Having said that, I have to call foul on John Kraft’s ad in The Forum that showed two young girls outside selling cookies in sub-zero temperatures and chastised Wal-Mart for not allowing these girls (Girl Scouts) to sell their cookies inside the store. Selling inside the store is against Wal-Mart’s policy. Kraft was so bothered by Wal-Mart’s lack of concern for these girls’ well-being that he snapped a photo of them and paid for an ad in The Forum to shame the store on its lack of care and compassion.
I learned of this ad from Helmut Schmidt’s piece about John Kraft in The Forum. Per Kraft:
“Those girls were out there with 20 below wind chill factor. Policies. I understand policies as they may be, but there is such a thing as compassion. There is no justification for what they (Wal-Mart) did, really. I mean, frostbite is a definite possibility.”
The article went on to explain how Chanon Anderson and her two daughters, ages 11 and 6, put on five layers of clothes so they could go out that day and sell Girl Scout cookies. Per Anderson, her girls set “very high expectations” regarding the number of cookie boxes they want to sell because they want to win the prizes associated with high sales. So Anderson’s young daughters took turns “playing human icicle, spending 15 minutes hawking Thin Mints and Samoas and 15 minutes warming up in mom’s car” for six hours of cookie sales.
Anderson is the Scout Leader for a five member Girl Scout Troop (30475) from Sabin, Minnesota. Her daughters comprise two of the five members. Anderson appreciates Kraft’s mission to press Wal-Mart to allow those selling outside to come inside in inclement weather. Per Anderson, “stores such as Cash Wise, J.C. Penney, Gander Mountain and Lowe’s regularly allow Girls Scouts to set up inside the store or at least in a vestibule.”
Here is the thing that I find unsettling about this situation – the thing that causes me to call foul – why the heck did Anderson let her young daughters sell outdoors on a day like that? Why is Kraft chastising corporate policy instead of parent sensibility? I am fairly sure that the Girl Scout organization would frown on putting girls in harm’s way just to hawk cookies. Shouldn’t a responsible Girl Scout Leader set some parameters for safety in regard to such sales? Shouldn’t a parent have role modeled responsible behavior by telling her children that it was too cold a day to be outside? Why is Wal-Mart responsible for Anderson’s poor choices?
As I said at the outset, far be it for me to be the defender of Wal-Mart, but regular readers know that they can count on me to deliver my expectations for sensible behavior in dangerous weather conditions. It does not matter whether these girls where outside selling in sub-zero conditions or during a tornado warning – there are some days in North Dakota that you must change plans to remain safe. This one is not on Wal-Mart, it is on Anderson.
Day one thousand three hundred and forty-seven of the new forty – obla di obla da