It’s not just the start to the New Year; it is also the start to one of the most anticipated annual events, circled in red on calendars in homes across America. I’m talking about Girl Scout Cookie sales. Personally I didn’t have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout when growing up, so when my daughter reached the age to join I jumped on that wagon with both feet. I was very excited to allow her to participate in such a wonderful organization and even more excited about the upcoming cookie sales
I had dreamt of the day when my precious daughter would proudly don her little vest adorned with the badges she had earned and go door-to-door selling cookies. I would help her deliver the cookies by stacking them in the little red wagon that sits empty in my garage, waiting. I would assist in the cookie booth outside the local store and watch my daughter with her friends, greeting strangers and proudly selling these delicious treats.
What I did not anticipate was the cutthroat nature of selling cookies. The other moms who had previously been so generous and kind became ruthless, selling machines intent on their child having the highest sales number. When asked how many boxes my daughter had sold thus far a few weeks into sales, I proudly stated 102—pretty darn good in my opinion.
But to the Cookie Moms, I am a failure as a human being. Their true nature came out as they boasted about selling over 350 boxes and plans for selling more, and snarled over territories. They scoffed at others who allowed their child to do the selling, muttering “amateurs” under their breath while texting family, friends and small businesses to let them know that sales were still on.
That is when I realized, participating in Girl Scout Cookie sales is an awful lot like being a small-time drug dealer, not that I have had that experience. It just seems that way from what I’ve seen in movies, and here are six reasons why:
1. Once you begin selling, you are immediately and repeatedly warned that you better turn in all your money to “the Cookie Mom,” or else. When your precious daughter begins to sell the goods, you are required to sign a legal document stating that you are responsible for all monies collected. I am not sure if they will turn you in to collections or break your knees; all I know is I am a little scared to find out.
2. You do not try to work an established Cookie Mom’s area of business. She has been working that circuit hard for the past six years and has established herself as the dealer of choice, so you better step off or risk getting cut.
3. You better know your stuff. Thin Mints? Yes, they are vegan, but they are also the same as the past years’ cookies—they have always been vegan. The price? Yes, it has gone up but only by 50 cents a box, and it is still well worth the price ‘cause this is the primo shiz. They are in high demand so get them while you can because there is no guarantee I will have these next time I see you.
4. You signal to people that you sell Girl Scout cookies and tell them to meet you in the empty parking lot behind Walgreens after work. Sometimes strangers who are looking for a fix show up with your invited customer. Eventually you figure out that you are known by many as “the Cookie Lady.” Word on the street that you are pedaling the goods gets around, and anyone who needs to know already does.
5. You make a promise to yourself before you get that first box in your hands that you will not dip into your stash. But when they arrive, you end up hiding in the closet with the light off while the kids are watching TV in the next room. You brush your teeth afterward to try to rid of the telltale sign that you cracked open a box before realizing you just ate the equivalent of the cable bill at which point you admit that you have a problem.
6. You find that if you offer a free sample, your customer base begins to grow exponentially. Those who try the sample get hooked immediately and eventually begin to dabble in other flavors. Eventually they buy in bulk to save for a rainy day; however, after a stressful day at work, they overindulge by ingesting entire lines of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting.
Try not to jump to conclusions when you see a friend or co-worker slouched down in a car with tinted windows, a hoodie cinched around their face and wearing oversized sunglasses, while parked in a mostly empty parking lot. Even though you may have witnessed them palming a $20 to a total stranger before grabbing something out of their trunk, immediately tucking it under their coat, and darting back to their car, keep in mind it’s very likely they are getting their Girl Scout cookies fix before they head home and pretend it never happened.