I have a 50/50 policy when it comes to Alicia and her Girl Scout cookies. I sell fifty percent and I eat fifty percent. Because a few things are certain when you have little girls:
#1 they’ll want to be in Girl Scouts
#2 they’ll want to sell a ton of those addictive cookies
#3 then they’ll want you to do the heavy lifting
When I was a little kid my sister was a Girl Scout. She too, wanted to sell all those cookies, and she did. She sold box after box after box of Thin Mints, Trefoils, Samoas and more. We were a suburban cookie cartel supplying families with their fix. We had stacks of those cookies lining our dining room table in Sharon, MA. My mother would freeze those boxes for months at a time. But one year, when it came time to distribute the hundreds of boxes of cookies my sister had diligently sold, she got really sick and couldn’t do it. I volunteered to do it for her. Rather, it was suggested I should do it for her. Meaning, I was forced to do it for her.
I was a little boy, a little Cub Scout mind you, delivering tons of boxes of Girl Scout cookies.
They might as well have paraded me around in the sash and skirt because it was the most demeaning thing as a little boy that I had ever experienced. Fast forward thirty years and they might as well stuff me in a double XL Girl Scout uniform with a daddy sash because I am one of Alicia’s secret weapons in the Girl Scout cookie battle. Only now the embarrassment I felt as a boy, has turned into a burning desire deep in my gut, to embrace the cookies and to clobber the cookie competition. I work in a TV newsroom where no less than ten other people help sell Girl Scout cookies for their kids. It looks like a dorm room with the cookie sheets plastered all over the place, photos of each kid vying for your attention and your money.
Now in every place of business, people hate to play favorites. Each person has their own strategy for stepping carefully across the Girl Scout cookie mine field without offending their coworkers.
There’s the “equal opportunity folks” who decide early on to buy one box from each person. They don’t necessarily want cookies they just want to avoid the conflict of picking one person and not another.
There’s the “all the eggs in one basket” folks who decide to favor just one person each year. They buy five boxes from only one person. And then say, “Sorry, I already bought from blankety blank.” Next year, they’ll pencil in YOUR kid if you get to them early.
And there’s the “cheapskate” who says, “Sorry, I just don’t buy cookies from anyone”. By the way, we all know who the cheapskates are. They’re the same folks who use other people’s coffee creamer in the office fridge. I know because I speak from experience. I’ve been that guy before! Yes, I’ve been the cheapskate.
But I really believe most people do the right thing and try to buy those little cookies of love. They know you’re trapped as a parent. They know you have no other choice but to sell some boxes of cookies and put in a good effort. It’s basically cookie extortion or bribery or another one of those commercial crimes.
I either sell the cookies, or I go home to a very sad little girl who’ll explain why someone else in the troop is going to get all the reward prizes for selling the most cookies.
Now in my experience, there are some unwritten rules, a sort-of “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” when it comes to Girl Scout cookies. Not all these folks are running around with little Girl Scouts. They might have kids in Catholic School, or kids playing a sport, or even Boy Scouts who now sell popcorn- everyone’s trying to sell something nowadays.
So we conduct a real life cookie swap.
You buy a box of Thin Mints from me with the understanding that I’ll buy some holiday wrapping paper from you later.
You buy a box of Tag-alongs from me and I’ll remember to buy one of those overpriced six dollar cans of chocolate covered almonds when you bring around your sheet later.
And then there are the fellow parents of Girl Scout cookie girls. We’re all beaten down and deflated, tired and worn out from dragging around the cookie sheet and the Fannie pack full of money.
In some cases, we’ll swap boxes of equal value just to get extra names on the sheet. You buy a box of Do-si-dos and I’ll buy a box of Tag-alongs.
Sometimes we won’t even bother with the swap. You write your name down on my sheet, I’ll write my name down on your sheet and let’s just keep the four dollars we would have just swapped anyway.
Eventually, I got so good at this, I could just NOD at another dad with the Girl Scout sheet. It was basically a mental conversation saying, “You know what I’m up to, and I know what you’re up to, so let’s just cut to the chase.” I’d scribble on my sheet. They’d scribble on theirs. We’d keep our own money, and skip the formalities of swapping cookie boxes. It was clean. It was simple. I might actually be willing to take it a step further and just send the Girl Scout council a check. In fact I’ve been thinking a lot about this.
I’ve come up with a foolproof three-step plan, something dads of little girls everywhere can embrace, to save time and money, while still providing the much-needed funding to the Girl Scouts.
Step one: Don’t bother to bake the cookies.
Step two: I won’t bother to sell them.
Step three: I’ll just send you a check for the trouble.
Sound like a deal? OK maybe not.
Now some might take offense to the idea of just giving the scouts money citing the fact that the girls learn life lessons in the Girl Scout cookie battle. I want my kid to get her badge as much as anyone! Last year she was one of the top sellers, she got the cookie badge, and a bunch of rewards. And yes, I was a very proud dad. She did a lot of the work, from making phone calls, to writing thank you letters. But there’s gotta be an easier way than stuffing our car full of cookies and then peddling them across California. I for one, think the Girl Scouts owe each dad and mom a commission. I’m basically holding down three jobs, father, part-time cookie sales, and delivery person. Oh and I am also a taste tester. You might call me quality control. When my daughter has those extra boxes, we shell out the extra four bucks, and we eat them ourselves. (when I say we, it’s more of a royal we, meaning me). If a moment on the lips means a lifetime on the hips, then I have the world’s first artificial hips made out of Girl Scout cookies.