November 16, 2006

Canned Goods, Rude Moms and Societal Apathy

The other day, there was a knock on our door. Both Beth and I were rolling around on the floor of the kitchen with Mia so neither of us were in any position to respond quickly. But then there was more knocking and extra-added doorbell ringing. This must be serious we thought. It wasn't. It was merely annoying. Allow me to illustrate.

Upon opening the door, I was greeted by a mid-thirties mom with two kids, a girl around three or four and a boy of seven or eight. The boy was dressed in a half-assed scout uniform.

Mom: Hi. We're collecting the food.
Me: The food? I'm not sure what you're talking about.
Mom: For the Scouts.
Me: I'm still not with you.
Mom: Um. We were out here last week leaving bags for food donations on everyone's door. We're here to collect the food now.
Me: Honestly, I don't remember seeing a bag.
Mom: Well, we left one on your door.
Me: As I said, I don't recall seeing one.
Mom: So, you don't have any food?
Me: That's pretty much what I'm getting at, yes. But we'd be happy to help. When do you need the donations?
Mom: We're collecting it now. And since you won't give us any food, we're just going to have to go to the next house.
Me: Sure. See ya.
Mom: Come on kids. These people aren't willing to help.

And then I shut the door. The combination of what was said and how it was said pissed me off. The more I thought about it, the more pissed off I got. I would have been totally out of line to run after her and tell her exactly what I thought of her in front of her kids but it's not out of line to tell her here.

Dear Prissy Food-Seeking Mom-Bitch,

You pounded on my door like you and your kids were seeking protection from a blood-thirsty pack of post-apocalyptic zombies set on the destruction of the remaining members of the human race. That was the first thing I didn't appreciate. The doe-eyed guilt trip you and your kids laid on me wasn't cool either. What I don't appreciate above all else was the clear implication - in front of your children, no less - that I don't give two shits. I actually give three shits. What can I say, I'm a giver. I just don't give a shit about you. I mean, how self centered are you? How does the thought process in your head go? Me and my kids will hang little plastic bags on every front door in the neighborhood and because everyone is so freaking wonderful and because I'm so freaking important, everyone will wait patiently by their doors waiting to hand me and my kids oodles of canned goods. Because the world is about me. Wake up Dorothy. There's been a tornado.

Your look of disapproval was painfully obvious. That and the Great Wall of China could be clearly seen from space. But let me ask you this - how do you know I didn't give a pint of blood hours before you breezed into the neighborhood? How do you know I don't provide shelter for at-risk teens in my basement? How do you know that I don't donate a bazillion dollars every holiday season to help the homeless? You don't. So don't lay a guilt trip on me when you have no idea what I do. Granted, I don't do any of that crap but still...

Your condescending, all-about-me attitude is the reason I think people are stupid. As a matter of fact, you give people a bad name. Cut the condescending shit and grow the fuck up. You're trying to teach your kids to do good things but if they watch you, they're just going to inherit the same sense of entitlement that breeds nothing but shitty manners and apathy about the world in general. And we could use a hell of a lot less of that in this day and age.

Now, if I ever catch you knocking on my door again, you better be bringing me some canned goods. Some fruit cocktail would be great.

Good day to you!

Posted by Chris at November 16, 2006 07:02 AM

LMAO. You know, I heard about that scout drive when they were supposedly going around with the plastic bags and thought, hmm, how will they know who will actually participate and will they ring every goddamn doorbell to ask for their bags back? There has to be a better way. What a bitchy lady with misplaced self-righteousness. Ick.

Posted by: Nicole at November 16, 2006 07:10 AM

First, that was classic--people are stupid! Ha

Second, any chance that you live in my neighborhood? ;) The scouts around this neck 'o' the woods come around and ask for money donations for their troop--excuse me? Last time I checked scouting was voluntary--and when I was a girl scout a hundred years ago, we sold cookies to pander; so at least a product was exchanged for some green.

Posted by: Nanette at November 16, 2006 07:12 AM

I hate, hate hate when people knock on my door. I have a 20 month old and a dog if the baby is sleeping, the dog barks and wakes him up every time. I think there should be a rule against uninvited people knocking on your door. A no knock lisst like a no call list.

