T4W - HomeTop - Dec
Page 1 of 6 1 2 3 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 52
  1. #1
    Senior Member Enlightened
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    115
    Blog Entries
    6

    Question Boy Scout Popcorn Sales? Can my info be right? Opinions please...

    Okay, this is my first year as a "Cub Scout Mama" and I am trying to be nice and fit in. The folks who run our Pack are very nice, kindly grandparents; I couldn't ask for better folks in charge. The leader lady is handicapped, and has frequent surgeries, but doesn't let that stop her from taking the kids on hikes, to water fights, etc. She is a wonderful woman.

    However, we are starting the scouts' annual fundraiser, Popcorn Sales. When the leader lady asked me if I'd help the kids "sell popcorn", I guess my mind was in a time warp. I was picturing them buying the needed materials (unpopped corn, salt, cheese powder, ziploc baggies), making the stuff and packing it themselves, and selling it door to door for a dollar or two a bag. That's what I thought of, because I'm a crafter; I make and sell things all the time for my jewelry business. The idea excited me, because it would teach them how to make money by making something from scratch; a valuable lesson for young boys. I said it was a wonderful idea and I couldn't wait to be involved.

    Alas, times have changed. The "popcorn sales" were not a homey lesson in responsibility at all. Instead, I sort of think the boys are being made into... uh... corporate stooges. The word "exploitation" comes to mind.

    First of all, the boys don't make the popcorn; it comes from a corporate distributor called Trails End. Okay, yes, I was a Girl Scout and I knew they didn't make their cookies, so my surprise there was only momentary. But... well, I attended a planning meeting and took notes, and these are the facts told to me, at least by the head Pack leaders from my area.

    1. The pre-popped popcorn comes in several flavors (there were samples on the table, and lemme tell you, it was free and I was starving at that meeting, and I didn't take more than one bite; it was rubbery, stale and tasted like chemicals). It is sold in single bags SMALLER than a single bag of microwave popcorn that you make at home for 10 cents. They have the brass cojones to charge $20 AND UP for this. The cheapest bag is $20; there are many cheese and chocolate flavor options that range up to $80 for a "deluxe box" of three different bags together (or it might be 4 bags for $80, but we're still talking single bags SMALLER than a single bag of home microwaved popcorn).

    2. There was much discussion at this meeting about people being "too cheap" to pay $20 for a bag of popcorn. Various strategies against this thriftiness were presented. One of the men in charge said: "Just tell people that they're NOT buying a $20 bag of popcorn. They are making a $20 DONATION to Boy Scouts, and we GIVE them the popcorn to say thank you."

    3. I asked how much of the money goes to the Scouts, and they said it was 30 percent. I couldn't believe it so I wrote it down: 30 cents on the dollar; that means that $20 bag of popcorn earns SIX dollars for the Scouts, who run around all month selling their hearts out in their irresistible little uniforms. And the corporate conglomerate gets FOURTEEN dollars.

    (At this point at the planning meeting, my eyeballs were turning red trying to hold my mouth shut; what they want to teach my son isn't how to be a resourceful, worthy earner of money from his own hard work; what they want to teach him is how to get exploited and turned into a frogging corporate stooge! So what they said next almost made me laugh out loud.)

    4. Someone asked the man in charge of the meeting about how the orders would be taken. Having been a Girl Scout, I assumed it would be the same way they do their cookie orders: First, go around door to door and write down people's orders and take their money in little envelopes. Next, order the needed cookies and give them to the customers. But that's NOT how it's done at Trails End, apparently. They were very clear that there will be NO "Take Orders" as they call the Girl Scout method. No, they use the "Show and Sell" system which works this way: The parents PRE ORDER a whole load of stuff before selling anything to anyone, by trying to estimate how much the son will sell. Then the boy takes it around and sells it: "Here, buy this." I think they insist on that method because the company knows damn well it has no value. At least Girl Scout cookies are good, and cheap! Anyway, if the kid doesn't sell all the (truly awful tasting, outrageously overpriced) pre-ordered popcorn, his parents have until a certain date to return it (otherwise "you are responsible for it as parents"... which means we pay for it!!).

