Single Mom Fired for Selling Girl Scout Cookies Should Have Followed the Rules

Rant 69

girl scout cookiesAs 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

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Prett... PrettyGirlMyers

In this case, yes. It would be a different story if she worked in an office or a clothing store, but she worked for a company that sells food, so selling Girl Scout Cookies was most likely a conflict of interest. I work for a health insurance company, and there are specific rules as to where I can or cannot get a second job, and it makes perfect sense.


And the fact that she is a single mother has absolutely nothing to do with this.

UKFan136 UKFan136

Only a jerk would not buy cookies from a coworker or friend? That's not very nice to say! And so untrue-I'm as kind as they come but I'm not buying cookies from your kid, just like I'm not buying wrapping paper, or cookie dough, or candy bars from everyone else's kids.  I'd go broke!

miche... micheledo

Ha Ha @ inexpensive cookies. Someone gave us a box once and I was shocked at how few cookies were in that box! Besides, homemade is SO much better, can be healthier, ajd less expensive. I guess I am a jerk. I have never bought cookies. :)

amand... amandabananda

I agree with UKFan -  like anything else, I don't buy it, if I don't need it.  I don't need to be buying cookies, donating $5 to each run other peoples kids participate in, it's too much! 

nonmember avatar Lilac

Only a jerk wouldn't buy from a co worker or friend. How mean is that. Did you ever think maybe you co workers have a food allergy they don't advertiese or are on a diet? I personally haven't liked the way the cookies taste since the switched bakeries years ago. Now everything had an oily after taste. I know store band cookies that taste more like real thin mints than this nasty greasy thin mints do.

jalaz77 jalaz77

I think it's lazy to set a sheet out for Girl Scout cookies, or popcorn

things like that...when I was a kid I did foot work. What

happened to that?? Being fired over this is a bit

drastic though.

SNAPA SNAPA

Selling is normally a no-no in many, if not all places of employement.  It promotes a "sense of obligation" to buy...it puts workers in a precarious position if the person selling is their boss/supervisor--almost like a "blacklash" if you don't purchase from your upper management.  Or it will cause havoc if you are not in financial position to buy, but you do because you do not want to be viewed as of the "jerk" of the establishment.  And, if you are working in the food industry, it IS considered a "conflict of interest" to sell items not "approved" by the place of business.  What if your employer sells cookies too?  What if someone becomes ill from eating a product a non-approved food product sold at the establishment?  Who is liable?  The food establishment or the person selling?  Or is it both?  Because you KNOW that person will sue, sue, sue!!!


Employee handbooks discusses this information in it's entirety...normally it's the handbook everyone throws into their trunk or closet after initalizing they read and understand all policies of the company.  I sympathize with single mother's issue, but I understand the employer's viewpoint/decision.  ***BTW, I really hate auto-correct***

fave82 fave82

Ugh people selling stuff at work is one of my biggest pet peeves! Our human resources finally made a rule that is isn't allowed. Honestly Im way more likely to buy some cookies if you just leave the sheet in the breakroom or something and let me sign up on my own. I understand the idea of having kids do the leg work themselves, but we had a family at my work that ALWAYS brought their son or daughter in to sell stuff. It was super awkward! They dressed them all up in their uniform and marched them from cubicle to cubicle.. Poor kid would literally stand and wait for someone to get off the phone to ask them!

Also, now i dont buy anything unless i get the the item right then. I purchased cookie dough from a coworker and she never came through with it! She ripped off a bunch of us.. She claimed that the woman in charge of her daughters group stole the money... Ridiculous.

I would take offense to being called a jerk.. But this is the author who said shed like to leave her kid sitting in a dirty diaper so she can get 5 more minutes on the treadmill... Her opinion of jerkiness is a little skewed.

nonmember avatar Seanna

I do not buy from anyone, whether it is the person or their kid selling. I am a single mom I cannot afford it. I do buy books to support my son's daycare but I do not ask other people to do so. I am not obligated to purchase anything from friends or family. If that makes me a jerk, so be it. I would rather stick to my budget so that I can support myself and my child on my own then play into other's sense of entitlements to my money.

nonmember avatar Seanna

I do not buy from anyone, whether it is the person or their kid selling. I am a single mom I cannot afford it. I do buy books to support my son's daycare but I do not ask other people to do so. I am not obligated to purchase anything from friends or family. If that makes me a jerk, so be it. I would rather stick to my budget so that I can support myself and my child on my own then play into other's sense of entitlements to my money.

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