(NB: This is expanded from a comment I left at Fussy.org)
Look at this kid? Does she look to you like a young’n whose métier is selling crap, or does she look like a kid who’d slink off to one or another of several semi-secret hideaways and draw paper dolls or read Little House Books?
When I was a little girl, around about 10 (that’s 5th grade, right?) we had to sell stupid baubles and shit from some outfit called Tom Watt Showcase. We were given this horrible cardboard “briefcase” filled with gaudy christmas ornaments, shoddy toys, chintzy school supplies, and hideous, goose-bedecked household tat.
I was not one of nature’s salesgirls. I was already developing a rather wry sense of humor and had a pretty good bullshit detector for a kid. I knew the crap I was lugging from house to house was crap. I didn’t want to sell crap. I wanted to hang out in the warm corner by the chimney reading down my latest library haul.
Because my parents aren’t of the “joiner” persuasion, either, I hadn’t already been tempered in the fires of Girlscout cookie sales, Campfire candy sales, or 4H fruit sales. My parents also didn’t have the sorts of jobs where they could just take the sales flyer to work, post it in the breakroom, and rake it in. Nor did such tactics meet with their approval. If the school said I had to sell crap on behalf of the school, then by god I was the one to be selling the crap.
So, my Dad hauled me around to the houses of his various friends, and I grudgingly delivered my spiel, which was along the lines of, “I’ve got to sell this junk for school. It’s not very good, so I understand if you don’t want any of it, but I have to show it to you anyway.”
I’d proceed to unpack the lot of crap, warning people away from the egregiously shoddy items. I managed to sell maybe five boxes of christmas baubles and a set of colored pencils with little rainbows printed on them.
It was awful.