A taste for learning

Cookie sales teach Girl Scouts valuable skills

Girl Scout cookie-selling season as we know it – with young girls manning tables at local
retailers and other sites – is nearing an end next month.

This year, there was a new wrinkle that was a bonanza for the Scouts: Raspberry Rally, a cookie with a fruit spread wrapped in a chocolate coating. Demand was so high, according to the Washington Post, that after the flavor was released for online sales only on Feb. 27, it sold out nationwide within hours.

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“We saw unprecedented demand for Raspberry Rally, which sold at an astronomical pace,” a Girl Scouts spokesperson said, though the organization declined to provide a specific number of boxes sold. So prized is the new flavor, it is selling for as much $40 a box on eBay, the Post reported.

But those sales didn’t necessarily make the Girl Scouts organization happy. Its argument is that selling outside the organization defeats the purpose of the tradition, since proceeds don’t benefit troops and some online sellers charge five to six times the normal cookie price.

“While we are happy that there’s such a strong demand for our cookies year over year,” the Girl Scouts said, “we’re saddened that the platforms and the sellers are disregarding the core mission of the cookie program and are looking to make a profit off of the name without supporting our mission and the largest girl-led entrepreneurship program in the world.”

At the usual $5 a box for all but two flavors, the cookies are a significant contributor to Girl Scouts everywhere. Along with a financial benefit, they learn skills from selling that include goal setting, money management and people skills, according to the organization’s website. And 76% of the cost of each box is reinvested in the local troops.

Cookie sales have been a large part of the organization’s legacy since 1917, when a group of Scouts sold batches of cookies they’d made themselves to raise money, according to the Girl Scout website. From there, Scouts eventually manned sales tables in their regions, and anyone can tell you how hard it is to face an ambitious and earnest young trooper and say no to Thin Mints or Do-Si-Dos.

Since online sales began nearly a decade ago, the Scouts have made it easy for the public to get their hands on its products. The organization’s Digital Cookie Platform allows customers to simply provide an area code for direct shipping.

But what’s also important to note is that some of the funds earned by Girl Scouts troops go back into local communities. Members have mailed holiday cards to senior living centers, helped people register to vote and donated boxes of cookies to the homeless, according to the Eating Well blog.

Scouts in Texas made 3D face shields for frontline workers during the pandemic. Another troop donated $1,000 from cookie sales to biomedical COVID research at the Gladstone Institutes.

If that’s not a recipe for success – not to mention the public good – we don’t know what is.

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