    Trails End sure makes out well on the deal, hey? 70% of the absolutely insulting profit, plus a free work force of thousands of irresistible little boys. It makes me want to barf.

    I cannot morally support this; I felt dirty attending the meeting planning it. Here's my question: Is anyone else a bit off-put by this popcorn business? Is it done everywhere there are Scouts, or only in my area? What are your opinions? And how on earth do I maintain my friendship with my nice leader lady, who is of no fault in this? How do I say, "We can't do this" without hurting her feelings?

    Opinions, all?

  2. BEH Dec
  3. #2
    Senior Member Enlightened Heidi M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    118

    Default

    I used to take flack for this all the time, but we don't do popcorn either. I don't have anyone in scouts anymore but even when we did, popcorn sales were not part of our deal. It is a ridiculous way to fund scout camp especially considering the salary the scout executives make, at least in my state. I would rather make a cash donation to a particular scout (and have) to help them get to camp if that's what they want to do. I want 100% of my donation to benefit the kid, not some corporation selling crappy popcorn. It *is way over-priced and it isn't all that good.

  4. #3

    Default

    That is really horrible and I thought the Girl Scouts was bad. It may be that you can't be part of the organization if you don't participate in the sale. This is the GS rule. There is a smaller fall sale and the cookies and you have to do one. The prizes for the girls are nice.

    How do the the other parents feel? You could all order one thing and then make a donation to your own troop. That is sort of what the school my kids used to attend did. The gave up on the stupid sale and just asked the parents to donate what they could. Parents were so grateful the school ended up making more money.
    Last edited by Accidental Homeschooler; 09-22-2013 at 12:43 AM.
    Julie,
    home schooling two dds 17(still waters) and 10(force of nature)

  5. #4
    Senior Member Enlightened
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    115
    Blog Entries
    6

    Default

    Yes, they kept saying "tell the people the money's for camp" but how much can camp cost? Is it at Club Med? Can't I just give him the money he needs when he needs it, instead of pimping him out?

    I told my husband I wanted Aed and I to pop our own damn corn and sell it in ziploc bags for a dollar. I bet we'd make loads of money but he says that's a bit much lol!

  6. #5
    Senior Member Enlightened
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    180

    Default

    In GS, we can choose not to sell cookies, but cannot attend the event that the proceeds of the sales pays for unless a parent pays out-of-pocket

  7. #6

    Default

    I have nothing concrete to add but my sympathy. And a story - one day I was in the drive through at a fast food place. A woman with 3 little boys dressed in Boy Scout uniforms came up to my car window while I was waiting in line to place my order. They were so cute! But I was trapped and they were selling popcorn, and I felt I had to buy a bag. I gave it away to a relative, so I don't know if it was any good. Anyway, I said to the mom, "What's your address? Because in the spring when my daughter is selling girl scout cookies, I'm coming to YOUR house!!" We got a good laugh. I guess she didn't realize I wasn't kidding.

    I just started as a Daisy leader with my DD's troop, and I'm one of three leaders. I was under the impression that the cookie sale (all sales) are optional, but I could be wrong. I'll have to check that out. As a troop we declined to participate in the fall sale - the math just did not work. I'd much prefer to give the troop $100 than go to the amount of trouble it would take to make that in the sale (small percentage went to the troop, just like you describe.) Ugh.

    Seems to me if the GS (and BS) want to teach business skills, they would encourage them to start their own businesses - like your popcorn idea.
    Working mom homeschooling DD (9) who is working on a 4th-6th grade level and keeps me hopping!

  8. #7

    Default

    Geez, that sounds horrible. Even if you convince someone that the 20 bucks is a donation, I wonder how many people would be willing to pay it if they knew that so little of it actually goes to the scouts.