Oh, and I'm the person Beth met at the mall. I'm clearly not crazy!

Posted by: jodi at November 16, 2006 07:24 AM

Do you want to borrow some of the at risk teens I'm keeping in my basement?
Wow, what a bitch!!
I can't believe that whole deal actually went down. It's outrageous.
I've got some canned food in my car that never made it to the firehouse at Thanksgiving. Call her back and let her know she can have it.

Posted by: Adam at November 16, 2006 07:36 AM

You know what I would have done? Gone into my pantry, gotten a can of "food" and lobbed it at her head as she walked away from the house! LOL
Some people are just morons and this lady just proves that!

Posted by: Maribeth at November 16, 2006 07:36 AM

Man, wouldn't you just love to say some of that crap to people's faces? But writing it here for us to share was priceless. Thanks.

Posted by: Heather at November 16, 2006 07:37 AM

self-righteous asshats...nice thing to teach the impressionable young men that were there as well.

Times like that I wish I had a REALLy loud-barking, snarling, foaming dog. (Not that I'd hurt them, but it would make me feel like the craggly old man on Scooby Doo--"Those rotten kids...get 'em Boris!"

Posted by: kristen at November 16, 2006 07:42 AM

Wow, she was totally, like, the most charitable person I've ever heard of. Charitable deep inside, where it really counts. That's really moving. Asshat.

When the Boy Scouts leave food bags here, they leave brown paper bags that blend pleasingly with the leaves we don't notice because we never use the front door. So when they come, it's always a mad scramble to throw some food in another bag (because the bag they left is only so much confetti now). We don't mind the scramble because the people are always polite and patient and not asshats. Also, we feel guilty for never remembering the whole damn thing.

It's funny how we never forget the annual town fish fry (good Lord, those firemen can fry some fish), or the night Santa comes through our neighborhood on the fire truck stopping to talk to each little kid who's outside when he comes by. But we manage to forget the part where *we* give something every time. We need to work on that.

Posted by: Contrary at November 16, 2006 07:45 AM

WOW- way to start off the Holiday Season huh?? I agree with you I am SICK AND TIRED of people giving me the "eye roll" or the "sigh" when I don't donate to the specific cause they happen to be representing (and I use that term lightly b/c frankly I wouldn't want these pissy asshats representing my cause). They have NO IDEA what my situation is or whether or not I spent my Thanksgiving at the local food bank... PISSES ME OFF...
Thanks for bringing it up.

Posted by: Stephanie at November 16, 2006 07:45 AM

I might not have been able to resist following after her and putting her in her place. Really. Some people just need that.

Posted by: Alissa at November 16, 2006 07:46 AM

Tis the Season folks, get ready......

Posted by: Wicked H at November 16, 2006 07:50 AM

And people wonder why I hate 99% of them.

Posted by: Leah at November 16, 2006 07:55 AM

Last month a man knocked on my door with his little girl, roughly 5-6, in tow. He was trying to engage people in religious discussion and having his little girl hold out the religious pamphlets for people to take, fully expecting that no one would turn down a little girl Grrrr.

I did. Nicely. But I did. And I was so ticked at him. And, yes, blogged about it as well -- -- although not nearly as humorously as you have done here.

Great post.

Posted by: ewe_are_here at November 16, 2006 08:02 AM

That was the most awesome letter ever!!

You should print it and put in in her mailbox. OR! Better yet! Put one in EVERYONE'S mailbox with a note on the front that said, "I wasn't sure which house was your, so I distributed this throughout the neighborhood." This way, all of the neighbors know what a jerk she was.

Posted by: Emily at November 16, 2006 08:11 AM

I kind of feel sorry for her kids, because if she lays the guilt trip on that thick with strangers, imagine what they have to deal with. I bet she's one of those moms who says shit like "If you don't pick up your toys I'll tell Santa and he won't come to our house this year." I hate when parents say stuff like that. So mean!

Posted by: Jessie at November 16, 2006 08:30 AM

I personally see no Problem with you actually finding out where the local troop is located and send her this letter.

Posted by: William at November 16, 2006 08:31 AM

Ooh, good idea. Also, now I'm hungry for some fruit cocktail. Stupid rude lady, teaching her kids shitty values.

