Sunday, March 25, 2007

Would you Like to Buy a Chocolate Bar?

It's a longstanding tradition, standing outside the Jewel doors selling chocolate. You know, we have the mandatory two boxes from school that we have to sell as a fundraiser, and, well, it's not the easiest thing in the world. For one thing, they're so tempting that you're bound to be at least a few dollars short at the end from the bars that were just taken and eaten out of the blue. Then, a nice person who doesn't want any chocolate will give you a dollar and tell you to the eat the chocolate, and you think "Ha ha -- I already did." And then you feel encouraged that you won't be as short in the money count. But then, you count the money and realize that you were a lot shorter than you thought you were, and then -- who has eaten all the chocolates????!
These chocolates have been sitting around for a few weeks. I tried to sell them at music school. That was when a few (let's say, about two one week, three another week) nice people bought some (thanks, Joel! [he bought one each week]). That's also when I had my chocolate box all set up, just like this: and I was all ready for when the orchestra let out of practice, because they always come in and buy food in the vending machine room, and they all passed me by. Can you believe it -- they all bought ice cream. It was very sad. They truly missed out. Not one orchestra person bought a chocolate, and I left with a chocolate box almost as full as it was when I came.
So, the money was due on Friday, and something had to be done. [Insert memory from my wonder years as a little bouncy red-head (not that I'm not still a bouncy red-head, but, I'm a lot taller now, thank you very much)]: my brother would always take me (he had chocolates to sell, too) to stand outside the doors of Jewel, and when people come out, you ask them if they would like to buy a chocolate bar. Now, there is a certain way to do this, and, if you have any questions, come ask me because, I've pretty much got it down. :) I stand in front of the door that they are coming out of, and the door opens, to reveal their grand entrance to the outside world and I graciously put forth this proposition to them: [insert very, very large smile] "Would you like to buy a chocolate bar?" [insert another large smile].
This year it was me and Jinny selling, and she got on my case about "judging" people by how they looked. The thing is, you can often tell when someone won't buy a chocolate bar. And some people you know might buy it. I love people who buy chocolate bars. I think they should have a day: "Extremely Nice People who Buy Chocolate from Fundraising Kids Day"
You know what's not very nice, though? When you get a whole line of people that all say no. The other not nice thing is when people don't pay any attention to you at all. You just spoke directly to them, and they just walk by, without saying no. When someone responds with a "no, thank you," I really don't mind that they didn't buy a chocolate bar. Or when they say no with a smile. But what's discouraging is when people just kind of shake their head no and walk on, or when they hurriedly walk past with no recognition of your existing in the universe at all, let alone having just spoken directly to them.
The other thing was that people would recognize the name of the chocolate (World's Finest). Now, we students who are selling the chocolate are firmly of the opinion that it is not the World's Finest. Here' s a secret: this year, all the caramel bars have the paper sticking to the candybar. I guess the caramel made it stick or something, but you can't just unwrap the bar. I had to scrape the paper off (losing some chocolate in the process). Anyway.
Lots of people ask what you're selling it for (and they all ask the same questions; it's really weird. maybe there's some secret class in college on interviewing candy-sellers that we poor high schoolers haven't been told about yet):
Me: "Our School."
Person: "Which is?"
Me: "It's called Eagles' Wings Urban Academy. It's a small private Christian school on the northside."
Person (with quizzical look, for our school is quite small and they haven't heard of it): "Where is that?"
Me: "Around Peterson and Western."
Person: "Oooh."
The other common conversation of candy-selling is about how much it is and which flavor they want. It's weird. You say the same things over and over for the whole time you are selling chocolate.
And then, sometimes, the people are really nice and get into a real conversation with you. Like, one guy told me about the schools his daughter went to (she's in college now) which led to him telling me about how she spoke 3 languages, which led to him telling me about how he and his wife made sure she went to Polish school for 13 years so that she would learn Polish, which led to him telling me about how his parents did not want him to learn Polish, but his grandma taught him, which led him to tell me how it's a good thing that his grandma taught him or else he wouldn't have been able to talk to his wife when he first met her, when his navy ship docked (though he didn't tell me where it docked. At first, I thought Poland, but then I realized that that's kind of impossible, since it's landlocked in Europe. Well, that's pretty much the only part of the story I don't know), which led to him showing me pictures of his wife and daughter.
That was about the only conversation like that, but I did have a nice short one with a man from Ireland. His accent was cool.
Anyway, wanting people to buy my chocolate doesn't mean that I will buy other people's chocolate. Funny, isn't it? But let me tell you -- kids really want you to buy their chocolate. Well, at least, Jinny and I do.

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