My neighborhood has had a deluge of teens selling magazine subscriptions. I get magazines in the mail without ever ordering them. I get letters offering to use my unspent airline miles for magazines. If I wanted to read magazines, I would not need to buy them.
With my aging eyes, the computer monitor is easier to read than a magazine printed on glossy paper.
Yesterday’s teen was different. I saw the clipboard and said, “I’m not going to buy any magazines.”
He said, “I’m not selling magazines.”
So, I said, “I’m not in the market for anything.”
Then he said, “Don’t you want me to go to college?”
I said, “I very much want you to go to college if that is what you want. What does college have to do with door-to-door selling?”
He said, “If I sell 100 subscriptions, I have a chance at a scholarship to Penn State.”
I started feeling sorry for him. He reminded me of the time my blue bird leader sat our troop down at a table in front of the grocery store with a stack of vacuum packed cans of peanuts to sell. I hadn’t sat there 10 minutes when a woman came out of the store and said, “The peanuts are cheaper inside.” I felt embarrassed. Blue Birds were supposed to be an upstanding youth organization and here I was overcharging people for groceries.
This magazine selling gig for a chance at a scholarship – not even for a cut of the take – seemed wrong.
I told the young man, “That doesn’t sound legitimate.”
He gave me a terrified look and ran.