Sunday, March 13, 2011


Now that we are safely exiting cookie season, I can bring the following horrible truths to a discerning public without fear of retribution from the pint-sized, green-clad scouts who torment us all. They knock on my door, they have confronted me on the job and in front of many stores, and recently I even found them in a hotel lobby.

They may sound sweet and innocent when they ask, “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” but behind their eyes you can see the venomous hatred that will flow your way should you say no.

February and March is “cookie season,” the longtime fundraising activity for the group. Folks love the cookies, and are willing to pay the not inexpensive prices because it helps a friend’s kid, or a neighbor’s kid, or a coworker’s kid, or just because those Thin Mints are so darned good.

It started out as a good thing, but seems to be devolving into nothing but controversy. Thus, it has become time to end the abomination. Say no to Girl Scout cookies (well, say no next year). They are no longer just sublime sweets and have clearly outlived their usefulness. I say this to warn you, though it puts me at great personal risk of scout-style retribution.

Earlier this year, in Savannah, Georgia, the Girl Scouts had to fight for their right to sell their famous cookies on the sidewalk in front of their founder's birthplace, because a city ordinance prohibits commercial sales in the public right of way. Civics lesson for the day: take a hike, kids! Eventually they received a “special exemption” and were allowed to peddle their treats, but we won’t know how badly the children were scarred by this event until one of them injects a lethal amount of ketamine into a box of Lemon Chalet Crèmes.

Then there were the Girl Scouts who got the idea to sell their cookies online. They’ve used YouTube, Facebook, and even their own web pages to do so, until the parents of less-creative Girl Scouts complained. Then the organization told all of the Internet entrepreneurs to cease and desist before coming up with their own brilliant plan:

Most recently, two female roommates in Florida brawled because one supposedly ate the other’s Thin Mints. Weapons included a board, a sign, and scissors. Aggravated assault was the result, and $10,000 bail. If only they had worked it out reasonably, they could have saved the bail money and bought more Girl Scout cookies!

Of course not a lot, because when we are not fighting over Girl Scout cookies we are complaining that they cost too much. The price creeps ever upward while the weight of each box slowly decreases. We’re sure that each year we get fewer cookies, but maybe we are just inhaling them more quickly.

No, the group fully acknowledges the economics of the situation. Manufacturing costs have climbed steadily upward, and they have tried to save money by reducing the packaging (they claim this is a move to help the environment, but won’t it just make it easier to inject the ketamine?) and selling fewer types of cookies.

It was another economic lesson for little girls, we are told. When seventy-seven percent of sales are just from five varieties, it was easy to blame it on the recession and make it easier on the bakers. Going into retirement this year: Dulce de Leche, Thank U Berry Munch, All Abouts, and Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip.

They don't want to have to deal with a surplus of less popular cookies, but who are they to decide? This is nothing but the food police telling us what we can and cannot eat! Some reports say it is an economic reality, others claim it is just marketing, which is another good lesson for little girls who’s career goals include teen mom or salon receptionist.

Cookie sales always take place in late winter, although I think I’ve made a good case for this being the last year that ever happens. Last fall was the first time I found Girl Scouts trying to raise money by selling nuts. Strategically placed on the calendar so as not to compete with cookie sales, the happy little girls in front of the grocery store seemed to attract more puzzled looks than serious buyers.

Girl Scout nuts: let the jokes commence.

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