Monday, March 8, 2010

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Buying Girl Scout Cookies (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Having spent over 10 hours in the last three weeks standing outside of stores helping some cute little girls sell highly overpriced but extremely tasty cookies, I feel qualified to offer a few words of advice to anyone who may encounter a similar group with similar products.  And, therefore, I will:
  • If you’re not sure what kind of cookies you’d like, ask the girls to recommend some. They’ve put in some time learning about each flavor, and they’ve likely tried them all. They’d love to show off their knowledge. 
  • Please don’t ask the girls in brown vests, “Are you a Brownie or a Girl Scout?” Brownies are Girl Scouts, and they’re proud of it.
  • Talk to the girls, not the parents. Even the littlest ones. They’re the ones selling the cookies. We’re just there to make sure you get the right amount of change.
  • When you ask how much they are this year and the girls tell you, “$4 a box!”, please don’t act shocked and appalled at the price. We know they’re expensive, and we know the economy is bad. But we also know that our troop only gets to keep 65-70 cents per box we sell, and we have big plans for that money. We don’t set the price; please don’t make us feel bad.
  • Challenge the girls. Be creative. Ask them to do the math for you, or what they're hoping to do with the money they earn. Ask them to share with you their favorite part of being a Girl Scout, or how long they've been a Girl Scout. They’re not just earning money for their troop, they’re also gaining valuable people skills.
  • If you don’t like cookies, or can’t eat them, consider donating a box. Most troops have a “Gift of Caring” box at the booth (that, unfortunately, goes largely unnoticed), or at least have plans for what to do with donated cookies. Ours are going to SnowCap, a local organization that benefits local people with food, clothing, and other necessities. We will make sure they get there.
  • It’s okay if you don’t want to buy the cookies. We’re disappointed, but we’ll get over it pretty quickly. We don’t mind you saying no - we understand not everyone can buy cookies. What we do mind is when you walk straight past us without even acknowledging our presence. Please don’t ignore these girls. They’re working hard and most of them are way outside of their comfort zone. A smile and a simple, “Not today, but thanks anyway!” in response to their cry of “Girl Scout cookies!” is all they need.
Well, there you go.  Now, when you're out this weekend (or whenever cookies are on sale near you) and you run across a couple of uniformed girls enthusiastically hawking their wares, you'll be prepared.

This is the last week you can get cookies here in Oregon, so if you don't have any yet, or, better yet, need to stock up for the year, time is running out!


  1. Those are really good tips anytime you see kids out selling cookies or anything similar. Thanks!

    And $4 a box? Ours were only $3.50 a box. Is it a state thing?

  2. I think each council sets their own price. Either that, or it's the baker. There are two bakers that are authorized to do the cookies. If you have the option of Tagalongs and Samoas, then we have the same baker and it's the council. If they're called Peanut Butter Patties and Caramel Delites, then it could be the baker or the council, and I have now given you way more information than you ever wanted. Our cookies were $3.50 until last year, so watch out for a price hike pretty soon.

    Also, now I feel bad for our Utah relatives that bought cookies from us, because we kinda ripped them off. That's love, I guess.

  3. Don't worry we love you all the same. And guess what? My girls don't like mint! More thin mints for me!!!

  4. Em, Ellie won't eat mint, either. What's up with these wierd kids?

  5. I bought 4 boxes and they were gone in a week. Glad I didn't buy the six that I normally do!

  6. I usually stop at the Girl Scout table. However, I often avoid the cub scout popcorn tables. Popcorn is boring (except when my boys will be selling it).


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