Sometimes boy scouts set up shop outside of the grocery store to sell snacks and stuff to raise money for their group. One time I entered the grocery store and was stopped by a boy who asked me if I was interested in supporting. He looked really nervous and miserable, and I felt bad for him. But my feeling of not wanting to purchase snacks from him far outweighed my feeling bad for him. I said, "Sorry, no thank you." And I felt kinda like a trash human for avoiding him, but I just wanted to purchase stuff from the actual grocery store, you know? There's better selection and what not. He just has a stand. There's a whole grocery store inside, with endless snacks. Way more than he has. That's just the reality of it.
Now after I had completed my shopping, I decided to avoid the boy altogether and exit from the far exit. It was completely out of my way and would add a good three minutes on my journey back to my car, but wow- I really did not want to look that boy in the eye again.
As I approached the exit, I realized I was not home free. There was another stand there. And guess what-- the same boy was stationed at this other exit, I guess these boys were rotating stations, which is so uncool. And he didn't come up to me this time, he knew I was not worth the effort. I made eye contact with the boy's mom, and I think she knew that I purposefully exited from the other side to avoid being solicited. I saw some judgment in her eyes. She was probably thinking I was a coward. A cheap coward, at that.
I completely went out of my way to avoid crossing paths with that boy, but inevitably I was exposed as utter human trash. He learned a lesson that day. That not all adults are cool. That you shouldn't try to compete with a grocery store if all you have is a table of mediocre snacks. That rejection is a common life experience.
I also learned a lesson that day. That I should face my fears. That I should just be unapologetically uncharitable. That I shouldn't feel shame in my snack preferences.
Snacks are serious business. This much I know. Also, when that boy reports back to his scout leader or whatever, he might say that his faith in humanity has diminished. And I imagine his scout leader saying to him, "Son, you have to be better than them. You have to be better than that lady who tried to sneak past you on her way out. She doesn't know crap about snacks. Have faith in your snacks and work hard."
And the boy will say, "These snacks suck. No one wants to buy them."
And the scout leader will say, "You have to make lemonade out of lemons."
And the boy will say, "We don't sell lemonade. We sell, like, shitty popcorn and weird candies no one's heard of."
And the scout leader will say, "Watch your language, young man."
And the boy will say, "I quit."
And he'd go to his mom and say, "I quit boy scouts. It's dumb."
And his mom would say, "Let's go to the grocery store. I need to get stuff for dinner, and you can pick out a snack you like."
And the boy would have a profound moment of clarity that'll stay with him for the rest of his adult life.