I have been approached numerous times over the years by candy-selling-children. Oh, the reasons vary -- for a school play, a football team, to raise funds for after school activities to keep kids off the streets. I admire these kids spending their afternoons and evenings going from house to house, coffee shop to coffee shop, being, for the most part, rejected along the way. My philosophy is that I can't give money to everyone that needs it ... but, if I have it on me, I'll help them out. That's just me. I'm kind of a sucker sometimes.

The other day a couple of us were having coffee at a little cafe near work, sitting outside and smoking. A young kid walks up to us, sets his big box of candy on the ground and stares at us. He then wrinkles up his nose, and starts waving his hand in front of his face. "You all are going to die." he tells us. "Why are you smoking those cigarettes?" he asked. "They are going to kill you, you know."

Nice sales pitch.

He then picks up one of the packs of cigarettes off of the table and reads the Surgeon General's warning out loud. "Smoking by pregnant women may result in ..." He then looks up at us -- two female, one male -- and says, "I can see that you are all pregnant. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. How can you be killing your babies like that." (Please note that none of us, not even the male, is pregnant.) "How much did you just spend on that coffee?"
He apparently knew that we just spent about 400% more than we should have for our coffee.

Ahh, the criticisms went on and on, and became increasingly funnier. In the end, I just asked him how much his candy was, bought it, and went back to work.

This kid was great. A nine-year-old salesman who's tactic was far more creative and innovative and effective than most of our sales team combined.

So, if anyone is looking for a youthful, energetic entrepreneur, I know where to find one.


I love that story up there.

I was out cutting my grass several years ago, before I actually had any kids, and this Boy Scout comes up to me. He's about 10, I guess. He just stands there, smiling, until I cut the mower off. I'm sweating like Patrick Ewing at the foul line, but this kid just stands there, with that uniform with SO MANY badges on it, smiling like something out of a David Lynch dream scene.

I wipe the sweat off my brow and say, "Well, what's up kid?"

He immediately pulls out (from behind his back?) a laminated card, about the size of a piece of notebook paper held sideways, and there's this spiel printed on the card.

I look at him. He looks at me. He's still smiling his ass off. I look at the card. I look back at him. Then he begins.

This kid gave me the spiel, and it was several paragraphs long, perfectly. Just as it was written on the card. Smiling all the time.

I bought every candy bar he had. I also told him that when he turned 19, I had a great job opportunity for him. I went into the house and got him one of my business cards.

Yeah, it cost me over $100 and I never heard from him again. But I'll bet you that one of you is working for this kid right now.

God, I love America.

So ... it's about 13 years ago, on a lazy Sunday afternoon. We're in a co-op housing project at the University of Waterloo. I live with 4 roommates on the top floor, the third. My roommate Ross and I are home, just hanging out, playing cards or blowing ectoplasm bubbles or whatever, when there's a knock at the door. Ross, all 6'3" of him, gets up and ambles to the door. There stands this really young kid, tiny and blond and scared-looking. He's got one of those laminated cards like dannye mentions above ... but he gets one look at Ross towering over him and he loses all memory of his pitch. He looks way, way up at Ross, and in this thin, reedy voice he stammers :

"Ch-Ch-Chocolate bar for b-brain disease?"

And so Ross looks down at him, and says very seriously:

"But I don't want brain disease!"

That's too much. The kid dissolves into a Niagara Falls of tears. Somehow we manage to hold ourselves together long enough to console the kid. We buy several bars from him, and send him back downstairs to his hidden adult controller in the lobby.

I don't think this kid ended up in sales.

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