Tag Archives: Girl Scout cookie

Confessions Of A “Cookie Mom”.


My good friend wrote me an email this morning apologizing for being late in responding to my previous electronic communication.  She has been ubber busy (I like that non-word so Spell Check be damned.) with, among other things, Girl Scout cookies.  It seems she has become a distribution center for the greater Reno area.  In her email, she claimed to have had 2,000 boxes of the confections in her living room, but was now, agreeably it seems, down to 600 boxes which are slated for sale in front of Safeways, Albertsons, Smiths, Sam’s Clubs, Costcos, and anywhere else they’ll let them set up a card table and a display.  Two thousand boxes of GSUSA cookies.  That’s a lot of cookies.

Well, let me tell you, when you put this in perspective, those 2,000 boxes are just “small cookies” in the scheme of things.  Estimates are that over 200 MILLION boxes of “Thin Mints,” “Samoas,” “Tag-a-Longs,” “Lemonades,” “Shortbreads,” and other varieties are sold annually.  That’s a lot of baking, and they’re not just baked at one place.  Several large national bakeries are licensed to produce the cookies, ABC Bakeries is one and  has been doing it since 1936.  What these numbers mean is there are a lot of “Cookie Moms” out there pushing Girl Scout cookies, in an attempt to clear 600 boxes out of their living rooms.

The history of the cookie business for Girl Scouts goes back to 1917.  These “Cookie Moms” had to bake the cookies at a cost of  26 to 36 cents per seven dozen, according to an article published in the Girl Scout publication, “The American Girl,” in 1922.  The suggested retail price was 25 to 30 cents a dozen.  A profit for the troops, to say the least.  Today, the boxes of cookies sell for $4.00 and the local troop sees about 54 cents a box from the sale, I am told.  They get more as the number of boxes sold increases, but I think far from the 70% the Girl Scout website claims.

The sales record for an individual was recorded in 2008, when Jennifer Sharpe of Dearborn, MI, a 15-year-old cookie salesperson sold 17,328 boxes of cookies.  I’ll bet her living room was hard to move around in for a while.  But are the Girl Scouts actually selling most of the cookies?

In my experience, I get handed a colorful order sheet depicting scrumptious varieties of “need to have” cookies from someone at work, whose daughter, granddaughter, niece, or whatever is “selling” cookies, or I get an email with the subject line “It’s Cookie Time Again” for those interstate sales reps, telling me I don’t have to buy anything, but you know how good they are, everybody loves Girl Scout Cookies, and, as a last resort, “My daughter has to sell X number of boxes to go to camp this year.”  The guilt approach.  How can you not help some poor Girl Scout get to camp?  So I buy four boxes from this person, and six boxes from this person, and another four boxes from that person, and shell out a few bucks as I’m walking out of the grocery store.  And I have told one or two who have actually rung the doorbell, that I have already bought cookies and have a freezer full now.  Then I have to come up with money when the cookies are delivered that I have forgotten I have bought-en.

My friend claimed that her troop is putting the onus on the girls to sell the cookies and not so much on the mom’s, which I think is a good thing.  Shouldn’t the whole “It’s Cookie Time Again,” be a learning experience for young sales professionals?

And let me add that I just inhaled a box of maple cream filled sandwich cookies called, “Maple Leaf ‘Good &’ De Lish,” sold at “Walgreen’s” for a buck, actually 99 cents, that rival any GSUSA cookie I have ever eaten.  And I’m almost finished with the box of “Divine Chocolate & Caramel Truffle Cookies” under the same trademark.  The Girl Scout cookies don’t seem as good anymore.  I don’t have a freezer full of them either.  Yep, I only have four left and will have to run out to “Walgreen’s” to get some more, where I will probably be stopped on the way in, and the way out, by a bunch of green-clad sashed little girls, with “Cookie Moms” nearby, wanting me to help them get to camp this summer.   

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Okay, I’ve Had Enough


Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, photo by adwriter.

“HAZELWOOD, Mo., Aug. 18 (UPI) — A Missouri judge said a woman should have spoken further with her city about the Girl Scout cookie stand at her home before going to court.”

Okay, I’ve had enough.  Government regulation of our lives is way past a reasonable point.  It’s become intolerable.  This is a “free” country?  Ya think?.

The above story lead is a prime example.  The two teens, aged 14 and 16 were selling Girl Scout cookies from a stand at their home.  They were shut down by the city because it violated city codes.  Really?  Was the city going to lose out on their tax money?  Because, believe me, and I have experience here, the only reason the city code exists is to make sure they get whatever tax due they can from any operation that is set up at home or anywhere else it’s allowed.

Cities have regulations against having more than three garage sales a month.  Why?  Because they lose potential sales tax dollars.  They have regulations about roadside stands.  Same reason.  Oh, they’ll allow them in certain circumstances but only if you get one of their business licenses, get a sales tax permit, and subject yourself to all the regulatory fees and taxes that they can apply.  Of course they’ll tell you that the codes were written and enforced for the public good and enjoyment, but it’s all bunk.  It’s all about taxes.  Every single thing that municipal, county, state and federal codes are enacted to “protect” are aimed at protecting the tax base.

Remember how you and a friend would set up a lemonade stand on a hot summer day?  Make a few extra dollars to buy that model car you wanted.  You can’t do that anymore.  You can probably play a video game called “Lemonade Stand,” but you’ll run afoul of the authorities if you put up a card table, write-up a sign, and mix up a pitcher of “Koolaid”.  You need a business license in most communities now if the neighborhood you live in even allows for that type of use.  You’ll need to collect and remit sales tax.  You’ll need to have food service and preparation inspections.  You probably need your product tested by some authority.  You’ll need a fire department inspection for customer safety.  Probably be a requirement to get liability insurance.  All of those things cost money, translation=tax revenue.

They probably regulate paper routes, door to door seed sales, and lawn mowing.  Not that I’m suggesting most kids would even want to do that today to make a little money in the summer, but those are things we did.  Come to think of it, I haven’t had a kid ask me if I wanted my lawn mowed in 20 years.  Probably because setting up the “business” was too much of a hassle.

I wish I was exaggerating, I really do, but I don’t think I am.  I think people still do stuff like lemonade stands and lawn mowing businesses, and maybe don’t get “caught” by the authorities.  Let’s face it, budget cuts in government has affected their enforcement ability.  This has clearly, in my mind, gotten out of hand though.  Let people make a little extra money in tough times.  Let them have a garage sale every week as long as it’s not hurting anybody.  Let them sell Girl Scout cookies from their front porch.  Let kids mow lawns in the neighborhood to buy that new video game they’ve been wanting.  Just stop regulating and taxing the hell out of us.  Leave us TF alone. 

Oh, by the way, this will blow your belief in factual history.  A guy named William Canby started the rumor in 1870 that his grandmother, thirty-six years after she had died, had, in fact, sewn the first flag.  Yeah, his grandmother was Elizabeth Griscom Ross, better know to all of you as Betsy Ross.  He claimed his grandmother told him about the flag while on her deathbed when he was only 11.  He just happened to mention this at a meeting of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, so it immediately became fact.  In truth, although there is some evidence that Betsy had sewn some “ship’s colors” for the Pennsylvania Navy in 1777, there is no evidence that she was the one who put together the first United States flag.  Another historical thing you thought was gospel, but it isn’t.  Now I want to know who did sew the flag for George.

Update, August 29th, 2011.

Check out this Forbes story:    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/08/03/the-inexplicable-war-on-lemonade-stands/

 

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