Cub Scout Caramel Corn

I went to the store today. Near our house, we have one of those large chain grocery stores. Without giving away the name, on another Earth, in another universe, it might have been called Choose N Hoard. I have a card and everything.

Anyway, on the way in, two Cub Scouts eagerly asked me if I wanted to buy some popcorn. Their female chaperone (ostensibly the “Den Mother”) mussed their hair and smiled.

“Popcorn, huh?” I said, “Sounds good. I’ll catch you on the way out.” I nodded to the Den Mother as if to say: “I mean it. I’m not just saying that because I think they’ll forget when I sneak out the other door.”

My time spent shopping today was very enjoyable because I knew, when I left the store, I would then make a couple Cub Scouts very happy. Maybe I was helping fund a trip down to Chicago to visit the Shedd Aquarium or dispose of a body.

The doors opened and there they were. “Alright, fellas, what have we got here? Say, is that caramel corn?” I picked up a sealed bag of caramel corn roughly they size of a dictionary. “This looks delicious,” I added, and winked at the Den Mother, “I’ll take one of these. How much?”

“Ten dollars,” one Cub Scout said while the other put the bag in a different bag.

“Ha, ha,” I replied. There was a pause. “No really.”

“Ten dollars.”

“For popcorn?”

“Caramel corn.”

“Really? Made from unicorn turds?”

[Author’s Note: I didn’t actually say that, but I really, really wanted to. I think I actually said something like: “Let me see how much I have.” In fact, I’m sure I said that, because the next thing I said was…]

“I only have eight.”

There was a frozen moment where it eventually became clear that there would be no bartering. One Cub Scout removed the bag from the other bag and placed it back into the open space. The other Cub Scout gave me that look; the look that said: “You’re just like my emotionally-distant father who never hugs me or keeps his promises.”

“That’s an awful lot of money for popcorn,” I said.

“Caramel corn.” said the Den Mother, “Sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry.” I walked to my car, and never looked back.

I fear that, for one Cub Scout, the memory of my betrayal will be the reason for the firecracker in the frog’s butt. But, c’mon. Ten bucks?

-Dylan

There are 6 comments

  1. Eileen wrote

    Um, good thing you didn’t pick up the larger bag of popcorn that contained nuts…that one was $25! I almost crapped my pants when my local scouts told me the prices. The den mother was quick to point out that 70% of the money went directly to the scouts. They must be camping in Palm Springs! Unfortunately I felt trapped and blew 10 bucks on that darn caramel corn. I’m a sucker.

  2. Anonymous wrote

    Yeah…my son is a cub scout and we get to sell the “not so good tasting, overly priced” popcorn. My husband and I do NOT look forward to it either. I do my best to kindly express that we fully understand that it really is a contribution to the scouts your making and NOT actually the purchase of tasty popcorn. Sorry for the bad attitude on the popcorn, cuz scouts itself is a wonderful opportunity for kids and parents, and teaches all of us a lot. It’s a great thing to be involved in. I just wish the selling thing wasn’t such a bad reputation towards scouts itself. Thank you to all that do buy…and I understand fully to those that don’t. A mother of a Wolf Scout.

  3. Cheryl wrote

    OMG! Exact experience in and out of the store, and since my daughters had been girl scouts I felt obligated in some sense. Unfortunately, I had the money and didn’t think quick enough to use your “excuse”. I’m sure they would’ve said they take checks tho. You sure don’t get much for your buck either. G.S. cookies are only $3.50 and are very tasty!

  4. Cub scout Mom wrote

    I absolutely agree with “Anonymous”. As a den leader/mother of a cub scout, it is definitely a tough sell, but the cub scout program and all that it offers for boys (and parents) is great. So far we have been lucky and have had quite a few people willing to support our pack and buy some “not so bad, over-priced popcorn”.

  5. Thank you all for taking the time to comment. For the record, 30 years ago, I was a Cub Scout in Indiana. And because it was Indiana, the Cub Scouts also had artillery. To raise money, one year we sold candles with Ziggy on them.

    I know the importance of scouting; the character building, the life lessons, the weird kid who smelled like a hamster cage…

    Let it be known that I would have purchased the popcorn if I had had the money.

    The fault does not lie with Boy Scouts of America; it lies with me for only having $8.

    It was one of those money moments like when you’re trying to be a big shot at a bar and you and order a round of drinks for your friends. The bartender says: “$50,” and you’re out of money at 9pm.

    Trust me, 30-years ago, I swore to uphold the laws of the pack; that includes $10 popcorn. It was I who failed to do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, for ever and ever, ’til death do us part, amen.

    1. Lazey R wrote

      Don’t be kicking yourself Dylan. Poor Cub Scout didn’t know how much popcorn or rather caramel corn should cost, he’s just there cause scout leader said ” gotta sell this if you wanna go to camp Wannamucca and roast wieners and swat mosquitos. It’ll be really fun!!”
      Mom is just being what she imagines a “good” parent is in supporting offsprings first business adventure. Besides if she can’t off load some of the merchandise her and Dad will have to pick up the tab for the whole two cases in the garage at $6.00 per bag.
      Meanwhile, some guy specializing ” promotional goods for charity organizations” is heading for winter camping in Boca .