C is for…Well, You Know

One of two pallets of Girl Scout cookies in my garage.

One of two pallets of Girl Scout cookies in my garage.

I am the proud possessor of a Girl Scout. This is her sixth year as a Scout, and she belongs to a large, active troop full of highly motivated sellers, as the real estate ads put it. Last year her troop sold something like 50,000 boxes of cookies during the spring sale. My daughter, whose Scout name is Avocado (don’t ask), met her goal and sold 1200 boxes. She’s aiming, come hell, high water, and the economy, to sell another 1200 boxes this year.

Naturally, this takes something of a toll on her mother. Scouts under high school age are not permitted to sell without an adult, which is a sensible thing (we took in well over a thousand dollars yesterday, and I don’t want my leggy 13-year-old hanging downtown with that kind of cash on her person). We start out with half of our projected goal–708 boxes of cookies–and deliver the preorders, then sell like crazy, and replenish stock from the troop “cookie cupboard.” At the end of two and a half weeks, deo volente, we will have met her goals.

The dark secret of cookie sales? It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun. People are genuinely happy to see you standing there with your towers of Thin Mints. Yesterday my daughter sold Tagalongs to a woman driving by, who hailed her from a car. Money and cookies were exchanged: “drive by cookies!” Avocado crowed. You encounter people you would never have met, women who say “awww, I was a Girl Scout mumble years ago!” and businessmen whose dark-brooding-over-the-economy expressions lighten when they see cookies and an enthusiastic girl selling them.

Of course, this year, because I am insane and have a large garage, I am also the keeper of the cookie cupboard. Which means that, in addition to our own stash of cookies, we have, at any given time, something like 2000 boxes of cookies belonging to the troop, which I have to sign out. I try to keep regular cookie cupboard hours, and I try to be tough about it–otherwise I would be downstairs in my nightie at 11:30 handing out Samoas and Trefoils to wild-eyed parents with booth sales the next morning. Even so, I do get the occasional parent calling up and begging, begging to come pick up cookies. Yesterday, while Avocado and I were downtown selling on Market Street (300 boxes in three hours–not bad) I got two calls from parents who seemed to expect that I could magically provide them with cookies a l’instant, preferably by delivering them to them. Cookie sales does create a certain aura of madness.

I was told elsewhere that I am a Good Mommy for doing all this. That I **urk** out-do June Cleaver.  In fact, I’m not doing anything that the other troop mommies do. And someday, when Avocado has a daughter of her own, I’ll sit in my rocker at the Old SF Writers’ Home and cackle, softly and toothlessly, as she stacks boxes of cookies in her garage.


About Madeleine E. Robins

Madeleine Robins is the author of The Stone War, Point of Honour, Petty Treason, and The Sleeping Partner (the third Sarah Tolerance mystery, available from Plus One Press). Her Regency romances, Althea, My Dear Jenny, The Heiress Companion, Lady John, and The Spanish Marriage are now available from Book View Café. Sold for Endless Rue , an historical novel set in medieval Italy, was published in May 2013 by Forge Books


C is for…Well, You Know — 5 Comments

  1. But she will deliver Thin Mints for you to gum.

    If you can figure out a way to get them to Santa Clara, I will buy cookies for my son from you. (A campus full of hungry college students, Avocado could probably sell the entire stock out.)

  2. Hey, I am not that far out of Santa Clara…

    We have, as of this moment, sold more than half of her 1200 goal. My arms, as the joke goes, are tired. Does your son like Thin Mints or some other flavor?

  3. Do you have any idea how many years it’s been since I’ve had Thin Mints? It may date back to my daughter’s cookie-days, and she’s now 32.

    There must be some Girl Scouts around here somewhere…

  4. My son just turned twenty. He will eat anything that is not actively fighting back on the fork. Furthermore, in one week he will be heading your way (north) because SCU is going on spring break as of next week. He is planning to crash with other relatives in the East Bay and could easily swing by your place. Email me your street address, and I will send him by to scoop up cookies.