Saturday Single No. 64

Originally posted March 29, 2008

The knock on the door came last evening, long after we’d settled in. The Texas Gal was working on a large quilt and catching up on a recent Dr. Phil, and I was in the back room watching my NCAA basketball bracket self-destruct. (That’s not entirely true. My Final Four – North Carolina, Kansas, Texas and UCLA – is still intact.)

But as I watched Wisconsin wither and the Texas Gal quilted, the knock came, followed by the doorbell. I figured I knew who it was, and I grabbed my wallet. And yes, it was our Girl Scout cookies: A box of Thanks-A-Lots (cookies with fudge coating on the bottom) and two boxes of my particular weakness, Peanut Butter Patties. The young girl who was officially the sales agent for the transaction shyly held onto our cookies and the order sheet we’d filled out a few weeks ago, and her sister stood by just as shyly as their father dug into his pockets for change.

When they’d stopped by the first time – they live on the lower floor of our building, a few units east of us – the young girl had shyly offered the order sheet without saying much. Her shyness made her sales skills minimal, but luckily for her, the product sells itself. We get a lot of young people coming through our building selling this or that product for school programs, church programs and other organizations. Unfortunately, most of them don’t come by with any predictability, so when they do arrive, we generally don’t need any magazines, and as for candles, candy and chocolate, well, we usually pass.

But Girl Scout cookies, now, how can we not buy? It would almost be un-American or something. So every year, we buy half of what we plan to purchase from one of the moms at the Texas Gal’s office – there’s always at least one – and half from the first young saleslady from our building who shows up at our door, accompanied always, these days, by a parent.

It wasn’t that way all those years ago when my schoolmates and I made our ways through our neighborhoods on similar sales drives. Every year from the time I was twelve, I suppose, there were drives or product sales to support the band, the choir, the Scouts or something. At least twice a year, it seems, I’d make my way up and down Kilian Boulevard and nearby Fifth Avenue, offering candy, chocolate or magazines. I was not a great sales agent, but there were some neighbors who always bought.

But when we went out selling, all of us in the band or the choir or the Scout troop, we went out alone, walking up and down the street with our cartons of candy or our envelopes. No parents shadowed us. It’s sad that they have to do so these days, but it’s part of life in 2008, I guess.

So I said goodbye to the salesgirl, her sister and her father and came back into the living room with our three boxes of cookies. I thought about all the times I went door-to-door selling stuff in my youth. And then I took two cookies and went back to the game. I thought about this morning’s post as I watched, and the cookies put me in mind of the wonderfully named Sixties group, the Peanut Butter Conspiracy. So I scanned the group’s songs as I watched basketball, and I found one I liked. The lyrical content doesn’t quit fit, but it’s a nice-sounding song, so “The Market Place” is this week’s Saturday Single.

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy – “The Market Place” [1968]

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