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Got Cookies?

Girl Scout cookies go on sale Thursday. Time to stock up!

It’s time to sell the cookies.

Well, almost. Actually, if I sold the cookies to you today, I’d have my hands slapped. Or something like that. Anyway, I know it’s against the rules.

But, as of Thursday, selling begins full force. Girl Scout cookies are back!

Beginning January 19, Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes and Seniors in our area will be out in force, ringing doorbells and selling the Thin Mints, Samoas and Shortbread cookies they’re famous for. Take note—that does include my daughter, Libby. And yes, we deliver.

For those who aren’t home often, there will be Cookie Booths set up all over the area, including outside area grocery stores, restaurants and even inside the Deptford Mall. Let’s face it—when it comes to the temptation of Girl Scout cookies, there’s no escape.

And why would you want to? Girl Scout cookies have been providing a delicious source of income for scouting troops ever since 1917, when the Mistletoe Troop of Muskogee, OK, sold Christmas cookies door to door. Apparently sales were good, because in 1922 The American Girl, an official magazine of the Girl Scouts, suggested selling cookies as a fundraising project. Recipes were even provided for those troops still working on their cooking badges.

But the first official Girl Scout cookie drive was held in 1933 in—where else?—Philadelphia. No surprise there. What else would you expect from the city that brought us independence, the nation’s first zoo and that string of Rocky movies?

It did surprise me to learn that the first Girl Scout cookie, sold in the window front of a Philadelphia utility company, wasn’t a Thin Mint. It was a sugar cookie.

We didn’t sell sugar cookies back when I was a Girl Scout, but there were plenty of Thin Mints, shortbread cookies (which we called Trefoils at the time) and a peanut butter sandwich cookie that we knew as a Savannah. They were named for the hometown of Juliette Gordon Lowe, who founded the Girl Scouts 100 years ago this year. Later these cookies were called Do-Si-Dohs. I have no idea where that name came from, or what they’re called now. We call them peanut butter sandwiches, to distinguish them from the chocolate covered peanut butter cookies known as Tag-a-longs.

Hungry yet?

Back when I was a Girl Scout, my sister and I would load up the red Radio Flyer wagon and troll the neighborhood for potential sales. Though I was the actual Scout, I was also the shyer sister, so I would send my sister to the door while I waited on the curb guarding our wares. She wasn’t only bolder. She was littler and cuter, which translated into bigger sales. After all, who can resist a tiny kindergartner in pigtails holding a box of Thin Mints?

And why resist? After all, cookie sales are a major source of funding for area Girl Scouts, which have been empowering young girls for a century now. Even the cookie sale itself is more than a fundraiser. According to GS literature, selling cookies teaches girls how to set goals, make decisions and manage money. It also helps hone their people skills and develop business ethics.

Besides, if Libby sells 150 boxes, she’ll take home that cute stuffed penguin incentive prize she has her eye on. But I digress.

After years of holding steady at 3.50, the Girl Scouts of our area had to raise the price of cookies this year to $4 a box. The increase in costs shipping and distribution—think gas prices—forced the increase. But the sales force is still as compelling as ever, so sales shouldn’t suffer much.

And did I mention I deliver?

Tim Dixon January 16, 2012 at 02:52 PM
About 15 years ago we spent a Valentines weekend in Savannah, GA. While on a walking tour of the city (one of the most beautiful in the country) we bought a box of Thin Mints, from a Scout in period uniform, on the steps of Juliette Gordon Lowe's house. We were halfway through the second wrapped package before we reached the river walk. If we by a box will Libby deliver in person?
Patrick Littel January 20, 2012 at 02:57 PM
My sister was a girl scout, and one year my mother was the coordinator for her troop. The cookies came to our house, and we helped sort them. It was SO much fun to help, but boy! we forget what an undertaking it is to coordinate all those orders and get them to the people who purchased them. I always look at the ShopRite for the girls to have their cookies stands. It's safe, the moms and dads are there to help, and the market is so supportive. I am glad this is an American tradition that has not faded.

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