Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Battle of the Girl Scout Cookie

There are many people that buy Girl Scout cookies that don't have any idea how competitive leaders can be during cookie sales. This is not said as a negative but as all out competition. Looking for great neighborhoods to sell door to door in, picking that great cookie booth, just asking everyone they know about buying cookies. We become obsessed about that wonderful chunk of sugar.
The cookie program is a well orchestrated marketing program. Cookies are only available once a year and that seems to be the best sales point. I swear people mark their calendar every year to expect little girls in their patch vests selling their cookies. I had a professor at Purdue University tells us that the cookie program is the biggest marketing coo every invented. We all go crazy for that cookie. Very few people can't name a cookie that is sold.
The interesting part is sitting back and watching troops go out and do their thing. We all have guidelines that we must follow to keep the program consistent around the country. There is a set time to take orders, deliver and even have booths. Break a rule and somebody is breaking their neck to tell the council office. Some even will complain if you are in their "territory". That is competitive.
I won't say that this is common - but it sure is fun to watch. I must admit that I tend to push my girls too. The troop makes an average of $.55 per box. Doesn't sound like much but my troop has sold over 1000 boxes our first week.
The program is intended to teach girls about managing money, managing their cookies and presenting themselves to the public. I am very comfortable talking to complete strangers and I think it may come from my cookie sales as a kid. How many young kids do you know have the guts to ask a complete stranger if they would like to buy a box of cookies? They have learned to work with hard people or people who ignore them. My favorite ploy to watch at a booth are people who won't even look at the girls as they blow by the booth. I guess lack of eye contact means no verbal contact. Just smile and say no thanks.
The theme this is year is "What can a cookie do?" Other than driving adults to craziness while selling these cookies, it does quite a bit for the girls. Try standing at a cookie booth when it's 15 degrees and snowing and see how your endurance is. My girls changed it into a marketing ploy. If you buy all our cookies, our leader says we can go home. Not a bad plan and it worked. My troop set goals and they are about to hit them. Not bad for a bunch of tweens and teens. They offer support to each other to make sure they make their goals. How many times that happen in your office?
Finally, they learn how to spend their money. Sounds pretty easy. Except you have to please the majority and there are 10 girls in my troop. They are kicking around a few ideas but nothing is certain.
The selling season has just begun. My game room is full of several hundreds of boxes of cookies. My email is full of questions from my parents. I have driven boxes all around my small little town just to add a couple more cookies to my daugthers' counts. I may be in a new area but I am already scheming ways to help my troop. I will battle it out to help my girls and hopefully not raise too many eyebrows.
Instead of being a dufus and hurrying by those young ladies asking you a simple question - stop and answer. Give a donation, buy a box for the military, stock up your freezer or say no thank you. We may be battling it out to support our troop, you are showing an example of how an adult treats a youth.

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