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!