I was a Girl Scout in various forms (Brownies on up—no Daisies in those days) for most of my childhood.  I've written before about my frustrations then and even more so now, so I'll limit today's comments to cookies.

Yes, it's Girl Scout cookie time again, the only time of the year I really appreciate the organization.  Not that I can't get plenty (read, too much) in the way of good cookies outside of the Girl Scouts, but their Thin Mints are unique and have been part of my life as long as I can remember.  When the girls were young and living at home, we'd buy a case of Thin Mints every year, stick them in the freezer, and dole them out at the rate of one box per month.

This year we tried something new: in addition to the Thin Mints (now half-case) we bought a box of their Lemonades.  Meh.  Good but not exceptional, not worth the extra price over lemon Oreos.

After purchasing our cookies this year, I reflected how far the Girls Scouts have come in their salesmanship since I sold the cookies door-to-door for 40 cents a box.  (The price is now an order of magnitude higher, and I'm sure there is less in the box.  But we still buy them.) Back in the day we had to take orders, then go back some weeks later to deliver the actual cookies.  Now, the girls have a booth set up in the fellowship area after church, with piles of boxes of cookies ready-to-hand.  You see the merchandise, hand over your money, and walk off with boxes of delicious cookies.  I know they must sell so much more that way than by the sight-unseen, place-an-order method.

But wait.  Not everyone has gotten with the program.  A few days later, three little girls in Girl Scout uniforms rang our doorbell and offered to sell us cookies.  I had to explain that we had already bought ours for the year.  If they had had the cookies right there with them, I'd have bought another box anyway, just to avoid disappointing them.  But they did not.  They were stuck in the order-taking days.

We've bought cookies at church, outside the grocery store, and even at Outback Steakhouse.  I don't know how troops get permission to set up in these public places, but I find it a happier solution all around.  Now that's a Girl Scout innovation I can get behind.  Probably the only one...

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 6:39 am | Edit
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MY issue with current Girl Scout practices rests with parents doing all of the work.

Outside of our local Publix, I had a parent ask me to buy Girl Scout cookies. "Where's your daughter?" "Why" "Because I'll only buy the cookies from a Girl Scout, not her mommy." "She's in the rest room"

When I got done shopping 30 minutes later, no little girl at the table.

I always thought the cookies were designed to make the organization money, but also for the development of the Girl Scout. If Mommy and Daddy are going to do all of the work, then there's not much point in my buying them.

So while tables out in front of Publix might be easier and more convenient, I think parents must resist the urge to do all of the work for the girls, and I think in part it spoils the experience.

I DO think it is probably safer than going door to door, so I don't oppose the practice, but parents just have to let them do their thing, and I will NEVER buy from a parent, only the Girl Scout.

Posted by Bill Highfield on Tuesday, February 09, 2016 at 7:14 am

I'm with Bill on this one, although I think some parents did the work in my day, too. Many parents took the sign-up sheets into the office with them and did the work for the girls. My dad didn't have an office job, so I had to go door to door (my mom did not go with me). This was absolute torture for an extremely shy 9 year old especially when I got yelled at by one woman for not understanding what her "no soliciting" sign meant. Needless to say, cookie sales, and Girl Scouts in general, were a short-lived experiment for me.

Posted by dstb on Tuesday, February 09, 2016 at 7:35 am

Good points, Bill, though I buy for the cookies so I don't care who's selling them. I did note that a mother was following the girls as they went door-to-door (though she stayed on the sidewalk) and I can't say I approve of that. If they're going to be independent, let them be independent. I wonder if they're allowed to go trick-or-treating. This was during the day, in a safe neighborhood, and there were three of them. At least one of them probably had a cell phone.

I went by myself to sell to our neighbors, not that it was a big deal since I roamed the neighborhood freely all the time.

Our high school band goes door-to-door fundraising by selling apples (they, too, take orders and deliver later), and even they have a parent within sight. I have less of a problem with that, as (1) they are going to unfamiliar neighborhoods, (2) they have to be driven to those neighborhoods and thus require a car and driver anyway, and (3) participation is mandatory. Still, it seems a bit weird.

Posted by SursumCorda on Tuesday, February 09, 2016 at 7:43 am

I remember those girls whose fathers took the cookie orders into their offices, and I resented that because there was always a contest as to who could sell the most (BAD idea) and of course that gave them an unfair advantage. My father did have an office to take orders from, but he refused, on the grounds that (1) it was my job, and (2) it was not fair to his coworkers. Would that more present-day workers would be so considerate of their fellows!

And yes, I hated selling door-to-door. Why did I stay in Girl Scouts? Parental pressure, I think. Nothing overt, but it was expected, and I did it. I think they thought I was enjoying myself, and it would be good for me. I suppose it was good for me—we went to Europe in high school!—and I loved the opportunities to hike and camp, but the rest of the program? No thanks.

Posted by SursumCorda on Tuesday, February 09, 2016 at 7:51 am
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