For years and years, I held the opinion that Girl Scouts was just a cookie company that makes millions off of free child labor. Like most people in their twenties, I was a cynical young adult and you couldn't convince me otherwise. That all changed as I rolled into my thirties.

We probably have this in common but at some point, one of your coworkers brings their kids' fundraising something-or-other into the office to do what they can to help their kids. Sometimes it's those crappy dollar chocolate bars, Blue & Gold sausage and bacon, on one occasion it was boxed pancake mix, and of course the old America Girl Scout cookies. Buying from your friends is different than buying from some rando outside of Walmart... but it's the gateway that opens that world of buying from random people outside of Walmart.

I had to swing by Sam's Club this weekend to grab some household essentials, just an item or two on my way home that way I didn't have to get out again later. When I walked out, I saw a little table adorned with Girl Scout cookie boxes. I've been an avid online/app shopper since the pandemic started so I haven't run across such a display in like two years. I thought "Yeah, I'll grab a box or two for the weekend" and hopped in line.

It was just a single Girl Scout and her mother set up and doing the cookie business at that moment, so waiting patiently in line was totally acceptable, but it gave me a chance to really see what was happening at that cookie table.

The Girl Scout was uninterested in what was going on. Her poor mother was doing all the work... jotting down sales, pulling boxes, accepting cash, issuing change, etc... That poor stressed-out mom was doing everything that little scout with the attitude was supposed to be doing.

I started to panic in my own head. How could I buy these cookies from the mother of a scout that had zero interest in her own self-interest?

I started to think maybe Girl Scouts really is just the cookie conglomerate the internet Lampoon's for (possibly) being... How a scout unwilling to put in the work might not deserve to reap the benefits of others efforts...  The people waiting behind me were even having a conversation about it out loud. All sorts of judgemental stuff was flying, even in my own mind until I realized something... Kids will be kids.

While I absolutely hated purchasing my cookies from this uninterested scouts cookie-hustling mom, my nephews get the same way when they hit the metaphorical wall while doing dirt bike maintenance. Even at ten and fifteen, they both get a little snippy when they need to take a break and have a change of activity for a while. Of course that means I (the adult) have to pick up all of their slack so I can give them a solid weekend of riding, and being the world's greatest fun uncle I'm happy to do that... so odds are I just hopped in line to buy cookies at the worst possible moment for those two.

Hindsight being whatever we convince ourselves it is, I feel pretty good about buying cookies from that mom. If anything, she was leading by example showing her kid what work ethic really is. How to endure when we really don't want to. While I initially thought it was a move that did more harm than good, you and I both know that kids watch and pay attention even when they act like they aren't. Maybe one day that little scout will tell her own kids about how her mother just kept working even though they both had better things to do that day, and that makes the whole experience one that is worthwhile.

Kudos to that obviously tired and just about fed-up-with-her-girl-scout mom. I hope she'll realize one day how appreciated she is/was.

How To Be A More Likable Person

Whether the elected solitude of an ongoing pandemic has you feeling a little lonely and longing for friends, or you were just born naturally shy, it's relatively easy to become the social and likable person you wish to be. You just need some pro-tips. While social skills are usually developed over a few years, here are a few "fake it till you make it" tips to get you started.