No Neighbors Were Harmed in the Making of this Blog Post

My oldest daughter is highly motivated by extrinsic rewards.  Ultimately, this means that when her elementary school launched a fundraiser for which the top cookie dough sellers could win a free limo ride to a pizza shop for lunch, she immediately was on board.  (Let me pause to point out the obvious: prizes for fundraising have become exponentially classier since I was in school.)

So, like supportive parents of a budding door-to-door salesperson and aspiring limousine-rider, my husband and I spent several evenings escorting her through the neighborhood as she gave her doorstop pitch and filled up her order form.  Consequently, a few days ago I spent another evening driving throughout the neighborhood, all three kids in tow, to deliver handmade thank you notes and the twenty tubs of frozen cookie dough that our good-natured neighbors had purchased.

By the end of the evening after exiting and entering the minivan twenty times (which never is a streamlined activity, especially when accompanied by children), we still had six undelivered tubs of frozen cookie dough in the back of the van. 

To expedite this story, let me insert a brief timeline of events:

Nearly one day later:  My husband asks how the delivery had gone.  I think, "Delivery?  What delivery?  Oh, the cookie delivery..." before answering, "Yeah, a few neighbors weren't home so we never finished that.  I left the rest of the boxes in the back of the van."

Twenty seconds later:  Googling of "safe temperature for frozen cookie dough."

Five seconds later:  A sentence is uttered by my husband that contains nuggets like "the garage had to reach at least 50 degrees" and "potential foodborne illnesses" and "unsuspecting neighbors."

Two seconds later:  I think, "Come on; nobody will die," but recognize that it might appear a bit callous to verbalize this much lack of concern for the physical wellness of the very people who just shelled out $16 to buy cookies from my kid. 

One second later: I crumple into my seat with the dawning realization that this is one of those mistakes that'll lead me to sheepishly return to my neighbors and pay them back for the stupid, overpriced, now-thawed-and-ruined tubs of cookie dough that I'll toss into my trash can to prevent salmonella poisoning all in the name of ethical fundraising.

Now, a well-adjusted person might think that $96 is a relatively small price to pay for the peace of mind that you're not poisoning your neighbors, but apparently I'm not well-adjusted enough. 

Whether accidental or not, I hate the thought of wasting money.  It grates at the center of my thrifty, squeeze-every-ounce-of-toothpaste, make-every-dollar-count mentality.  It forces me to grapple with issues deeper than the dollars themselves -- my inability to control every situation, my imperfection despite good intentions.  It confronts me with the choice to either beat myself up (which I did for a day) or to acknowledge the error, trust God with my financial well-being, cut the losses, and move on healthily, which is where I ultimately arrived after a near textbook-like progression through the five stages of grief.

It began with denial (I tell you, the cookie dough is fine), then moved to anger (stupid PTO fundraiser), then bargaining (how risky is warm-ish raw cookie dough really?), depression (I suck), and finally, acceptance (it's okay; it's just money; all is well). 

Yes, all that from a half-dozen tubs of raw cookie dough.

* That "free" limo ride and lunch?  Goal attained; it's happening this week.

DISCLAIMER: No neighbors have been harmed in the making of this blog post. Just my pride and bank account.

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  1. Oh Robin! I would have gone through the same stages of grief. I hope you find $96 worth of joy when you see Reese's face after her extrinsic reward! For future reference, I will always buy something from a kid who shows up at my doorstep. :)

    1. $96 worth of joy! Oh, I LOVE this, Betsy!

  2. Oh. Oh. Oh! You are an awesome neighbour. I am obsessed with foodborne illness. I kid you not. I almost made my mom cry at Christmas last year because the turkey looked a little pink to me. So bless you for taking the hit but oh my, I would have been sullen about the $96 too.

    Thank goodness all we have to do is sell girl guide cookies... something that requires no refrigeration whatsoever!

    Wishing you a blessed week.

    1. I can just see that scene with your mother playing out over the turkey! Oh man! What a woman won't do in the quest to avoid food poisoning, eh?

      Yes, I'm now entirely for the selling of cookies that are *already* cooked. ;)

  3. If there was an option to simply pay $96 and not have to do the work, I'd jump on it in a heartbeat. But to go through all that work and then cough up the frugal streak mourns with yours today.
    That being said, you are one good Momma. (And neighbor.)

    1. I'm now just chalking it up as a $96 limo ride for my child. I'd say that I was contemplating rolling this into her Christmas gifts, but that might cause you to recant the statement about me being a good Momma. :)

      Kidding... just kidding.... :)

  4. Hi Robin! Your daughter won after all? That's amazing!! You are right, the prizes for 'most sold' were never like that when I was a kid.
    I am a crazy person when it comes to food-borne illnesses. I had food poisoning once so bad I wanted to die. That has made me very sensitive, so I would have thrown out that cookie dough in a New York minute. That said, I wouldn't be happy about coughing up almost 100 dollars either. Sigh.

    Is today the day you laugh?
    Great story!
    PS I sound a lot like Jennifer :)

    1. Ceil, I've had a few "just-take-me-home-now-Jesus" moments when dealing with the stomach flu, too, so I hear you!

      FYI, you sound like Jennifer because you're both cut from that same cloth of sincere kindness. :)

  5. OHMYGOSH this is HILARIOUS!! And I totally get every part of this post!!! I would HATE to waste the money- and? The COOKIE DOUGH!!! Too real, and classic moment to be shared and oh, how I get you!!! I have to say- although you aren't laughing so much about this, I sure am!!

    Bless your heart mama... :)

    1. You know, I always say that one woman's cookie dough misfortune is another woman's entertainment. So glad to give you a laugh today, Chris!

  6. You made me laugh. I'm glad I'm not the only one who does things like that.

    1. You are not alone! Not in the slightest!

  7. This is such a perfect Robin story! :)


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