We came, we saw, we sold!

Posts tagged ‘girl scout cookies’

This is For The Birds

Who knew that a cookie booth could be just like an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

It all started one evening around 6:30 at a high-selling booth location.  The girls had plenty of room to roam and customers to greet.  Everything was great until the black cloud appeared on the horizon, and the bird apocalypse began.  Like the scene in World War Z where zombies scale the Jerusalem wall, the black feathered hoard came roiling toward us through the sky.  The grackle noise was annoying, but nothing compared to what lay in store.  When the flock moved from the trees in the parking lot to the roof’s edge, my partner mom and I realized we might be in for trouble.  We were.

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“Bombs” began to fall from the sky.  Exploding on cookie boxes, our storage bins, the sidewalk, and even passersby.  I hurried to the car for umbrellas and wipes while she covered the table with plastic.  Both girls hid under the awning of the store and wouldn’t come out even for a sale.

They laughed as we ran around screaming like Tippy Hedren in The Birds, but when a grackle landed a direct hit to my fellow mother’s jacket, things escalwet-ones-wipes-packated.  “Get it off!  Get it off,” she shrieked, dancing around.  Oh man, I like nature as much as anyone but bird poop is the worst.  Not even a 100+ box sale is worth this.  Finally, we demanded that our Scouts come help.  With umbrellas in hand, all spent the next 15 minutes wiping down cases, individual boxes, the table cloth and each other.  Satisfied it was clean and ready for business again, the girls went back to their posts and immediately scored a customer.  She was excited about Peanut Butter Patties and eagerly grabbed the box only to recoil with her hand covered in, you guessed it.  Amazing how people find the only one you missed.   A big apology and a few wipes later, she still bought a box, selected from a sealed case under the table.

Breathing a sigh of relief around 7:30 when the grackle offensive ended, my partner mom looked at me and said, “This is the shittiest booth I’ve ever had.”

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On my honor, I will try…

We’ve heard it all standing at Girl Scout cookie booths for the last eight years.

“Just how much money do you actually get for selling these?”

“Wow, they’ve gone up again. I remember when they were $_____.”

“I can get more cookies for a lot less in the store!”

“I don’t buy these cookies because Girl Scouts supported (insert scandal of the year).”

As that last lady began to explain in detail her issues with Planned Parenthood and Wendy Davis, my first reaction was to cover the girls’ ears but we all just stood politely and nodded until she left.

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Girl Scout cookies are fun to eat and the largest fundraiser of an organization that has been promoting the empowerment of girls and women for over 100 years. What may feel like an annoyance waiting for you outside Wal-Mart or CVS or even on your doorstep is actually one of the most multi-faceted educational experiences out there.

Many important lessons are taught through this process: learning to count change, handling multiple customers at once, employing new sales techniques, understanding proper attire for the weather, and responding graciously when customers decline. But what amazes me every year is the human relations aspect, an almost missional part of the practice. You truly come in contact with all walks of life and interact with people you might never meet otherwise. Being in their presence is what lends cookie booths their depth and significance.

“I’ve been waiting on someone to ask me and no one has. You are the first one and it’s been weeks. Thank you so much, of course I’ll buy some!” –a young man covered in tattoos and piercings.

“We got these from you in Afghanistan and it was always such a treat!” –Mike, veteran

“Girls, I would really like to buy some but I have this other habit (motions to cigarette case in his hands), one you should NEVER start, it’s a terrible thing.”

“I’d like to buy a box for the next person who comes by, here’s the money and you choose, okay?” (The next person was quite astonished when their box was free.)

“What’s your favorite flavor? Here’s a box for you and your selling partner.”

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Cookie booths are a lot of work. You haul around cases of cookies, a table, signs, your moneybox and all the accoutrement that goes on your Scout. Not to mention that in Texas in January and February the temperature may be 20 degrees or it may be 70 and it can change in the blink of eye. What you might not realize is that the girls you see at cookie booths want to be there. They’ve set a sales goal that will help them earn money to further their education and life experience.

For your part as the customer, it’s okay to say, “No.” That’s all part of sales. Just keep in mind when you pass a booth that you are part of how these girls see the world. What you share with them, monetary or otherwise will inform their view of others and society in general.

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Want to know the actual bottom line? Check out, http://www.gsctx.org/en/cookies/about-girl-scout-cookies/where-cookie-money-goes.html

For our troop, it is about $7000 a year which pays for all troop activities, materials and will be sending the girls to New York City this summer on a seven day trip.

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Thin Mints: Best Eaten Frozen

Oh, the sweet taste of success coupled with the bitter sting of winter’s breath.

