DEAR HARRIETTE: Every year, a co-worker helps his daughter sell Girl Scout cookies, and it's hard to say no because the dad forces everyone to make a purchase. The cookies are amazing, but I would prefer to purchase them from a place of happiness as opposed to being forced to make a purchase. How can I make the experience more enjoyable the next time around because I believe in helping the organization? -- Cookie Peddler, Brooklyn, New York
DEAR COOKIE PEDDLER: One way to feel more at ease about this experience is to think about the big picture. Your co-worker is doing a great thing by helping his daughter in her sales effort. Not every parent joins in for these endeavors. Forgive him for not being a skilled salesperson. If you can look at him with compassion, it may help you to feel less irritated, especially since you actually do like the product.
To any parent out there who is attempting to help a child sell any goods to friends and co-workers as a fundraiser for an organization, charity or school, remember to be gracious. Do not be pushy. Instead, speak about the cause. Ask repeat contributors to give again, but do not push them. If you keep track of what your "customers" buy, you may also want to be specific when you ask again. "Did you like those shortbread cookies you bought last year? Would you be interested in buying more?" Then step back and allow the person to think about it. Graciousness often makes more sales.