Dear Grocery Shoppers,

My son and a few teammates will be standing outside of the grocery store this afternoon for about four hours, most likely in the pouring rain that is forecasted, selling $5 coupon booklets to benefit our Lacrosse club (and help our own registration fees go down).

I just have a couple of requests.

1. These are good, smart, polite young men. The media trumpets mostly bad stuff about teenagers when in fact, the majority of teenagers are awesome people. Don’t let their letter jackets or their team jerseys color your attitude, cause you to think of stereotypical teens, and make you crabby before you even approach them. I promise, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

2. Yes, they *are* selling something. Believe me, they’d rather not have to. The truth is, most school organizations (and schools themselves) require participants to become salespeople; these programs wouldn’t survive without fundraising. Please watch your rudeness. They’d rather not be there either.

3. If you don’t want to buy what they’re selling, they won’t take it personally. Just please don’t tell them on your way in that you WILL buy on the way out, and then run away from them when they try to follow up with you as you’re leaving. If you have no intention of buying, no big deal. Just be honest. Either say “No thanks” or, if you’re too intimidated by the above-mentioned polite young men to say “no” right off, just say “I’ll think about it while I’m shopping.” The “maybe” that you’re giving them isn’t as annoying to them when it turns out to be a “no” on the other side.

4. Feel free to ask them about their sport and/or their club. They’re proud of what they do and would love to talk to you about it.

5. If you don’t want the actual coupon book, they will accept donations for the club if you still want to help. Even a dollar is fabulous. If you can’t or don’t want to give anything, smiling is wonderful. These boys actually like to talk to friendly adults. Really, they do!

6. They know when you open up your flip phone and act like you’re on a call as you approach them, so you can sneak by without them being able to talk to you, that you’re faking. Again, see #1.

7. They also see you sneaking out the other store exit and speed-walking toward your car, because their minds are like steel traps and they know exactly who they’re watching for at all exits. Again, see #1.

8. A special note to the dad of a player on one of our rival teams who was rude to my son the last time we did this in October. There was really no need for you to identify yourself as the parent of a player on an opposing team and say “There’s no way in hell I’m giving any money to your cause” and then state that, this season, your son’s team will “kick the a$$es” of my son’s team. What kind of d-bag says stuff like that to a boy who did nothing but politely ask a stranger if he wanted to help his club out, especially when you’re in our club’s area of town? All you had to do was say “No thanks” and keep on walking. No confrontation necessary. I hope you don’t need groceries today. And if you do, please keep your foul mouth shut. It’s people like you who turn teenagers away from adults.

9. For the rest of you, if you are impressed with the manners and conversational skills of these boys, please compliment them. They may not show it, but they love compliments. A kind word goes a long way, especially with teenagers.

Thanks for your time and attention.