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Patch Blog: Selling Girl Scout Cookies

My name is Pete Wilgoren. I'm a dad of two little girls. These are my dadmissions.

I have a 50/50 policy when it comes to Alicia and her Girl Scout cookies. I sell fifty percent, and I eat fifty percent. Because a few things are certain when you have little girls:

No. 1 They'll want to be in Girl Scouts
No. 2 They'll want to sell a ton of those addictive cookies
No. 3 Then they'll want you to do some of the heavy lifting

When I was a little kid, my sister was a Girl Scout. She, too, wanted to sell all those cookies, and she did. She sold box after box after box of Thin Mints, Trefoils, Samoas and more.

We were a suburban cookie cartel supplying families with their fix. We had stacks of those cookies lining our dining room table in Sharon, MA. My mother would freeze those boxes for months at a time. But one year, when it came time to distribute the hundreds of boxes of cookies my sister had diligently sold, she got really sick and couldn't do it. I volunteered to do it for her. Rather, it was suggested I should do it for her. Meaning, I was forced to do it for her.

Dadmission: I was a little boy, a little Cub Scout mind you, delivering tons of boxes of Girl Scout cookies. 

They might as well have paraded me around in the sash and skirt, because it was the most demeaning thing as a little boy that I had ever experienced.

Fast forward thirty years, and they might as well stuff me in a double XL Girl Scout uniform with a daddy sash, because I am one of Alicia's secret weapons in the Girl Scout cookie battle. Only now the embarrassment I felt as a boy, has turned into a burning desire deep in my gut, to embrace the cookies and to clobber the cookie competition.

I work in a TV newsroom where no less than ten other people help sell Girl Scout cookies for their kids. It looks like a dorm room with the cookie sheets plastered all over the place, photos of each kid vying for your attention and your money. Only YOU can help Jaden, or Sarah, or Michelle. It's like a big "Save The Children" ad only instead of Sally Struthers trying to get your money, a bunch of fierce parents—including me—are trying to get your money instead.

Now in every place of business, people hate to play favorites. Each person has their own strategy for stepping carefully across the Girl Scout cookie mine field without offending their coworkers.

There's the "equal opportunity folks" who decide early on to buy one box from each person. They don't necessarily want cookies they just want to avoid the conflict of picking one person and not another.

There's the "all the eggs in one basket" folks who decide to favor just one person each year. They buy five boxes from only one person. And then say, "Sorry, I already bought from blankety blank." Next year, they'll pencil in YOUR kid if you get to them early.

And there's the "cheapskate" who says, "Sorry, I just don't buy cookies from anyone." By the way, we all know who the cheapskates are. They're the same folks who use other people's coffee creamer in the office fridge. But now that the scouts let you send cookies to the troops, you can guilt these folks even more. "Oh, you don't eat cookies I understand. Perhaps instead you'd like to send a box to the troops in combat defending our freedom in this great land." Even the cheapskates run out of excuses every once an a while.

Now in my job, there are some unwritten rules, a sort-of "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" when it comes to Girl Scout cookies. Not all these folks are running around with little Girl Scouts. They might have kids in Catholic School, or kids playing a sport, or even Boy Scouts who now sell popcorn—everyone's trying to sell something nowadays.

So we conduct a real life cookie swap.

You buy a box of Thin Mints from me with the understanding that I'll buy some holiday wrapping paper from you later.

You buy a box of Tag-alongs from me, and I'll remember to buy one of those overpriced six dollar cans of chocolate covered almonds when you bring around your sheet later.

And then there are the fellow parents of Girl Scout cookie girls. We're all beaten down and deflated, tired and worn out from dragging around the cookie sheet and the Fannie pack full of money.

In some cases, we'll swap boxes of equal value just to get extra names on the sheet. You buy a box of Do-si-dos, and I'll buy a box of Tag-alongs.

Sometimes we won't even bother with the swap. You write your name down on my sheet, I'll write my name down on your sheet and let's just keep the four dollars we would have just swapped anyway.

Eventually, I got so good at this, I could just NOD at another dad with the Girl Scout sheet. It was basically a mental conversation saying, "You know what I'm up to, and I know what you're up to, so let's just cut to the chase." I'd scribble on my sheet. They'd scribble on theirs. We'd keep our own money, and skip the formalities of swapping cookie boxes. It was clean. It was simple.

I'm basically holding down three jobs: news person, father, and part-time cookie sales and delivery person. Oh and I am also a taste tester. You might call me quality control. When Alicia has those extra boxes, we shell out the extra four bucks, and we eat them ourselves (when I say we, it's more of a royal we, meaning me). If a moment on the lips means a lifetime on the hips, then I have the world's first artificial hips made out of Girl Scout cookies.

Interested in hearing more dadmissions? Find my Facebook page HERE

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kristen Lepore (Editor) January 30, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Love Pete's truthful tales of what it's like parenting two young girls. *What are your Girl Scout selling tactics?*
Kim Lesak January 31, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Well....back in the late 70's I received an award for selling the 3rd largest amount of Girl Scout Cookies in the Northwest Suburban Council in the Chicago area...but, I do not recall actually selling one box on my own......I imagine my parents were quite the salespeople, but I got my picture in the paper........eeeek...
Kristen Lepore (Editor) January 31, 2012 at 08:47 PM
@Kim: It's interesting to me how timeless the Girl Scout organization is. You'd think it would go out of style at some point—but no, it celebrated its 100-year anniversary with a Rose Bowl float this year. And hundreds of Girl Scout applicants were vying to participate. But back to adult involvement, a good friend of mine wrote an article in 2007 about adult troop leaders and how it's a bonding experience for them as well: http://www.voxmagazine.com/stories/2007/04/19/adult-supervision-required/
Ron Rosen February 01, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Pete: Very funny article!

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