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Recruitment during the PUP

Objet Feb 8th 2007

One Flyer pulled off a pole in Venice, California

I enjoy taking a walk in the morning to get coffee. It is a recent ritual that gives me much pleasure during the time once known as "the Previously Unconscious Period."  Having recently moved to a neighborhood where there is actually commerce within walking distance, after some exploration and trial and error, I settled upon a local coffee shop for daily allegiance.

The best part about walking to get coffee in the morning is simply the walk. I enjoy the repetition of my short stroll of seven blocks - saying good morning to the neighborhood children sulking to school with attached ipods,  the resolute often Mexican women pushing babies, not necessarily their own, in fancy strollers, and the crack dealers that reply, "Morning baby," when I utter my standard "Good Morning!" to anyone crossing my path. I don't discriminate against those that look insane, frightening or smell. Everyone deserves a good morning on my walk.

This morning, completely immersed in my morning tradition of making eye contact with the haunting blue eyed mutt that lives in a dilipidated fenced garden of weeds and enjoys resting on worn concrete porch steps, I almost walked into a pole.

On it were multi-colored copies of the above flyer at adult height soliciting child labor. 

I don't know if it was the large bold KIDS across the top or rather the crude fist clutching a dollar symbol statue, but the whole flyer was so obscene I tore a copy off to show my friend at the coffee shop. I wondered if sales of mediocre chocolate bars had stooped so low that flyering electrical poles two feet above most children's perspective, was needed. I wondered if it was indeed chocolate bars and other products one doesn't need, but often buys out of guilt exiting supermarkets, that was being dangled as "part-time" work.


My part-time work experience began when I was nine and coveted a stuffed Pegasus from the Girl Scouts. I stalked my mother's co-workers for orders. When I only received 50 during the after school solicitation at her organization, I began following my mother to work on Saturdays to hit up the members. On Saturdays, she ran film screenings for retired film directors with disposable incomes and hefty Hollywood pensions. As she checked in the great directors of another era, I pounced on them with my sample box of cookies and my pitch. After many weeks of work, I pre-ordered/sold 214 boxes of mostly Thin Mints, the chocolate mint cookie that tastes quite good frozen and was incredibly popular amongst the director set.

Problem was that immediately before my shipment, and immediately after the final cancellation date,  boxes of tainted and tampered cookies appeared in the Midwest. The California shipments were deemed safe, but half my orders were cancelled. My family was stuck with almost a 100 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. I received my Pegasus stuffed animal that effectively cost my parents $200, but we were left with a 100 boxes of various cookies. These included the nasty flavors - peanut butter and marshmallow combinations. The glass half full resolution that year was: an invitation to my house after school became extremely coveted. My parents marvelled at all my new friends.  Every one of them would even get a present to take home: a box of cookies. The glass half empty argument was: the whole experience soured everyone on the civil duty of Girl Scouts membership and part-time sales work . My livid and cookie weary mother declared, "We're finished with the cookie racket," and from then on, my childhood was free from sales.

I remembered this as I stared entranced by the flyer. I suddenly noticed around me the flyer on every pole in the neighborhood. I briefly considered tearing off all of them, but then realized this wasn't exactly public behavior I wanted anyone in the neighborhood to witness, nor truly useful in addressing the issue.

A few hours has now passed and as the day wears on, I think my favorite part of the flyer is the language below stating, "trips, prizes & much more (forced child labor perhaps? sales goals?)." What exactly do they mean by much more?

In any event, they do promise the fact is: "transportation & adult supervision provided" so perhaps it's worth a call.

But ask my readers, what do you think they're selling?

Ruminate por favor.









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