Posted by: Fraulein N at November 16, 2006 08:33 AM

Where my parents live they're kinda lucky b/c they live out in the sticks and don't get the boy scouts. However they do get the Jehovah Witness people who come around in their van full of kids and they ALWAYS make the kid that's on crutches get out and come to the door. Funny, I think that kid has been on crutches for about 3 years now....Gotta love it. And my advice about Bitchy-can-lady, go find the local Boy Scout Troop and deliver that letter. They should be able to tell you who canvases your area for the food drive.

Posted by: Michelle at November 16, 2006 08:47 AM

This is a pet peeve of mine (and one of the reasons I claim 9 out of 10 people are on this planet solely to get in my way). You summed it up well: how does she know what involvement you have with other charities? It always drives me nuts when people come to the door expecting me to support every cause they have... between my niece and nephew in school and the stuff I am forced to do through work (don't get me started about how many fucking world vision kids our company supports - at this rate the kids will outnumber us within a few years) I give my share. If we all gave to everyone who asked we would, in turn, turn into the ones doing the asking.

OK. THAT was a disgression. Sorry.

Posted by: Jeff at November 16, 2006 08:52 AM

"wake up Dorothy. Theres been a tornado"

In the mall yesterday there was a group of people that appeared to be washing people's hands.
They approached me and quickly screamed "I'm IN A HURRY!" at them and ran away.
EW! They had nail brushes in their hands.
(unrelated maybe, equally alarming? totally)

Posted by: Pamalamadingdong at November 16, 2006 08:54 AM

We have one of those a year but it's not the Scouts.

They leave a flyer and a bright pink bag about a week ahead. If you want to give something, you put it in the bag the morning of collection and leave it on your porch. No pressure and no doorbell ringing ever.

I dont blame you for being pissed. I would have been too. In our neighborhood it would have put many people in the position of feeling bad because they couldn't afford to give even a can of food (not me - I can usually scare up something).

The system you have there is bad for both parties.

My girls never had Scout uniforms; just the sash with their badges. Too expensive and not required.

Posted by: ann adams at November 16, 2006 09:03 AM

I HATE being solicted like that period. Like you have some kind of obligation because they left a bag on your door.

Some asshat came to my door a few weeks ago when I was having one of the worst days ever. Even acknowledged that I looked like I was having a bad day and then still went on to pitch. I did not have time. And SOME OTHER ASSHAT came to my door as I'm getting ready to go work on a client. HE seemed personally miffed that I didn't have time to talk to him.

WTF? You knock uninvited, I don't have to let you in.

Posted by: autumn at November 16, 2006 09:09 AM

Don't you love it when people act self-entitled when "helping" others?

I was a girl scout and I only earned one merit badge... for selling cookies. You only had to sell something like 5 boxes in order to earn one. I would have worked extra hard if I had know that I could get a merit badge for extortion. :p

Posted by: Hope at November 16, 2006 09:23 AM

Like Ann, the scouts in our neighborhood do a food drive but you leave the bag of food on your door-step if you CHOOSE to donate food. No pressure, no guilt, nothing. And, the letter left with the bag in the first place clearly says something along the lines of "If you are in need of help this year, here are some charities that can assist you with blah blah blah..."

It's rather well done I think.

Now that women, the presumptuous hag that knocked on your door... she should be drop kicked right out of town!

Damn people give a good idea a bad connotation. Suddenly no one wants to help because they hate what it is associated with.


Posted by: k at November 16, 2006 09:26 AM

OK, so she definitely was out of line. However, growing up in a family of scouts, I'm incredibly familiar with this canned food drive. The bag, had you seen it, would have said, "Can-Do Food Drive, sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America" or something similar. It would have been clearly labeled, and might also have included an info sheet or pamphlet talking about the drive, etc. It would have been clear what it was for, and not just a random grocery store bag. Just to clear that up.

However, you totally didn't deserve the treatment that you got from her. Especially since the expectation is that people will leave the bag o' food on their porch on the collection date. I don't think I've ever heard of people knocking and asking for collections. And now I'm annoyed because this woman has gone and given a perfectly good food drive a bad name in your neighborhood. GAH.

