Learning to Sell at a Young Age

I got the following email on 1/25/08.  The Subject Line was "Naming Bathrooms."

Mr. Feld:

My name is A, and I am a Cadette Girl Scout who is selling cookies to fund my dream of becoming an astronaut. This upcoming summer, I am returning to Huntsville, AL, for Advanced Space Academy, an opportunity offered through Girl Scouts. I am not sure if my dreams will take me to ATLAS at CU (my dad is a professor there), or Cal Tech (and the Jet Propulsion Lab, where my dad is on sabbatical), or even to MIT, where my dad went to school (Course XVI, 1978-1987).

My mom says that it is too bad that MIT did not accept your naming a bathroom offer — she thinks that you should have offered to build more women’s bathrooms at MIT as they can be somewhat hard to find when you need them. She also says that while the Sloan School and other east campus buildings had adequate facilities, you had to plan carefully if your work took you to the Humanities or Science Libraries.

I am writing to ask if you would like to make a contribution of $2008 to help me attain my goal. This translates to approximately 618 boxes ($3.25/box), of which there are eight available varieties. Of course, that might be a lot of cookies, even if you distributed them amongst all of your companies’ employees as a business expense. Instead, we can donate boxes to your choice — EFAA, the local food bank that was started in 1917 to help the families of World War I soldiers in Boulder, or directly to our soldiers overseas.

The 2008 cookie campaign is now taking orders with the cookies due to arrive in mid-February. I would enjoy discussing this with you further (I have prepared a presentation as to how businesses can use Girl Scout Cookies). You may reach me at myemail.com or my phone numbers, 303.xxx.yyyy (cell) or 303.aaa.bbbb (home).

If you decide that your 2008 charitable support does not include Girl Scouts or that you have a Girl Scout who is already your supplier, thank you. I would appreciate a reply regardless of your decision.

I thought this was absolutely brilliant.  I responded with:

A – thank you for writing me! I’m a big fan of the Girl Scouts and one of the organizations that I’m chairman of (the National Center for Women & Information Technology – www.ncwit.org – which is based at CU in the ATLAS building) has a partnership with them.

While I’m not interested in buying $2008 worth of cookies, I would be willing to buy 24 boxes (three of each type.) Tell me the best way to coordinate this with you.

My cookies showed up today and I got to meet A.  She’s a neat young lady in high school who is learning to sell at a young age.  Awesome.  Her parents (I got to meet her mom also) should definitely be proud of her.