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  • Writer's pictureJason X

How to Avoid Candy Bar Season at Work

Now that people are unwillingly going back to the office, some of the political landmines (we no longer had to navigate working remotely) have risen from the dead to terrorize us again. I'm not talking about usurping power, backstabbing, or kissing ass; I'm talking about parents selling cookies and candy at work for their children.

Every year, schools passionately embark on a mandatory charity drive that compels students to aggressively compete to collect the most cash for some heartwarming crusade. Since children have little aptitude or interest in sales (let alone, heartwarming crusades), this becomes a competition for the parents.

Every crusade has its season. Cookies, fruit cake, and candy for the holiday season; Girl Scout cookies in the latter winter months; Easter crusades soon after; and the one I hate the most, Candy Bar season in the fall.

Why does this bother me? First, the children are supposed to be selling these products, not the parents. Doesn't this resemble cheating? Second, I don't need this kind of pressure at work. I already have so many challenges and deadlines to meet, why do I have to listen to your Machiavellian sales pitch just because your kids are lazy? Okay, maybe not lazy. Incompetent? Whatever the applicable term, this is not my problem. But you try to make it my problem with guilt-tripping doughy eyes and a soulful plea for mercy.

So what does one do to combat this egregious offense at work without losing political and sociological standing? Well, we do live in a capitalistic economy in the US, so for me, this is the most effective strategy to navigate this particular landmine: Competition.

Who can complain about a little friendly capitalistic competition? So buy a box of Butterfingers (or Snickers, etc.) and put them up for sale in your office. Slap a For the Cause sign on the box and sell them at cost. You're not making any money here, but you are undercutting the kids by about 20 cents. And seriously, who chooses a generic chocolate candy bar over a Butterfinger? This accomplishes two things: 1) You piss off the parents; 2) Nobody will expect you to buy product from your competition.

You could also sell a healthy alternative. Then your cause becomes personal health. While that inherently is much more selfish than contributing to a viable charitable cause, you will still piss off parents because people are also inherently selfish.

Another strategy is to employ a trade economy. If you happen to be in an corporate office like mine, office supplies are a precious commodity. Gearing up for candy bar season, start hording these supplies. And when asked to contribute to the worthy candy bar cause, indicate you have no cash but are willing to trade. Would you be interested in a box of micro-point Uniball pens that offer a silky-smooth, smudge-free glide? Or maybe a laptop bag handcrafted with rich full-grain leather and solid brass hardware? This accomplishes two things: 1) The parent is stuck with the actual cost of the candy bar and 2) as soon as you have accumulated a few bars, you can start selling them at a discounted cost back to the consumer, again undercutting sales for the cheating children.

These strategies are all just as effective with slight modification for any season during the year. We need solidarity here. Let's keep our political standing in the company but also ensure cheaters never prosper by crushing the competition--your coworkers' kids.

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