Picture it: Los Angeles, 1988. A young girl sits at her Girl Scout troop meeting. The troop leader goes over all important issues Girl Scouts’ face (badges, camp trips, community service), before making the important announcement – it’s the start of Girl Scout cookie time! Sure, the troop leader says it like it’s a good thing, but the little girl knows the truth. She goes through the stages of grief, staying in denial as long as possible, before finally accepting that it was going to be a rough month or two.
Yep, that girl was me. I was a Girl Scout all through elementary and middle school, and even a couple years in high school. There were so many things that I loved about scouting, but Girl Scout cookie time was not one of them. I hated it actually. I mean, the cookies were good (still are), but selling them sucked. Big time.
Why did selling cookies suck so much? One word – Boothing. Boothing is when you set up a table, or booth, outside of a local grocery store, drug store, or any other place where you might possibly be able to sell cookies. You then stand there for hours on end peddling said cookies to anyone who will stop and listen. Lately, boothing seems to be common practice, but back in 1988, not everyone did it. Or maybe it just wasn’t popular where I lived. Of course, I’ve been out of the game so long, they might call it something else now.
My mom was our troop’s “Cookie Mom” so she was responsible for setting up boothing opportunities for other scouts to sell their cookies. If she couldn’t find someone to sit and oversee the booth, then it meant that she had to go, which meant I had to go and sell more cookies. Ugh. What was novel the first week of Girl Scout cookie season quickly grew old after, oh, say…4 straight weeks.
Weekend after weekend we sat and sold cookies. Sounds easy, right? Well, as it turns out, those cookies don’t always sell themselves. People balked at the price of the box of cookies, which was $2 at the time. ‘Cause you know, that a 10 year old sitting out in front of the grocery store set the price. I wish I could go back and tell those people that they are getting a deal, compared to the cookie prices of today. Even better, people would try to negotiate the price. Again, a 10 year old doesn’t hold any negotiating power on behalf of the Girl Scouts. A few people ran from us. Seriously? I was 10, why are you running from me? I guess they thought that if we couldn’t catch them, then they didn’t have to buy cookies. Many of the people who would stop long enough to find out what we were selling would then lie to us. If I could only tell you how many people said they would buy only to be found sneaking out the other entrance (while watching us to make sure we didn’t see them). Once, a lady even critiqued my outfit. What does that have to do with anything?
It got so bad that I made a vow that when I was older I would buy a box of cookies from every booth that I came across. If only I could go back and explain to my 10 year old self that the cost of a box of Girl Scout cookies would go up to $4.00. To this day, I just can’t say no. I may want to, but I can’t. I bought 8 boxes last weekend alone. I. Just. Can’t. Stop. As long as the booths are out there, I will buy.
So the next time you see a Girl Scout selling cookies just buy a box. Or if you really, really don’t want them, a simple “no thank you” will suffice. Please save some other little girl from making a vow like I did.
Now I’m off to eat a few cookies…we’re not going to run out anytime soon.