Posted by: Dawn at November 16, 2006 09:29 AM

The idea behind the "Scouting for Food" program is to leave a bag behind and return on the date inidicated on the bag. If it's there on the porch with food inside, you take it (with the others) to the Food Bank. If it's not, and you see that someone is home, you might politely inquire as to whether or not they received the bag. Who knows? It might have blown away? It could happen. You NEVER, EVER accuse someone of not wanting to help. In fact, you don't say "do you want to give us some food". In her snide attempt to make you look bad, she only made a bad commercial for scouts in general and herself, in specific. Clearly, she is a bitter woman who disliked how she had to spend her evening.

As for Nanette's scouting experience, I can only say that the only thing that is voluntary about scouting is the initial decision to join as a member or to assist as an adult leader...and you still have to pay to volunteer. Can you believe that? Everything costs money. There are dues, but those only cover membership and some very rudimentary advancement tokens like badges, etc. Every campout, every high adventure trip, every week-long stay at summer camp costs money.Scouting is actually quite expensive.

Back in the day, United Way and other umbrella charities used to give money to Boy Scouts, but they give almost none at all anymore. Most cub scout packs or boy scout troops get their money from fundraisers (selling cookie dough, poinsettias, flower bulbs, etc) or private donations. I've never heard of a troop coming by to corner a person at her home and ask for outright donations from perfect strangers. It's wrong and it should be reported.

At the twice-yearly Court of Honor, where scouts receive awards and advancement badges, a representative for Friends of Scouting will usually make a presentation wherein the merits of scouting (which was started many years ago to help inner-city boys who didn't have the advantages of other families). That presentation is only made to those present and no one is under any pressure to give money. The only people present are usually friends or family of the scouts. Not strangers. No one is supposed to come to your door asking for money. Ever.

My sons are fortunate enough to belong to a scout troop that is currently run by two Democrats who see the bigger picture of scouting as one which provides non-traditional opportunities (rock climbing, canoeing, orienteering) for boys. Scouting isn't, thank goodness, a mainline Christian organization though many would like to present it as such. There are Hindu, Jewish, Eastern Orthodox, Islamic, Buddhist, Quaker, Zoroastrian and Meher Baba scouts as well as those from the Baha'i faith. Like everything else in this country (public schools, organized sports, choir...even church) nothing seems to be funded by anything else and everyone is selling something. It's a hallmark of just how badly in the hole our country is when kids come to your door as personal shills for their public school to sell magazines or scented candles so that they can get new tables for the cafeteria. I'm really not kidding.

Now it seems that your kids can't belong to any organization that they don't have to pay dues, have parents on as full-time volunteers and STILL beat the streets selling something to make more money. It makes me sick. As far as I know, Girl Scouts still sell cookies, but Boy Scouts sell stuff, too. No one is supposed to ask for cash.

And Scouting for Food? Well, it's supposed to be an endeavor to fill up the local food pantries and soup kitchens and Thanksgiving and Christmas. And it should be done with a good attitude and with mindfulness for those who have little and with thanks for one's own good fortune in life. This bitch is clearly in need of an attitude adjustment. It pity the kids of whom she is in charge. Sorry to hijack your comments.

Posted by: wordgirl at November 16, 2006 10:05 AM

Fruit cocktail with extra cherries, winchy woman!

Posted by: Steff at November 16, 2006 10:09 AM

And people wonder why I'm so angry.

Posted by: statia at November 16, 2006 10:10 AM

Get her Chris!

Ironically I just hung up with an angry woman who was upset I wasn't donating this year to the police charity fund. Worry if I suddenly stop posting. You know they'll have gotten me!

Posted by: Kelly at November 16, 2006 10:37 AM

I know it isn't Monday, but here goes anyway:

As the clouds parted,
The Angels screamed out loud,

Nail completely clobbered on the head! People like that make me hate people.

Posted by: matt at November 16, 2006 11:07 AM

It's people like that woman that cause me to not answer the door when there is a knock or a ring of the doorbell.

Zombies be damned.

Posted by: Allan at November 16, 2006 11:25 AM

I am SO with you on this's pretty typical in today's society, which is a sad commentary. The right thing for her to do would have been to explain why they were there in the first place up front...but NOOOOO! She just has to be a bitch on wheels, right from the get-go. Do these people actually think they can catch more flies with vinegar rather than honey, or that the kids didn't notice her attitude and will look to her as an example? PUH-LEASE.

