms, ring a doorbell, and say "Hi, we're selling Girl Scout cookies." Simple. Everybody knows what Girl Scout cookies are. Or at the very least, know what a cookie is ("buscuits" for you readers over in the UK). Similarly, if kids are selling boxes of M&Ms or candy bars ("chocolate bars" to you Canadians), people know what you're talking about.
The Boy Scouts on the other hand didn't have such a recognized fundraiser. Instead, we had the Tom Wat Showcase.
The Tom Wat Showcase was an enormous, heavy, cardboard box with a handle, designed to look like a metal suitcase. Inside was...everything. There were 50 different products inside, one of each. They ranged from hairbrushes, to toys, to notepads, to little gadgets, to wrapping paper, to kitchen tools, to who knows what else. Also included was an enormous piece of cardboard with order sheets, stapled on with one huge industrial copper staple. Each page listed all of the items along with their prices. Customers would look through the products in the box, and if they wanted to order any of them, they'd fill out one of the order form sheets. The items themselves were just samples; you didn't sell directly out of the box. Payment wouldn't be needed until delivery, some time before Xmas.
Now imagine being 11 years old. You're lugging this enormous thing around from one stranger's house to another, in your Scout uniform, under the hot sun. You ring the doorbell. A grown-up answers. Or worse, some kid or teenager. You ask if they want to buy anything. They ask, naturally, "What is it?" And now, using your best words as an 11 year-old, you have to explain that whole previous paragraph of details to this person.
THEN you have to further elaborate when they don't get it, or when you use the wrong words. I remember the Heinz family up the street, whose father was a drunk. I told him what I was selling was a bunch of different "gifts and toys" and other things. He said "Naw, my kids are too old for that" and shut the door before I could think of a response. I rang the doorbell again. "It's not just toys," I explained. "I have [blah blah blah] too." No, still not interested.
I think the weirdest response I ever got was at the Hernandez' house, a Spanish family up the street. I ring the door bell. The door opens partly, and a guy (presumably the father) sticks his head out. He's wearing a black shirt, leather jacket and a scally cap. Before I say a word, he looks down at me and said "Nobody's home." I stood there, unable to speak in the face of this paradox. "But I'm, uh, have, uh..." "Nobody's home!" What I really wanted to say was "Who the hell are you then, a burglar?"
Those enormous boxes actually ended up being good storage units for my old school papers. We had 2 or 3 of those Tom Wat boxes in my parents' basement, filled with folders of notes and other saved things. Still, what a nightmare. Couldn't we have visited 10 times as many houses and sold twice as much if we stuck to candy bars?