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Life is like a box of chocolates, and if I don’t sell these things, I’m gonna be out $50. Yup, it’s the time of year that most parents dread: Candy Sale. Some of ya’ll remember those boxes of World’s Finest chocolates they’d pimp us out to sell as kids?  We’d be enticed by these glossy catalogues filled with prizes like trips to Disney World and brand new bikes! The only catch is you had to sell enough candy to feed a small country to win anything like that. Those of us who sold the $30 or $40 bucks worth (which was a lot in the ‘80s) were lucky if we got a book of tattoos or an eraser that smelled like bubble gum. But we worked hard for our spoils.  Back then I had to hit the street going door-to-door like a Jehovah’s Witness with my order sheet and a catalogue. I was the anti-trick or treater/ census taker. My neighbors would commit to a box of overpriced chocolate covered almonds, hand over their money and, in a few weeks, the candy would come in and I’d distribute my inventory. When I’d pestered everyone on my block, my dad would take the list to work and hit up his co-workers.

Nowadays the schools have the kids selling on consignment like it’s an episode of The Wire. They send home a box of mixed variety chocolates: almond, crispy, caramel, chocolate covered raisins and gummy bears (for those people who don’t like chocolate or want to pretend they’re dieting). You’re given a deadline to come through with the cash or the goods…actually, just the cash. Anything that doesn’t get sold I’ve got to come out of pocket for. So, in effect, it’s actually worse than drug dealing.

However, it’s not like there aren’t incentives to sell. If I get through this box of 50 I am encouraged to come back and sell another box. Another $50 worth of cavity creeps gets my child a N.U.T card (pause!), which means No Uniform Today. So for me to have the headache of having to pick out an outfit one morning, I gotta move some more product for the man. Greeaaat.

By now you’re wondering, “why don’t you send your son out to sell it like you did?” Cuz this ain’t 1981 and the game has changed. For years every hustler between the ages of 7 and 17 has been running the “by some candy for my basketball team” hustle to the point where people give less than a damn. Why are you outside of my bank with a box of candy telling me you need uniforms for your basketball team? Shouldn’t you be home working on your jump shot? Or, better yet, your PSAT scores?  This has forced parents to hit up their offices, book clubs and lodges to convince folks to part with a $1 for a good cause.

So on behalf of all parents who will be hitting you up in the coming weeks, be generous. Don’t think of it as a bailout; think of it as a rescue.

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