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“Do you think I enjoy selling these cookies in frigid weather?” I asked Miss M as she leaned on the column, a look of agony on her face. “I would love to quit and we can, right now!” I said in my best, don’t mess with me kid voice.
Girl Scout cookie booths with a ‘tween are torturous enough without the added bonus of freezing weather. And even though I’d insisted she dress for a very “cold” booth, there was much whining, angst and frustration. At least I was nice and brought her heavy coat. But it wasn’t enough and she was freezing underneath her leggings, jeans, Uggs and three hoods. The world was ending.

 
Just as I finished my pep-talk tirade, a man came up behind us and handed me two peppermints. “Calm, down, Mamma, you look like you could use sweetening up,” he said with a smile and then, “I’ll catch you on the way out.” Wow, he looks and sounds familiar, I thought, and why do I think I’ve gotten peppermints from him before? He was back in a flash and giving Miss M a lesson on merchandising. “Hold the boxes up by your face when you talk to customers,” he was saying.

We’d parked in front of his church to sell on campus one day and he was one of our only sales. Small world and we got the evangelist. He bought cookies, chatted, and told me dirty jokes about selling GS cookies and red stiletto heels. Oh my.

 
Finally, our friends arrived to share the second shift. Thank goodness, because ‘tweens function best with a partner, if not a pack. They blinged their booth, I got them Starbucks, the atmosphere became a little more merry, for about five minutes. And then the whining was in stereo.

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Once when they spotted my fellow mother ensconced in her coat they spent another five minutes laughing uncontrollably.

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And that’s how it went, one minute laughing, one minute crying. Will this night ever end? we wondered.

 
As we were hearing “how much longer” for the thousandth time, I glanced at my phone and noticed that a friend had sent me a smiley and then another and another and another… Miss M saw me grinning and said, “What are you looking at?” “Well, someone just sent me sixteen giant smileys.” “Let me see,” she said, grabbing the phone and running over to her partner, giggling. They fell apart once again. Who knew that sixteen giant nerdy smileys and one giant rockstar smiley could be so entertaining, but it kept the girls in stitches long enough to finish the booth. “Um, thank whichever child for the smileys,” I messaged, figuring he had not sent them. But he shot back, “Damn, that was supposed to be an article about flute playing containing the word badass!” “Hahahahaha! Well, you’ve now helped us all make it through this freezing booth, we’re laughing at you, thanks!”

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Shew, it ended. The girls tore the display down faster than I’ve ever seen and had it all neatly packed in the car in no time. We even skipped counting the money and just went our separate ways.

 
And that night will live in infamy as the evening they almost froze and suffered frostbite for the love of cookies. Well, that is until next year when the story log will be renewed with yet another insufferable booth experience.

Cookies With Beer, Cookies With Wine, Cookies With…

Cookie booths are great! They offer all kinds of cultural experiences.  In honor of Girl Scout Cookie Season, here are my top ten “happenings” at a cookie booth from our last six years.

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10.  Selling 90 boxes of pity cookies at a Walgreens because it was 25 degrees that night.

9.  Running out of Carmel Delites and finding a car in the Wal-Mart parking lot with cookie magnets on it, waiting for them to exit and asking if we could trade them for a case.  They said sure!

8.  Having a customer buy an entire case at a booth.  My partner was so stunned she couldn’t give him the total cost or make change.

7.  Hearing how the man didn’t have the money because he had a bad habit he had to attend to first.  Then he waved the box of cigarettes in front of the girls and said, “Don’t ever start smoking!”

6.  Watching the looks on people’s faces when they use the old, “I don’t have any cash” routine only to be met with, “But we take credit cards!”  Many turn around and buy but plenty don’t know what to say and sort of slink off while stuttering.

5.  Having people who are blind come to your booth and hearing the girls give detailed cookie descriptions.

4.  Seeing the looks of surprise when they girls say, “Quieres comprar galletas?” And then the laughter that ensues when the moms try to say the flavors in Spanish.

3.  Having a customer buy two boxes with a $100 dollar bill and donate the rest.

2.  Hearing people try to say the “new” cookies names, Samosas, doo-si-doos, take-a-longs…

And the number one, wild cookie booth experience of all time:

1.  Being offered drugs in exchange for Girl Scout cookies.  Yes folks, they said, “We don’t have any cash on us…”  Then they held out their hand where I could see what they did have.  I thought, wow they must really think I’m some sort of super hip Girl Scout Mom.  NOT!  Of course, then I watched them go off into the parking lot and make deals, bet they had cash after that.

What are your stories from this year or cookie seasons past?  Share them with me in the comments section and let’s all have some more laughs and gasps!

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