As parents, we all want what is best for our kids. For Tracy Lewis of Washington, DC, that meant selling Girl Scout cookies at her job as a retail service manager for Bon Appetit, which provides various food services on the American University's campus.
It seems like no big deal, right? Selling some inexpensive cookies to people who are under no obligation to buy them seems harmless. Or does it? First of all, a rule is a rule. If she wasn't allowed to sell food, it was probably for a good reason. She works in food service and maybe there were contractual obligations her employer needs to meet and she was violating them.
But moreover, it's never as simple as saying that buying was voluntary. Of course it is. But if someone tells you their kid is selling cookies, who DOESN'T feel obligated to buy?
Personally, I have no issue with buying a box or two of cookies. In fact, give me some now! But it's a lie to say there is no pressure to buy. Only a jerk wouldn't buy cookies from a co-worker or person you know selling for their child.
But more to the point: a rule is a rule. We may disagree with rules at work, but we do have to follow them. We can protest, talk to HR, or make our voices be heard, but in the end, the people at the top have the right to make rules and expect them to be followed.
Does it seem silly? Sure. Why can't she sell cookies? Also: She is a single mom and she deserves a second chance. All of these things are true. But from one story, there isn't enough information to glean whether she knew the rules or not.
An employer owes it to his or her employee to try to be understanding, and lord knows, a woman on one income needs her job. But was she warned before? Was she knowingly violating policy? These are the things we need to know. While "Single Mom Fired for Selling Cookies" will sell papers on sympathy alone, it seems like there is a more nuanced approach to looking at this story.
I hope this woman finds another job quickly where she is allowed to sell cookies and this is all put behind her.
Do you think she should have been fired?
Image via Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar/Flickr