This weekend I spent 7 hours at the grocery store. Okay, not actually in the grocery store, but in front of it. Yes, that can only mean one thing…It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!
Okay, I’m not going to lie, I groaned a little just typing that. It’s not that the cookies aren’t delicious, because, let’s face it, they totally are. It’s more that way back when I stopped being a Girl Scout I felt an internal sigh of relief that I’d never sell another cookie again, only to find myself running a small cookie empire 25 years later. Never say never, right?
But unlike me, my kids think selling cookies is one of the best parts of scouting. They look forward to cookie time and actually enjoy sitting outside of grocery stores selling them. Seeing this experience through my kids’ eyes has taught me a lot, most notably, that people still don’t know how to turn down these delectable treats.
So today I’m here to tell you the secret to declining that box of Girl Scout cookies. I know this is probably odd advice coming from someone who once suggested purchasing one box from every scout you saw just so you could put them out of their misery, but bear with me because I think I have the answer. Ready?
Really, it’s that simple. “No.” Don’t get me wrong, I’d much prefer that you say “no, thank you”, but a simple, audible “no” will do.
You see, Girl Scout cookies are a business. We’re teaching the girls to know their product, market their product, and complete a sale. We’re teaching them to set goals, both on group and individual levels. We’re teaching them to budget how they spend their hard earned cookie money. They’re learning communication skills, math, and so much more. These are skills that we hope that they will apply in other areas of their lives as they mature and hold onto for years to come. While having close friends and family who eagerly say “yes!” when the scout comes calling with that multicolored order form is important, the “no” is just as important. In addition to managing their products, they also need to learn how to manage rejection. This is very hard, but a necessary lesson. Business isn’t all yeses. Life isn’t all yeses.
While we really, really want you to buy the cookies that are stacked in cases to the ceiling, filling our homes and driving our spouses crazy, when asked, you don’t need to look away from the scout asking you or over their heads or pretend you don’t see them at all. You don’t need to ignore them or pretend you speak another language. And to the man having a loud, heated debate on his cell phone as he stormed past us last weekend, we almost believed you…until your phone rang.
None of that is necessary. “No” is a perfectly fine response. Promise.
You don’t need to say yes on the way into the store and then run out the other door when you think the girls aren’t looking (they are) or tell them you’re running to your car because that’s where you keep all your money (because that’s just a bad plan if it’s true). To the people who insist that they don’t eat cookies or can’t have sugar, you are wasting your time. It might be true, but kids don’t even want to imagine a life without cookies or sugar. They just don’t believe you; your 7 year old self probably wouldn’t believe you either. And by the way, scouts are about as optimistic about your diet as you are by the end of January.
Instead, just say, “no, thank you”. Because at the end of the day, they are just little girls. If you can’t say no to them, who can you say no to?
Want to be a rock star while saying no? Hand that scout $1 as you say no. Because here’s the dark, ugly secret about Girl Scout cookies… That box that the little girl just tried so hard to talk you into? In most markets, her troop isn’t even making a $1 off of that $4 box. In a few markets, troops have actually voted to raise the price of cookies to make more per box, but chances are if you’re buying a box of Thin Mints for $4, that troop is probably making less than $1 per box. By giving a $1 donation to the troop, you’re actually giving more to that troop than if you purchased the cookies.
Sure, that $1 donation won’t help the scout reach the sales goal that she’s got pinned up on her bedroom wall or scribbled in her school notebook, but it will help her troop leader buy supplies for a meeting or provide financial assistance to a girl who might need some help covering the cost of an event or special trip that the scout’s parents may not otherwise be able to afford. Besides saving you $3 on a box of cookies you don’t want, that $1 can go far. Real far.
So when you hear the words, “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” at your local grocery store this weekend, please say yes – seriously, I need to get these 2,000 boxes out of my dining room – but if you absolutely can’t, please remember that “no thank you” is a perfectly acceptable response.