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C is for Cookie

February 2, 2012

Today, I bought Girl Scout cookies from a little girl named Katie.  I had to.  I once was Katie.

Carmel Delites are heaven

On my honor, I will try, to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and live by the Girl Scout Law.

I was a girl scout from Daisies up to Junior (previous post about scouting).  You start with a blue sandwich board-type smock, then you get the brown getup, then it’s onto kelly green.  If you make it really far, you end up back at blue.

This was me.

There were crafts and singing and games. I went to camp once.  Mostly, there were cookies.

My mom was the “Cookie Mom” – meaning we went down to the distribution center once a year with the Plymouth Voyager and loaded it up with the cookie order for the whole troop.  It was a day-long affair, with clipboards and counting.  Then they were unpacked into our living room and sorted into piles for each girl, according to what she had sold.  Then her beleaguered mother would come pick them up from us.  There was also money to account for, and prizes.  The girls would win incentives at different levels of sales.  They were never anything too exciting.  The only one I remember was the year of the Valdez oil spill, the gifts were Alaskan wildlife themed.  I got an otter stuffed animal and a tee-shirt.

The Cookie Mom’s other responsibility was training.  We had a yearly workshop on how to sell cookies.  It was not unlike the training that the salespeople go through at the car dealership I now work for:  the pitch, overcoming objections, features and benefits. It’s kind of distasteful now that I think about it.  And I can’t imagine why I ever thought trudging around my neighborhood with a wheelbarrow full of cookies in knee socks and a polyester jumper was fun.

It all started the same:  *Doorbell*  “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”  Most people were good for a box or two (this was before they were $4 each).    If they were on a diet, you were supposed to push the sugar- or fat-free option.  If you rang the Rosenstein’s door, you could boast that all varieties were Kosher.  It was also important to explain that your purchase was tax-deductible if you save your box tops!  And they’re baked with pride in the U.S.A!  There was basically no saying “no” to a ten year old me.  I was a soldier in the Cookie Army.

Then there were the booth sales.  We’d set up outside Lucky’s at 8am.  You learn you sell more in uniform.  You say “thank you” and smile at everyone, even if they don’t buy.  The girls who were really lucky had parents who took the order forms to work and came back with 100 boxes sold.

This was all quite an experience but I can’t say I learned anything.  I can’t say my troop ever saw benefits of the money raised.  The leaders volunteered, we all paid for our own uniforms, handbooks, supplies, and paid monthly dues on top of that.  It’s kind of a racket.  But it’s an institution.  And the cookies are delicious.

I’ll close with a song:

I have something in my pocket that belongs across my face,

I keep it very close to me in a most convenient place,

I know you couldn’t guess it if you guessed a long, long while,

I’ll take it out and put it on, it’s a GREAT BIG BROWNIE SMILE!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Christina permalink
    February 2, 2012 7:41 pm

    Nice post I was a girl scout too! I loved selling all the cookies when I was growing up in Brooklyn. My mom was the manager at a bakery so I would hang out there after school and sell sell sell haha. Stop by and say hi, http://saltpepperbrilliant.wordpress.com/

  2. February 3, 2012 12:13 am

    I was a girl scout too and love them cookies!

  3. February 3, 2012 12:43 am

    Um. I think we had exactly the same life.

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