Dear Boy Scouts of America:
I am writing to you today in hopes that you heed some well meaning advice on a topic that I covered previously here at Mothers of Brothers in 2008. Admittedly my post back then was not very hard hitting. But since two years have passed without any changes, I believe the time for tongue in cheek is over. I’ll be blunt:
Your popcorn fundraiser sucks.
Before I explain what is obvious to any nine year old, let me be clear that this is not an indictment on our local Boy Scout leadership. The Moms and Dads that run our local pack are to be commended for all of their hard work and dedication to our sons. They are only doing the job they are directed to do — and a very good one at that. Truth be told, I would be very surprised if they don’t agree with what I am about to say. So let’s get on with it.
As you know, every Fall, the Scouts are asked to participate in a popcorn selling fundraiser. In addition to selling to family and friends, each scout signs up to sell outside a local establishment for a two hour time slot. So far, so good. Having purchased the popcorn each year on behalf of my son, I will tell you that the product is of good quality. I would go so far as to call it “yummy”, especially the chocolate covered variety. Here is the problem:
You need to take out a home equity loan to buy a bag of this stuff.
The cheapest option the kids have to sell is a $9 bag of carmel-covered popcorn. And the prices go up from there. The chocolate covered popcorn? $16!!! I can’t begin to tell you how painful it is to watch the exchange that goes on between the boys and their prospective customers:Cute Scout: Would you like to buy some popcorn? Nice Man: Sure! How much is it? Cute Scout: You can get this bag (hold up tiny bag) for $9. This one is $16!
At this point, the nice man winces; the cute scout winces; the parents standing by wince. Sometime we apologize for even being there. Sometimes the customer gives a dollar to donate but more often just moves on as quickly as possible. It doesn’t help that we are often selling this popcorn outside of Trader Joe’s or Acme where they can buy the same quality product inside for a quarter of the price. By the end of the two hour stint, the boys are defeated, the parents are mortified, and the customers appear to be complying with some sort of restraining order in that they are staying 100 yards away from our sale at all costs
Look, we certainly don’t mind fund raising. It’s part of the equation. But you have to give these boys a fighting chance. Girl Scout cookies are within range of store bought cookies. Why is the Boy Scout popcorn priced as if each kernel was hand dipped?
On behalf of Boy Scouts everywhere, please lower the prices on your popcorn so it is actually marketable. Or just ask the kids to beg for change . Either way, their success would increase exponentially.
Strung Out on Leftover $16 Chocolate Popcorn