Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Girl Scout Apprentice

I am not a big fan of people knocking on our door. I don't care if they are wearing brass knuckles or Girl Scout sashes. I will bark ferociously and drive them away. Some are more tenacious than others. But eventually, my powers prevail and they slink off. 
My people seem to think that my services are not needed. They make me lie down quietly in my bed when people come over. So I must resort to my secret weapon: my laser eyes. My amber gaze drills into their frontal lobes,  controlling their minds -- GO AWAAAY. It may take a bit longer but, in the end, off they go.  
I shouldn' t share this next bit - but you don't know our address so you won't be stopping by... Food is my kryptonite. If you offer me a treat, it is as though a puppeteer is yanking my strings. Sit? Down? Shake? Yes! Yes! YES!

It is really embarassing. 
This year, we have gotten no firewood salesmen, no cookies pushers or giftwrap guilters at our door. My Susan had to track down a Girl Scout at her school where they congregate. 
Girl Scout cookies!
Q: What are the best-selling Girl Scout Cookies?
A: The biggest sellers are:
  • 25% Thin Mints
  • 19% Samoas®/Caramel deLites®
  • 13% Peanut Butter Patties®/Tagalongs®
  • 11% Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®
  • 9% Shortbread/Trefoils
The other varieties combined account for the remaining 23%. More Girl Scout Cookie FAQs
Take a guess at my favorite.  Tagalongs® or Do-si-dos® do nicely. Sadly, the rest of the family prefers Thin Mints and Samoas® which contain chocolate so no go pour moi.
Lately, something is changing in Girl Scout Land. No longer limited to the field of friends, family and neighbors, Girl Scouts are everywhere, selling with wide-eyed ferocity. At the coffee shops, in the malls, on the street corners... They work in pairs, pushed forward by efficient, helicopter moms whispering, "Work the sale, don't take a 'no', dew up your eyes, tilt your head up, tell them what the money is for, tell them they can leave the cookies with us and just make a donation,  remind them the cookies will keep beautifully for months in the freezer..."

They should get these mother/daughter teams on Donald Trump's Apprentice. They would clean up.
You might imagine this change in sales commitment means troops are making more than a mere 35-70 cents per box of cookies. There has been press that this new momentum comes from a change in Girl Scout cookie policy: Troops can no longer return partial cases. So parents are left paying for any cookies not sold, if the case is opened. Suddenly it begins to cost the parents more than time and words of encouragement, "Call Grandma, she'll buy some Thin Mints..."
But does this really explain the change in sales tactics? How much are we talking about? Even if a local troop is clearing the full 20% of proceeds - that is only $8.40 per case of money raised for the troop. Some troops across the nation only get 10% - that's $4.40 for selling 12 boxes.

If that is the cost of selling a case, why wouldn't the parents of a Girl Scout just write a check to their troop and skip Saturdays hawking cookies? If they were feeling generous, they could donate the other 50% ($21.00)  of proceeds back to their local Girl Scout council and spend their free time with their Girl Scout at an art museum or hiking in the woods. 
But, of course, Girl Scouts also believes it is important to have young girls learn entrepreneurial skills, the backbone of American society. See what the Girl Scouts say about cookie sales and lifelong learning skills.

My Susan felt the full power of these skills, wielded like a set of Ninja throwing stars by a sales team of two Girls, a Mother and a droopy dad hauling cases with a moving dolly. They were working the local coffee shop.
Girl: "Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?"
Susan: "No, thank you, I am not looking for cookies. I am waiting for my family." She was thinking of the boxes of Girl Scout cookies already consumed. The cookie season needed to pass.
A short pause, as the Girl accessed her mental branching response chart. The Mother nudged her forward. Susan moved away quickly, leaving the coffee shop to wait in the outer hall. She heard the patter of pursuing footsteps. She ducked behind a corner. The Girl followed.

"You could make a donation and leave the cookies with us!" the Girl said, eyes flashing.

"Hmmm..." said Susan, trapped and annoyed,"What is this cookie money used for?" That would stump her. The fundraising neighbor boys always mumble, "I dunno."

The Girl grinned, she knew this one, "All the proceeds benefit Girl Scout programs. Our troop is raising money for a trip to Afton Alps. We are also donating a portion to Our Troops Abroad!"

"How long have you been a Girl Scout?" Susan asked, stalling. Then she became aware that she was alone in a dim hallway, asking probing questions of a young girl.

"One year. It is fun!" the Girl replied, practically tapping her foot.

"Well... I don't have much cash --"

"You can write a check!"

"...Here's two bucks - that would be about what your troop would get if I bought three boxes..." Susan handed her the bills reluctantly.

The Girl cocked her head and said without a pause, " I was really thinking $30."

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