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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cookie Monster Time!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved to pay off Girl Scout Collection Agency

In any other country if we saw little children peddling chocolate bars door to door so the band can march in the Miss Black Eyed Pea Festival, they would become the new poster child for ending child labor.

Selling products to make money for your child's school has somehow escaped the child labor laws of this country. How many times have we been met at the door by a big eyed waif and the bedraggled parent waving a catalogue of chocolate covered nuts, popcorn, gift boxes, and soap on a rope, all pictured in bright colors and ten times larger than the actual objects? And who wouldn't want to help the school band make it to the Black Eyed Pea Festival?

We never stop to ask and "What percentage of this outrageously priced chocolate bar actually goes to the Black Eyed Pea transportation fund and how much goes to pay for the CEO's condo in Maui?" But now I do.

One time I tried to figure how much the "proud partner with schools" corporation was making off the backs and strollers of school children and their parents. There is no minimum wage paid to the little sales people. The "sales force" is paid in glow-in-the-dark key chains, Frisbees, and stuffed animals, all made in a foreign country. And not every sales child gets one. Most have to sell a quadrillion items to qualify for the stuffed animal. Or, the latest ploy "every child who sells even one item has their name entered in an electronic drawing with the rest of the world for an AM hands-free radio." At least the Boy Scouts let you know up front what percentage of the popcorn sales is going to their troupe.

And now it is time for the annual Girl Scout Cookie Sale. I now understand why Sesame Street has a Cookie Monster. Must have missed the Girl Scout Cookie quota!

I am not surprised that in keeping with the shrinking dollar, so have the size of the cookies and the number of cookies in a package. Still, like eating turkey once a year at Thanksgiving, we will purchase our annual fix of Girl Scout Cookies if for no other reason than to help that little Brownie or Girl Scout earn her cookie badge and to try for the coveted "charm" for most cookie sales by a girl scout. Still, it makes you wonder how little Angelina Marie, age 6, could manage to sell 2,573 boxes of cookies all by herself and still go to school five days a week. Me thinks there may be family connections there, selling cookies on behalf of little Angelina Marie!

I know the rationale behind selling cookies: teaches confidence, business sense, advertising, teamwork, money management, targeting audience, tracking inventory, profit margin, but I believe I learned all that with my Kool-Aid stand and I only charged 5 cents a glass.

After applying all my business sense, figuring gas mileage, time spent, and interest paid on my Bass Pro Shop issued Visa credit card, I will come out ahead if I buy 8 cases of cookies myself. Then I can teach my Kool-Aid business skills to my ten-teen by setting her up a stand on the side of the road to peddle her Girl Scout cookies.

Course it will be just like the government to ask for a business license, health certificate, IRS WD 40 form, building inspection, and permit to operate a business in a residential area.

But I won't be guilty of violating child labor laws!


mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Ah yes...selling for the school, selling for the guides, selling for the day care, selling for the pee wee hockey team....etc etc etc etc...etc. When I worked we had one table devoted to these "sales" where parents could dump catalogues and boxes of chocolate covered almonds etc...I believe they did a pretty good business.

Joanne said...

Our local girl scout council is attempting to close camps to cut costs. Their budget figures are questioned by other interested experts. The girl scouts are voting with their feet and refusing to sell cookies. Should be interesting.

Jody Worsham said...

Good for them! Last year I offered to pay postage if a customer would buy a box of cookies for a service person. Shipping cost as much as the cookies!

Sharon said...

Great story, Jody. You nailed it. No one has come to my door for a long time. I now get my GS cookies in the Walmart and ACE. It seems to be parents selling while the girls chase butterflies around the parking lot. What are they learning about operating a business?

Joanne, keep us posted on the outcome of the cookie strike.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

When my girls were in gymnastics, "I" sold everything from M&Ms to plants, baked cakes and cookies and washed cars all to send my children to places like Australia, Hawaii, and the Bahamas to perform. I, on the other hand, seldom got out of town. Not sure I taught them any lessons except to show the extent to what a parent will go through to give their child an opportunity.

Jamie said...

I haven't seen in girl scouts out on the street corners around here as of yet. As a former girl scout myself, I always feel the tug to support a fellow keeper of the thin mints and green sash. But I hated doing it. LIke you said, I was competing with friends whose grandfather would fill his freezer with her cookies. (And I did think the boxes were getting smaller.