    Maybe you could write down your observations, particularly the money issue, and present it to the rest so they can see what a big rip-off it really is. Tell them that for every $1000, only $300 is retained by the scouts. If pre-orders cannot all be sold, who bears the loss?

    I might also bring in some unmarked samples of popcorn--some homemade, some commercially available, like Smartfood (yum), and have them do a taste test comparison. Then tell them how much it cost, retail. I mean, if the popcorn is just a "thank you" for a $20 donation, why not buy a 3 dollar bag of Smartfood to give away, then the scouts would make a profit of $17!

    Is there a local newspaper that would be interested in doing a story about this? It comes pretty close to sounding like a scam to me--I bet the public would be interested to know where their "donation" is really going.
    Kara

    Mom to one, 18 year old son.

  9. #8

    Default

    This isn't making me think any better of the BSA.

    Sadly, in this litigious and fearful climate, they probably wouldn't let you pop and sell the popcorn yourselves.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?
    http://simplify4you.com/

  10. #9
    Senior Member Arrived Avalon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    AB
    Posts
    1,307

    Default

    We've been involved in Scouts Canada for years now, and I never participate in the popcorn sales. Personally, it just comes down to the fact that I can't ask my friends and family to buy a product that I wouldn't buy myself. I actually never inquired how much the Scouts make from the popcorn, I just dislike the product. They also do a huge bottle drive twice a year, and we make a big effort to work hard on that, so I have no guilt about opting out of popcorn sales.

    Here, though, we do "take orders" for the popcorn, whereas the Girl Guides have switched things around so that each parent buys one or more cases of cookies and commits to selling that many cookies. Each troupe orders the number of cases that their parents feel they can probably sell.

  11. #10

    Default

    30 to the organization selling is pretty standard. And I agree, a total rip off. After finding this out with stuff my kinder kid was supposed to sell for school, I ended up that I no longer participate in these things. I donate a straight amount - if the item is $20, I give them $20. And get nothing but thanks in reserve.

    My kids go to an ALE in WA. Every year they do fund raisers to get money for things. Last year they bought a really nice microscope that parents can be loaned a week at a time. This year they are looking at getting a copy machine for parents to use when they have things like History Pockets that need to be copied.

    So last year they sold butter braids. With lots of pushing to get kids to go to neighbors and such to sell these gooey, calorie ladden items. These things cost $12 each of which $4 goes back to the school. I bought one for each of my kids, an equivalent of each selling 4. But they did not get a prize or even counted for the prizes as they didn't actually sell any. All our family lives back east. Our neighbors are all employed by the same firm that is government related and in constant threat of shut down (even though it is nuclear waste clean up...) or, they have had things like gastric by-pass or are gluten sensitive. Heck, it seems like one out of 4 kids at the school can't eat wheat...yet this is what they are selling.

    Me, I would rather have a once a month bake sale with parents donating home made items and giving their kids a couple of dollars, than to do this corporate stuff. Or, just go an ask people if they will donate...especially right before tax time. But, no one at the old school would listen to me, and no one here will either.

    Our 4-H club, they do a few yard sales and bake sales a year to raise money to help kids with the costs of fair. The kids DO learn more about making money and are really proud of the effort that they put into the cookies that they made. 100% goes back to them...and they love it.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Infographics
About us

SecularHomeschool.com was created to provide information, resources, and a place to share and connect with secular homeschoolers across the world. Secularhomeschool.com aims to be your one-stop shop for all things homeschool! We will be highlighting information about wonderful secular homeschool resources, and keeping you up to date with what is going on in the world of secular homeschooling. But that is only the beginning. SHS is your playground. A place to share the things that are important to you. A place to create and join groups that share your interests. A place to give and get advice. There are no limits to what you can do at Secular Homeschool, so join today and help build the community you have always wanted.

Join us
Boy Scout Popcorn Sales? Can my info be right? Opinions please...