GUILFORD, Maine — With a red Santa cap perched on her head that advertised Charmin toilet paper, Jenny Haskell, 49, greeted shoppers Wednesday as they exited Goulette’s IGA in Guilford.
“I have a present for you,” the Sangerville woman cried out to shoppers as she deposited a bag into their extended hands. “Merry Christmas! Enjoy the Go!”
More than one person looked a little perplexed, including Scott Gourley of Abbot, who peeked inside the bag and then smiled when he saw a roll of Charmin toilet paper tucked inside.
“I gotta go now,” Gourley quickly remarked, which prompted laughter from those who had gathered to see what Haskell was giving away.
Haskell, who says she is normally shy, is on a mission and has until Friday, Dec. 17, to complete it. To help her cause Wednesday, she was giving away 100 rolls of Charmin toilet paper in Christmas bags with the words “Warm Fuzzy winter wishes.”
On a whim, Haskell entered Charmin’s “Enjoy the Go Contest” by submitting a video of herself standing in front of the outhouse at her camp telling the world why her state “Enjoys the Go.”
Haskell’s video was selected as Maine’s winner, providing her a $500 cash prize. She donated half of those winnings to the Piscataquis Santa project for needy children. The other half was used to help purchase the toilet paper she gave away in an effort to entice more supporters who will help her get to New York City.
That trip will be awarded to the five top state winners who receive the most points.
That’s where she hopes the public will help. Haskell must get as many people as possible to click on the word “Likes” on the “Enjoy the Go” Facebook page.
“I need lots and lots of ‘Likes,’” Haskell said Wednesday.
Haskell, assistant manager of Rite Aid in Guilford, also gets points for media attention, and when people submit photographs of bathrooms online.
“The contest sponsors are looking for the most exquisite bathroom in the nation, and I think it’s in Maine,” Haskell said. Points are awarded for cleanliness, uniqueness and enhanced equipment.
Haskell has solicited support from chambers of commerce, businesses and her Facebook friends. Her family also is helping to support her.
“My son Josh, who’s in the Navy stationed in Japan, has been sending letters to hotels, mansions, and places in that country, because I need [a picture of] that perfect bathroom,” she said.
Here’s an example of Haskell’s videos:
Ed Desmond of Sangerville, who stopped by her outdoor booth, said he has known Haskell for 15 years. “She gives a whole new meaning to tenacious — it’s ‘Katy bar the door,’” he said, meaning there’s trouble in store. “If it’s worth 100 percent, she does 160.”
Holding her gift Wednesday, Joni Slamm of Guilford said she had tried Charmin many years ago and hated it because it fell apart. “They’re going to get me to try it again, because I got a present.”
If Haskell gets to New York City, her first trip there ever, she’ll have to compete with the other four winners in some Charmin-related contests, including a trivia contest, a mummy contest, toilet paper stacking and tossing for a $50,000 cash prize.
If she gets to the national competition and wins the grand prize, Haskell said she will purchase a new truck for her mother, Mona Pensiero, and her stepfather, Joe Pensiero, because their truck broke.
Regardless of the outcome, Haskell said she’s had fun with the competition, especially giving people something soft to use.