Girl Scout cookie season is upon us, and that really is a wonderful thing. Samoas, Thin Mints, Tagalongs…where have you been for the last 8 months of my life!!!
I know it may seem a little off-topic for this blog, but I like to rant (and it’s my lunch break) so let me just say a few things about these delicious treats.
First off, they’re the best! I mean, compared to other kinds of cookies they’re expensive ($4/box), but they have two things working in their favor: 1. you can’t always get them, and 2. they’re always good.
Others have tried to replicate the greatness of a Girl Scout cookie but haven’t succeeded. Wal-Mart sells “Fudge Mint Cookies” (which look suspiciously like Thin Mints) and Keebler has “Fudge Shoppe Coconut Dreams” (which look suspiciously like Samoas). Don’t be fooled. Or, as Buddy the Elf would say, “it’s a fake!”
And while I love the Girl Scouts, they are a bunch of cute little LIARS! Indeed, every box seems to claim a serving size of just 2 or 3 cookies – about 10 cookies too few for the average consumer.
So. Girl Scout cookies are awesome. According to their website, the purpose behind cookie sales (aside from generating about $700M in annual revenue) is to develop the following skills:
1. Goal Setting; 2. Decision Making; 3. Money Management; 4. People Skills; and 5. Business Ethics. Which goal is my favorite, you ask? “I choose Business Ethics.”**
**Yes, I just made an obligatory (off-topic) Billy Madison reference.
Ok seriously though. Those are all great skills (I’m going to come back to them in a little bit, stay tuned…). And the Girl Scouts of America is a great organization that I hope one day my daughter decides to join. Fact is, I’m already a sucker for Girl Scout cookies, so I can only imagine how many boxes little Riley will coax me into buying (it very-well could end up being a three-figure number).
Anyway. Here’s my totally unrequested take on Girl Scout cookie sales: if you come to my door, or even give me a phone call, I’m sold. If you hit me up at the right moment on the way out of the grocery store, I’m also probably sold. In fact, I’m pretty much willing to buy anything that any child is selling for scholastic/charitable/community purposes so long as they make their pitch in person. This includes wrapping paper, popcorn, and discount cards that offer random things I will never need, like 10% off catering orders at Benigans.
But everything changes when parents are the ones making the pitch. Sorry moms (and dads), but I will *not* buy Girl Scout cookies on your daughter’s behalf. Indeed, I won’t buy anything on your child’s behalf.
It’s the principle. Cookie sales are a great vehicle for learning valuable life skills, and all of that is totally thrown out the window when kids don’t actually make the sales pitch themselves. When I tell people this, I usually get one of three responses…
There’s the “these are dangerous times” and “you just never know” and “it’s not like it used to be” response. In some neighborhoods that’s true, but not in most neighborhoods. And definitely not in my neighborhood. Next…
Then there’s the “this is just the way it’s done now” argument. I hate this one. I award you no points for it.**
**Holy cow I just made my second Billy Madison reference! Now I gotta make at least one more…
Finally, there’s the “my daughter has swimming and soccer and tutoring and church group” and just “doesn’t have time” to do it on her own. I’ll get to this one in a little bit (but let me kill the suspense: I don’t buy it).
Look, I get that prizes are a big deal, and I also get that the people who organize these fundraisers brainwash kids into making outrageous sales goals by waving toys in their face like cocaine. For instance, when I was in fourth grade, I was determined to sell enough magazine subscriptions to get a really cool SuperSoaker – the gold standard of aquatic firearms. To do so, I had to sell 50 subscriptions, but I only ended up selling about 12 (thanks Uncle Steve!). Unfortunately, this was just enough for a cheap Styrofoam airplane. Bummer.
Eventually I learned that I would never be one of those kids who sold a million subscriptions and got a drum set or a minute inside that device that makes it rain dollar bills. At my school, the only people who got those prizes were the kids who had super rich parents that either (a) bought a million subscriptions, or (b) bought them for the company they owned. Those kids are the ones got the cool prizes. Not. Fair!
Which brings me back to Girl Scout cookies. Your kid is “just too busy” to sell cookies on her own? Lame! I mean, how does it help your daughter’s “people skills” (Girl Scout goal #4) when the entire operation is passed to her well-connected mom or dad? Here’s a thought: if your daughter is super busy, maybe she shouldn’t expect to sell 5,000 boxes of cookies (after all, two of the stated purposes behind the whole sale are goal-setting and decision-making).
Furthermore, those parents who sell cookies at the office are usually the ones who collect and account for the money involved, which defeats Girl Scout goal #3 – money management.
Hate to say it, but pretty much the entire purpose of selling cookies (as stated by the Girl Scouts themselves), is defeated when parents take over and hit up their co-workers.
Am I the only one who feels this way? I FEEL LIKE IM TAKING CRAZY PILLS!!!
I know that I am young and naïve, and I can already hear moms telling me why I’m way off base and why “some day I will understand what it’s like” and how “this is just the way things are done now.” Scout moms and dads can be a tough bunch. Trust me, I know…
A few days into my current job, a woman in my office was making the hard sell. When I told her that I didn’t buy cookies from parents she pretty much tortured me until, in a moment of weakness, I gave in and bought a box. I’m no Jack Bauer.
People will do whatever works for their own family. But if your kid is looking for my business, he or she would be wise to ask residents of our household in person.