Posted by: Michelle at November 16, 2006 11:30 AM

oy. just oy. I'm afraid if I start on a rant - I won't be able to stop myself!

Posted by: Sue at November 16, 2006 11:58 AM

What a bitch! She should be bringing you fruit cocktail or, better yet, mandarin oranges. Oh, wait, that would be for me. ;-)

If she came to my door, I'd have to tell her she's getting nothing because my kid is doing food donations at school this week. Between church and school, I'm running out of canned goods!

Posted by: Kelley at November 16, 2006 12:24 PM

I usually leave a few cans of food on the front porch for such emergencies. Right next to the flaming bag of poop.

Posted by: whit at November 16, 2006 12:37 PM

They did that in my nieghborhood too. John was heading out to walk the dog and was going to use it as a poop bag, because he didn't read the bag to get the instructions from the scouts. But our bag just said to fill it and leave it on the front steps if you wanted to contribute. That's the way to do it, not to knock on someone's door and give them a hard time.

Especially after you made it clear you didn't know what she was talking about and that you were willing to donate. What a jerk.

Posted by: bad penguin at November 16, 2006 12:39 PM

People are annoying assholes. It's a sad fact of life.

Last month, I was a "team captain" for a state-wide state employees donation drive. I had to send out emails to everyone in my department and remind them that if they wanted to pledge money, they needed to hand in their forms to me. Some people resorted to guilt in order for our collection of departments to reach a set goal. Some people didn't really give a shit. I gave a shit and did my best to remind people to turn in their pledge forms early but I didn't guilt people into giving. I know some people just aren't into it or they have their own way of giving back to the community or they think charitable donations breed and perpetuate welfare and whatever. That's fine, do as you wish. But I was pretty disappointed in the people who resorted to guilt. Giving isn't giving if it happens through coersion and guilt and condemnation.


I got lost in my comment...heh

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at November 16, 2006 12:44 PM

man... when did you get so UNWILLING?

Posted by: jodi at November 16, 2006 01:25 PM

Lucky the boy didn't threaten you with his pocket knife! I still have my scouts suit w/badges and everything. I would hate for them to have a bad name... Report it to your local scouts office...they probably know who she is already.

Posted by: DavidR at November 16, 2006 01:31 PM

My guess? There never were any bags. She forgot to go grocery shopping (probably spent all her money on crack) and decided to peddle her kid around in some Goodwill Scout outfit (probably a Halloween costume) to see if anyone would take the bait.

You did good by turning her away dude.

Posted by: Tink at November 16, 2006 01:51 PM

i bet she dropped her kids off in the neighborhood to put bags on your doors but they got sloppy and skipped you. ;)

but seriously. what a nasty rude jerk.

Posted by: Sarcomical at November 16, 2006 02:39 PM

gee... our scouts dont knock and harrass people they just keep moving on if they dont see the bag out on the porch. I totally agree about parents behaving badly in front of their kids, what are they thinking acting like that???

I will admit I need help with the whole swearing thing, my girls already picked up on "God-damnit", and "Jesus Christ!" I feel really bad about this, their Nana is going to have a stroke when she hears this. The little buggers are smart too, when they realize you dont want them to say something, they say it even more and giggle. How can I discipline them when its so funny I am cracking up?

Posted by: linda at November 16, 2006 02:46 PM

so...let me get this straight. You say you didn't give to charity and you're mad that you were asked to and you're doubly mad that someone got mad at you for not giving to charity. Hmm...I just don't know about you Chris. *snicker*

Posted by: Kristy at November 16, 2006 03:01 PM

Would you like the fruit cocktail in heavy syrup or do you prefer the light variety?

Posted by: Traci at November 16, 2006 03:32 PM

Wow. Having been a parent who has had to participate in the Scouting for Food drive with my eldest; I can only apologise for that mom and say that possibly the pack her son's are in was having a contest to see who could bring in the most food or something. Which, may I say is as wrong as her attitude. That is not how it is supposed to be done, at all.



