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Why Samoas and Thin Mints strike fear in the hearts of Girl Scout parents

My three daughters recently become Girl Scouts so I knew that selling cookies was in our future. In fact, I foolishly looked forward to it. After all, what could be more American?

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Taylor Turpen, 5, advertised her Girl Scout Cookies along Indiana 67 in Anderson, Ind., Jan. 31. Taylor, with the aid of her mother Dallas Turpen, were getting good response from the passing motorists.

Don Knight, The Herald Bulletin/AP Photo

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It’s the time of year that instills dread and fear in the hearts of parents across the country. College applications? No. Winter exams? No – much more stressful. It’s the annual Girl Scout Cookie sales drive.

My three daughters recently become Girl Scouts and Brownies so I knew that selling cookies was in our future. In fact, I foolishly looked forward to it. After all, what could be more American?

But our excitement quickly waned when we found out just how many boxes the girls were expected to sell. To make matters worse, news of the incredibly high sales quotas was followed by fantastic tales of over-zealous scouts selling upward of 700 boxes each.

These had to be fish stories. Children are prone to exaggeration, right? Turns out they weren’t. Evidently, the parents of these super bionic salesgirls took the order forms to their offices and gently suggested that their subordinates make purchases.

“Uh, sure, Mr. Jenkins, put me down for 12 of your daughter’s $4.00 cookie boxes. I’ll just eliminate one of my medications so I can afford them. I’ve been meaning to try some home remedies I’ve heard about anyway.”

That wasn’t going to happen in our house. These girls needed to sell cookies the old-fashioned way, door-to-door, facing success and rejection head-on as originally intended.

We headed out on day one, eager to make a sale and finally meet those neighbors. After all, what better way to get to know them than to ask them for money? Off we went, plotting a course down our San Francisco-like hilly street, pen and lengthy blank order form in hand.

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