It is that time of year again when Girl Scouts will be knocking on doors trying to sell their signature cookies. This year they are coming out with two new additions to the Girl Scout cookie family, the Cranberry Citrus Crisp and the first gluten-free cookie, Chocolate Chip Shortbread will make the rounds as they are sold along with other classic varieties. While the new cookies are predicted to be quite popular, it will be hard to beat the best-selling Girl Scout cookie to date, the thin mint. The thin mint is made from crispy chocolate wafers dipped in mint chocolate and mint and it accounts for approximately $175 million of the profits each year.
The tradition of selling Girl Scout cookies began in 1977, when a small troupe made their own sugar cookies and sold them at a bake sale. The event grew in popularity and now the Girl Scouts sell about $700 million in cookies every year, as they have since 1999. The proceeds from the sales go back into the local Girl Scout troop that sell the cookies and may be used to fund program-related activities, or if they wish, the money may be used in a Take Action project that will help benefit the community. Through selling cookies, the Girl Scouts are learning five essential skills; people skills, business management, money management, decision-making, goal setting and business ethics.
While many praise the organization, there has been some criticism that lately that the Girl Scouts do less work, as the cookies can be sold through mobile apps. Some feel they are missing out of the important face-to-face selling experience that benefits them in their learning of people skills and how businesses work. Also, oftentimes, parents sell the Girl Scout cookies for their children and some claim it defeats the purpose of selling them altogether. Before the modern days of internet purchasing, Girl Scouts had no choice but to make their rounds by knocking on doors or calling potential customers and delivering a sales pitch. Some parents argue that teaching children up-to-date selling methods makes sense and it requires less time so the Girl Scouts may focus on schoolwork or other extra-curricular activities. Regardless of the methods used, the selling of cookies is intended to be done by the Girl Scouts and there are still a lot of scouts working very hard to make sales.
Selling can also be fun when the scouts put creativity into sales pitches, as eight year-old Girl Scout from Troop 775, Molly Donovan, has discovered. Molly explains, “when it’s near Valentine’s Day, you say they make a great Valentine’s Day present.” She also added that the pitch is effective even after Valentine’s Day.
Making a sale is hard without communication skills. 17-year-old veteran Girl Scout, Regan, knows this as she speaks of how selling has taught her how to communicate with people. This year she is back to help the younger scouts learn the same way she did through selling Girl Scout cookies. It is not just selling that is important as three other Girl Scouts from Troop 452 have discovered. They have decided to start a campaign to send five tons of Girl Scout cookies to U.S. troops serving overseas. Keirstin Hecht, Elyssa Fetzner and Kendall Hecht wish to “make the soldiers smile” by sending them the cookies as a thoughtful gesture.
For all their efforts, the Girl Scouts have made a good name for themselves and continue to teach young girls essential life skills while they make their rounds spreading little delicious treats.
By Lian Morrison