10 Things I Learned Selling Girl Scout Cookies

by Christina Antus
CatLane / iStock

When I signed my daughter up for Daisies, it was mostly because it was only twice a month and I didn’t have to stick around (yep, I’m that mom). When February rolled around, they told us that cookie selling would be low-stress, no pressure, whatever you can sell. The cookie mom gave us 20 cases of cookies with a “they sell themselves” speech, winter gave us the stomach flu, and society gave us women who take actual U-Haul’s to pick up pallets of cookies.

I had two weeks to ditch 230 boxes of cookies. No pressure at all.

Here’s what I learned:

1. The first two weeks of sales are critical.

This is when everyone is anticipating cookies, but no one has them yet. Sadly, you will never know your full selling potential when everyone in your house gets the stomach flu — twice, because sharing is caring. By the time you get out there and hit the pavement, everyone already has cookies, and no one wants any more because, as everyone will tell you, no one needs them anyway. Besides, Keebler makes Samoas and sells more in a package and all year round. They’re called Coconut Dreams. It’s the same cookie (you’re welcome).

2. Cookies and flu don’t mix well.

I took an extra case of Tagalongs because I have loved them for as long as I can remember — even as a Brownie when I sold them myself. That’s 12 boxes of cookies I planned to freeze and enjoy through the summer. I ate six cookies, and four hours later, I got the stomach flu. After spending five hours throwing them back up (peanut butter doesn’t come back up as easily as it goes down), I hope I never see another one of these things as long as I live. Obviously, I didn’t end up buy the case, just the one box that’s still full of Tagalongs because I ate out of it and everyone in my house is afraid to touch it. The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

3. I enjoy eating them more than selling them.

Ask me to eat Trefoils with whipped cream and caramel, and I won’t even wait for you to finish your sentence. For every door I knocked on, it was five minutes I could have used to eat cookies.

4. Hardcore cookie moms are a force to be reckoned with.

These women are excited. They are dedicated. They are not who you want to go toe-to-toe with when it comes to cookie competitions. Every year, they turn into this unstoppable force of cookie pandering to the masses. They wear comfortable shoes and have booths decorated so nicely they make the Kardashians seem drab. They have cookie samples to lure you in and a smile you can say no to, but won’t. “No” is simply not an option. Hell, we had 230 boxes of these things to sell, and even I bought some from other troops.

5. My 6-year-old has no entrepreneurial spirit after 15 minutes.

She was all for it until we hit seven houses who wanted no cookies.

“Let’s go home and play Legos, Mom,” she said. “I’m tired.”

“You’re 6,” I said. “How can you be tired already? Everything on your body is still mostly new.”

So really, until your kid is old enough to be motivated by winning something, you’re responsible for hustling the cookies, and the cookies only hustle as fast as the hustler.

6. I have no entrepreneurial spirit — ever.

I don’t hustle. I settle. That’s how I roll. It’s easy. My husband is the family hustler. Not me. He is the guy who will wheel and deal his way from a 20% discount down 5% to 10% more. Not because he wants it for less, but because he knows he can get it for less. So, I think I just figured out my 2018 cookie selling plan.

7. Like me, my husband also has a secret food stash.

And somewhere in our house are 12 boxes of S’mores cookies hidden really well.

8. It’s not possible to eat just one cookie.

Sure, you can space the cookies out over the day to tell yourself you’re only having one. But when you finish three boxes by noon, it’s still three boxes worth of cookies. The problem with having cases of cookies in your home is you’ll “just buy the one box.” Before you know it, you’ve contributed to about 48 boxes of your child’s inventory.

9. People don’t think twice about dropping 4 bucks a pop for cookies.

It was kind of surprising to me how people didn’t seem to care how expensive the cookies were. I mean we have to buy some, she’s our kid, and we are morally obligated to purchase anything we eat. When people asked how much they cost, they just went to find money. I felt a little bad asking them to spend so much on something that was worth maybe $1.99 if you compared them to grocery store brands. I mean, they’re not that good. Still, they dished it out without question. Maybe it’s for the cause or the tradition — I don’t know. I honestly would have had a harder time selling quality European chocolate bars for a dollar than I did selling $4 boxes of butter cookies — which you can get a tin of 50 at Costco for the same price (you’re welcome).

10. I don’t want to be the cookie mom — ever.

I had a hard enough time keeping track of what we sold with my tally marks on the back of receipts and bills scattered all over the train wreck that is my kitchen counter. I am not organized enough for this job.

In the end, we didn’t sell all 230 boxes. I felt a little bad when I turned them back in, but I did it early enough so that they could sell them at booth sales. I did consider just buying what we had left over, but I was unsuccessful in convincing my husband it was the right thing to do. My guess is he has only the one hiding spot, and it’s obviously still full, or he would have bought more.

Still, at the end of the day, we sold about half. Okay, maybe less than half, but we sold enough to make me feel better about how many days those things rode around in the back of my car before they didn’t get sold. Next year, we’ll start early, assuming we don’t get the flu again. Until then, I have plenty of Samoas and S’mores to eat. I also have a half-eaten box of Tagalongs if anyone wants them.