Posted by: Shash at November 16, 2006 04:51 PM

Ok, being the Assistant CubMaster of my boy's pack, I just learned how not to collect food for the Scout's food drive.

What a dork. Perhaps she should pay attention to what her kid is supposed to be learning in scouts, and apply some of it to herself.

Oh... and fruit cocktail is good, but only if you get the extra cherries one.

Posted by: Karen at November 16, 2006 05:10 PM

Wow, what a bitch! We have the nice Scouts in our neighborhood, too, who don't come back unless you leave the bag out for them.

I'm all in favor of charity, and support several, but I don't want someone trying to guilt me into supporting whichever one they've chosen for themselves. I don't barge into their personal space wanting donations for my causes.

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at November 16, 2006 05:18 PM

Good Day, I say Good Day.

Excellent post. I don't recall a bag being dropped off on our porch either. But now I won't be surprised if someone comes expecting food.

Posted by: bb at November 16, 2006 05:25 PM

Good God! You just gave me my new catch phrase for LIFE!

"I'm a giver. I just don't give a shit about you."

Posted by: Debbie at November 16, 2006 05:51 PM

Stories like that don't do anything to reassure my faith in my fellow humans. I wish you had told her off to her face in front of her kids. They have a sad awakening coming one day when they realize their mommy is an asshat. Oh hell, they'll probably be little asshats also so they won't care.

I like the idea of sending the letter to the local Scout troop. As someone said, this woman is giving a fine organization a bad name.

And the line "Wake up, Dorothy. There's been a tornado."? Funniest.thing.I'

Posted by: Anna at November 16, 2006 06:49 PM

oh I would have set her straight! in front of the kids.

listen miss, are you the substitute scout leader? Because, I seem to remember that a "good scout" doesn't take out thier frustrations on strangers.

nor do they pass blind judgement...


Posted by: melanie at November 16, 2006 07:07 PM

Wow, what a bitch! I swear, some people should not be allowed to have children. You don't want to give to the Boy Scouts anyway - they fire troop leaders for being gay.

Posted by: Beth in StL at November 16, 2006 09:34 PM

Next time, give her the canned goods ... right after you bean her in the head with them.

(heh heh)

Posted by: s@bd at November 16, 2006 09:52 PM

Yeah! You tell her! or, write her!

Posted by: Sphincter at November 16, 2006 10:00 PM

Knocking on your door is plain rude. I hate it when people knock on my door and I will usually go hide in a back room. I'm kinda antisocial that way.

With moms like that, it's no wonder there are so many ashats in the world. Those kids are the future, and look at what they're learning.

Posted by: nila at November 17, 2006 05:03 AM

haha That is all.

Almost all. Some people need to get their heads out of their asses. :)

Posted by: Debra at November 17, 2006 09:15 AM

Holy crap...I can't stand Scouts. But let's not get into that here.

(Is this the part where I admit my own husband is an Eagle Scout? And I still married him. It's shameful.)

Posted by: Isabel at November 17, 2006 12:43 PM

I can't believe people would say that crap to their kids. And a merry fucking christmas to her too.

Posted by: Melissa at November 17, 2006 03:38 PM

LOL! What a freak (in case this needs clarification: her, not you -- what a freak SHE is.) ;)

Posted by: Haley-O at November 17, 2006 03:54 PM

I ignore the food drive every year from the Boy Scouts. Parents have to sign a God pledge to get their boys into scouts and I don't like the organization.

I donate to the food drives in our communities and schools, instead.

Posted by: Diane at November 17, 2006 05:53 PM

TOo bad you didn't run to your panty and throw a can of fruit cocktail at her head!

I HATE the sense of entitlement!

Posted by: Lisa B at November 17, 2006 07:15 PM

Wow, that was pretty brazen. Not exactly the best way to teach your children about the importance of doing a good deed.

Posted by: angela at November 19, 2006 03:30 PM

I did that boyscout thing with my son. We dropped the bags off and then the following Saturday went around and picked them up. However we didn't knock on any doors. If the person didn't have the bag on there porch or hanging from there door we went to the next. I would never have thought about knockin g on doors. That is rude and plus it would have caused me to be in the cold alot longer.

Posted by: Reba at November 20, 2006 08:42 AM