Wanna Buy Some Stuff? Huh? Pu-leeze?

The other evening I was working at my computer when the doorbell rang.

I opened the door and there on the stoop was a tiny elfin child — no bigger than a minute, with long, Palomino-colored hair and immense blue eyes.

She squirmed a bit, then blurted out, “Would you like to buy some chocolate candy?”

No details as to the type of candy, the price, or which organization she was selling for.

I glanced toward the driveway and met the watchful eye of her mother, who was sitting astride a bicycle and waiting for the sales call to be over so they could move on to the next victim er, prospect.

As it turns out, I didn’t want or need any candy — chocolate or not — so I had to turn her down as kindly as possible. My days of purchasing useless stuff ended when My Favorite Domer graduated from high school. And I won’t have to be a sucker  customer again until Domer marries and has little Domers of his own.

W-a-a-y down the road!

Then it struck me — school hasn’t been in session two weeks and already, our little ones are being indoctrinated in the ways of salesmanship.

Armed with order sheets, their tiny heads filled with pictures of exciting things they can “earn” if they sell enough, they’re being turned loose on an unsuspecting public and encouraged to peddle.

Domer had to do it, too. But he was in so many activities that it became embarrassing to accompany him on the rounds of the neighborhood. So we purchased enough for him to get a small prize and, if he had to do without the “awesome light-up doo dad” or whatever, well, I knew he’d survive.

I had to do it, too, and hated it. My sister would go behind me, and the homeowners who told me they were on diets and couldn’t buy cookies or candy, mysteriously bought from her! She always talked a better game than I did.

It worries me to see a tiny tot on my porch trying to sell stuff, even with a parent along. The world isn’t exactly a safe place, and I feel we should protect our kids from harm as much as possible — for as long as possible.

Besides, aren’t we already paying enough to educate our kids without turning them into beggars?

Any thoughts? How does your community handle this?