As for me and my daughter? Well, I intend to be her coach, not her quarterback. That means she will definitely be hitting you up in person. And as Scar would say, “be prepared,” cuz she already makes a mean sales pitch. Heck, if she can convince me to give her the remote control in exchange for absolutely nothing, then I’m pretty sure she’s gonna find a way to get you to buy a few boxes of Do-si-dos. And maybe a box of Tagalongs too…
Oh by the way: Knibb High Football Rules!
Ha, the title of this caught my eye because I had had the similar thought recently. When I was a Girl Scout I used to spend a lot of time making/decorating an elaborate/fancy sign and letter to be left in my mom’s office Workroom, asking her co-workers to buy cookies…. At the school I teach at- I find it cheap that the parents are the ones just leaving the order form or sending an e-mail asking us to buy their kids’ cookies! haha
Also your twins are totally adorable 🙂
Hey Lori! Youre right – that is cheap. I dont understand why so many parents do that. Im sure they get a lot of pressure to sell as many as possible, but it really defeats the point if scouts arent involved whatsoever in the transactions. Im pretty sure kids can still make posters and send emails and make phone calls. Oh well.
By the way…the twins say “thank you!” 🙂
Totally agree, I work at a major wholesale retailer ; ) there’s a posting up at work to buy the cookies from the one of the guys in the Pharmacy… drugs and munchies all in one spot!
I think the issue goes a whole lot further than GSC’s though, it seems as if parents do everything for their kids now; and kids are leaving the proverbial nest completely unprepared for the real world. I can’t possibly fathom how a parent thinks it’s helping their kid to give them everything they want. If you think politicians are babies now, just wait until this bunch takes office.
I see kids throwing tantrums on a daily basis, and clueless parents simply looking to appease their children. Just today, I almost threw up when I saw a child stomp on a pack of bratwursts because his father wanted him to sit in a cart instead of standing (btw, if you let your kid stand in a shopping cart over concrete slab, expect him to fall out and have to go to the hospital) Not only did the child’s father put the bratwursts back and grab another one (jerk), he offered the boy ice cream if he calmed down… the tantrum lasted another 20 minutes while the father seemed to ignore it, the boy left with ice cream… I wish I could say something to those people without losing my job-
I don’t know how to deal with issues like these, but I’m not a parent yet… I wish more people would wait to have kids until they grow up themselves.
PS: Indiana Girl Scout Cookies are $3 a box, you guys are getting screwed-
GSCs? Why didnt I think of that. I agree that some parents do a total disservice by giving their kids everything they want! If only I could get ice cream every time I stomped on bratwursts…
PS: $3/box??? Man, we are getting hosed!
BTW, if your kids ever wanna skip school, hit em with this:
“If you’re gonna stay home today, you can help me shave my armpits.”
and conditioner always wins in my book-
Whoa! Conditioner? Shampoo goes on first and cleans the hair!
I love your blog! I’m currently 7 months pregnant with twin boys! Any time I get a chance to read about real life experiences from twin parents I jump on it. I love your light hearted, hilarious view on everything! And your children are adorable! Gods little miracles for sure!
Hey Nicole! What an exciting time. Jackie and I didnt do much research – we just kind of dove right in. It was rather shocking to say the least! We are having fun (especially now that they are a bit older). Thank you so much for your comments about the kids. They are indeed Gods little miracles!
i stumbled across this article in my question to find out if anyone feels the same way i do…glad to know that i’m not the only one =)
Hey Lindsay! So glad I’m not the only one. Keep fighting the good fight! 🙂
Although this is how it was for me when I was growing up, respectfully, I disagree. I have a compromise – my daughter walks door-to-door in our neighborhood and asks family in person, too, but I do not put the hard sell on co-workers or friends. I had her visit my workplace with her cookie form for the last 2 years, but I decided that was more of a pressure sale than ever and I didn’t want to make my co-workers feel awkward. So, this year, I brought in the form, left it on my desk, and sent around a “Hey, if you want Girl Scout cookies, my daughter is selling them” e-mail. Same things with my friends. Not a cop-out at all because here’s the thing – a sort of compromise: My daughter will deliver them in person to each buyer in her Brownie uniform with a handwritten note on top of each order thanking them for buying them. So, she is still very involved – selling about 50% on her own – and the work is not done once the sale is made as she still has a job to do by delivering them all in person. She also adds up all the sales numbers on the form, counts and organizes the boxes, etc. Not bad for an 8-year old. So, please don’t assume that because the parents put an order form on their desk at work that their daughter is doing nothing. Selling Girl Scout cookies is more than just the sale. If you keep them involved from start to finish, it’s still a great learning experience for them.
Like Jen above, I also have to disagree. I am currently taking my daughter door to door on the weekends, she handles and counts the money with me only helping when she gets stuck. She pitches, not me, but their are times when the question are too much for her or her shyness kicks in. We do have the cookie club online that she is registered to, where we have sent emails out to 26 family and friends. I of course helped with this and had her tell me verbally what she wanted to say on it because she is in 1st grade, she could not manage all the typing, or at least, my patients would run out for the 8 hours it would have taken her! I have a case of assorted cookies on my desk right now and I have walked around the office with them, to help my daughter reach her goal, for the troop and for the girl scouts everywhere. My daughter set a goal of 214 boxes she wanted to sell, there is a prize involved at that level, but just because I am helping her reach that goal, does not mean that she is missing out on the value of learning, or doing it herself. As she gets older it is expected that she do more and more and by 4th grade she will do all of it. But kids sometimes need to have that carrot dangled in front of them to work hard, they don’t learn the value of doing it without reward until they are older. I am not doing it for her, I am helping because she is not old enough to do everything. Heck, she wouldn’t even be able to walk to enough houses with those little legs of hers!