We are a house divided. Our common ground: a green nine-ounce box we keep in the freezer door. Otherwise The Hubby goes his way and I mine.
Girl Scout cookies, it’s that time of year again. When you decide not which cookies to buy — Samoas or Savannah Smiles? Thin Mints or Tagalongs? — but how many boxes of each and who should have first dibs on the cookie budget. I love the lemony-wedge of the Savannah Smiles, a cookie introduced after my daughter sold boxes door-to-door almost three decades ago. The Hubby holds down the fort for the coconuty caramely Samoas. I think we should order enough Savannah Smile boxes to keep me happy throughout the year. He…well, he has his own priorities.
This year our eldest grandchildren, second-grade twins, are selling cookies, and you know what that means for the rest of us: adding a few pounds around the hips for a good cause. It also translates into hitting up friends and co-workers, who have their own preferences. (Among my group, Thin Mints is by far the favorite, with Samoas and Tagalongs neck-in-neck for second place.)
Just when I thought I was out of the fundraising business, the twins have come along with startups of their own. As soon as I step through the front door, they come running to me with the project of the moment, flapping a catalog and an order form.
Turns out I’m not done buying wrapping paper and plastic gelatin molds. Maybe I never will be. It is the curse — and the beautiful, beautiful blessing — of having members of your large family living nearby.
Girl Scout cookies have come a long way since my daughter’s time. Last year the organization allowed Internet sales for the first time. This year Visa and Dell have invested money to help the Girl Scouts update the organization’s digital cookie platform. Girls can now take in-person orders on a mobile app or tell cookie eaters about their personalized websites. Surely a sign of the times.
Yet the purchase of Girl Scouts cookies remains a tactile experience for me. I want to see the girls in their uniforms, see their smiles when I order. I want to stuff my face with Thin Mints before anyone else in the household does.
The Girl Scout cookie program is designed to help scouts develop business skills for the future: goal-setting, decision-making, money-management, business ethics. It says so right on the side of each box. On the other side it lists nutrition facts, but I avoid perusing that. (Why subject myself to guilt?)
Online there’s been some blowback about the annual cookie sale. Some complain that having parents sell their daughters’ boxes with Facebook posts and email blasts is defeating the purpose of the campaign. True to a point, but this is called networking, and it’s invaluable in business and in life.
Taking the twins on their door-to-door sales around my neighborhood will certainly teach them a lot. But I’ve also learned a few things by tagging along. (Pun intended.) First, cute sells. Second, you gotta strike before the other girls. (Early bird closes the deal.) And lastly, I’d be terrible at sales.
Not because I don’t like knocking on doors. Not because I can’t weather rejection. Not because I lack enthusiasm and stamina, either.
Simply, I fear my lack of control. I’d sample too much of the product before selling it all.