Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Time of Painful Renewal

Autumn officially began this week and with it comes not only cool days and bright colors but also all the fundraisers. Boy Scout popcorn. Cookie dough for school. Girl Scout nuts and magazines. Take your checkbook and hide in a cave-- Here comes the kids!

I'll have plenty to say about popcorn in the coming days, being that I'm the troop's Popcorn Kernel. (I'm not kidding, that's what the person who runs the sale is called. ACK!). But today I want to tell you a story about the GS fall sale.

I was at the big kick-off event about a month ago out at Timberlane. Girl Scouts have had a fall product sale for a long time now. Compared to the insanity of cookies, the fall sale is barely a blip on the troop year. When I was a lass we sold calendars, then it was calendars and nuts, then just nuts, now it's magazines and nuts. The magazine sale, new last year, had a lot of bugs in the system. Add that to the fact that most people can't follow simple written directions, and by December the magazine sale had everyone hopping mad.

At this big kick-off meeting, people still felt like they hadn't complained enough about how last year went and proceeded to hog up the meeting time with their grievances. The sales rep guy was way, WAY too patient with them all:

"My subscriptions didn't start coming until March!"
"I paid for a year and it stopped after six months!"
"My mother got double billed!"
"Those annoying renewal offers come every week!"

At that last one, the calm sales rep raised his hand for attention.

"Remember that renewal offers you get in the mail are from the magazine publisher itself, not Girl Scouting. If you renew with them, Girl Scouts doesn't get any of the money."

The room quieted down a bit. He continued, mistakenly believeing he was getting control of the room finally.

"You have to renew on one of these forms," he said, holding up a copy of the now familiar form, "in order for your troop to make any profit from the sale."

The room was now practically silent. The only sound was that of women muttering not very Girl Scout words under their breath.

Are you kidding me? I thought. These women have renewed their subscriptions with the publishers and thought it would count? Uh-oh.

That uh-oh then happened quickly. One leader broke the silence with an exasperated, "Well, I wish to hell someone would have explained that a year ago!"

And with that the room broke out into chaos again. It was the single worst kick-off event in recent memory.

With that said, if you need any of your magazines renewed, let me know. I've got plenty of forms.


Weaver said...

i'm sorry, my fearless leader friend but i have to be honest and admit...

i am laughing way too hard at this!!!!

what kind of simpleton thinks writting a check to the magazine company will get money to your troop? i mean, did they write the troop number on there anywhere? Is the huge corporate mag co supposed to just send random gs troops money just cause they like to send away their profits?

reminds me of a leader meeting at cosi where afterwards the director thanked me, with tears glistening in her eyes, for mentioning the positive things (only two buses showed up to transport us all to the rec center and one broke down and then only one showed in the morning. they had to bring breakfast to the rec it was taking so long) The yelling, whining and complaining gave me a fierce headache.

people are dumb!

Nance said...

Magazine sales are THE WORST fundraiser in history. When will organizations realize this? Why not go back to useful, easy things like all-occasion cards and giftwrap, which EVERYONE uses and will buy?