Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Things I've Learned Selling Girl Scout Cookies

Our Girl Scout cookie sale starts Thursday here in Spazland and we're ready to go. This will be Munchkin's 8th year selling cookies and over the years I've learned a few things about Girl Scout cookie selling. So that's what today's Top Ten Tuesday is all about... The Top Ten Things I've Learned Selling Girl Scout Cookies.

1. Thin Mints are kind of like crack. People will cut a bitch for the last box of Thin Mints at a booth. I am freaking out just a little bit because I only have 2 cases (24 boxes) of Thin Mints for Munchkin's first booth on Thursday. Samoas and Tagalongs are pretty popular, too, but nothing like the Thin Mints. If you've ever had to stand on one side of a card table and tell someone who has been waiting all year for Thin Mints that you are sold out, you know what I mean. People can get angry.

2. People like to tell stories. And not just Girl Scout related stories. People just like to talk, I guess. I've heard about upcoming operations, recent travel experiences, irritating relatives, and more. I suppose a Girl Scout mom behind a table is sort of a captive audience. Usually the stories will start out somehow relating to cookies ("I can't eat them because I'm a diabetic") and then launch into a full diatribe of non related information ("My doctor told me to walk more so I've been walking every night and it's really been irritating my left foot so I just bought some new Dr. Scholl's insoles.") This happens. And I have to pretend to care.

3. People would rather buy cookies from tiny Girl Scouts. Munchkin used to clean up at cookie booths. Our troop would earn enough money from selling cookies to do awesome end of the year trips to places like Sea World and the Nickelodeon Hotel. No one could say no to their little pigtails and toothless grins. Now that our girls are in their teens, people pass them by without a second look.

This is something I actually find kind of surprising and I'll tell you why. It's easy to be a Girl Scout when you're 5 years old. All your friends are Girl Scouts and you get to do crafts and go on fun little field trips. But when you're in middle school and your friends stop thinking it's cool to be a Girl Scout and maybe you'd rather spend your Saturday at the movies with a boy instead of planting trees at a nature preserve - well, then it's a little harder to keep up with being a Girl Scout. So when I see a Girl wearing that tell tale beige vest that says she's an older scout, I have a little more respect for her. She's making choices for her life that aren't the easiest, but she feels that they're the best. Those are the girls I want to donate my money to.

4. People are rude. Our girls are working hard. They're keeping their smiles on, they're trying to be polite and happy even when they're tired and often cold. If you don't want to buy the cookies, don't buy the cookies. But don't ignore them. They're not going to chase you down and demand anything from you. A simple "No, thank you" is just fine and much nicer than you looking at your phone the whole time you walk by our booth or practically running the other way.

But sometimes it's even worse than that. I've had people angrily accuse my daughter of charging too much for cookies (she didn't set the price, y'all), get upset with her because they run into Girl Scouts at all the stores, and the ultimate was when a grown man made a friend's daughter cry as he launched into a profanity laced tirade about how she was too old to be selling cookies (she was 14). I try to teach Munchkin to let that stuff roll off her back, but it's hard and it keeps her from wanting to sell cookies in the future. Selling cookies teaches our girls how to deal with rejection and keep on going - but that's a tough lesson for a little girl.

5. Walmart is not a good place to sell cookies. Going back to #4, Walmart shoppers are the rudest of the rude. They will curse in front of our girls, ignore them, laugh at them, and even stand at the booth smoking a cigarette and blowing smoke in their faces. Munchkin and I have done probably three Walmart booths in all the years we've sold cookies and every time I forgot how bad it was the time before. We don't have any Walmart booths this year and I'm thankful.

6. Math is hard. You'd think Munchkin and I would have every way to make change in our heads at this point, but I still find myself fumbling over math at booths. You want 6 boxes? Uh..... that's $24. You're giving me $30?? Um....

Yeah, I totally get it right in the end but at 8:52 pm on a Friday night when I'm just trying to get Munchkin through the next 10 minutes and I've been doing my 4x tables all night, I tend to fumble it up a bit. I'm sure I look like an idiot.

7. Girl Scout cookies were only 25 cents back in the day. Or a dime, or a dollar, or maybe they baked them in their ovens at home and carried them piping hot to their neighbors house and sold them for a nickel. I seriously have heard these stories a thousand times. I simply nod my head and say "Wow!" and take their money. When I sold cookies they were $2 a box and I remember hearing the same stories as I pulled my red wagon door to door to sell. Give it a rest, we all know about inflation now.

8. People are very loyal to "their" Girl Scout. Or maybe it's just an excuse. I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone tell us that they can't buy from us because their neighbor/niece/granddaughter would kill them. As if Girl Scouts are wielding Louisville Sluggers and kicking other Girl Scouts off their turf. I'm pretty sure little Hannah will forgive you if you buy a box of Trefoils from another Girl Scout. Again, just say "No, thank you" and we'll all move on with our day.

9. It takes a lot of cookies to earn enough for our girls to do anything. We get about 60 cents a box. So if our girls want to do one of those big trips at the end of the year they're looking at a 400 box minimum to pay for it. 400 boxes of cookies costs $1600. That's a lot of revenue to bring in and a lot of cookies to hock. Consider making a donation directly to the troop if you don't want to buy the cookies. That would mean the world to the girls.

10. Typically, parents sell a lot more cookies than girls do. This isn't the case for Munchkin really, but I see it with the other girls in our troop. Cookies brought to a place of business sell like hot cakes. Since The Man works in an office with only two other employees and I work from home, we don't really have this situation and Munchkin has to work a lot harder to keep up with the other girls. She does a great job with booths and family sales to compensate and she's never really the top seller in our troop, but since I know Munchkin is the one doing all of the sales I couldn't be prouder of her.

I know a lot of areas have been selling for a while already (I've been selling a lot of this shirt, have you seen any around?) and a lot of areas haven't started yet. To those of you that take the time to buy a box or two (or five) or donate to the troop or send cookies to the Military, thank you so much. Every sale does help a girl in your community and every sale brightens up that girl's day just a little bit more.