Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Must Girl Scouts be prepared for a slow cookie year?

Of all the depressing trickle-down and ripple-effect stories about the economy, the big bite that the recession is taking out of Girl Scout cookie sales has to be one of the biggest downers. The USA Today article I saw reported sales in some regions are down by as much as 19% off last year's pace, but closer to home, the Portsmouth NH Girl Scouts are saying that they're down 50%.

Yes, at $3.50 a box, G.S. cookies are expensive.

And, yes, this year's boxes have shrunken a bit in size.

But honestly, letting a G.S. thin mint melt in your mouth and follow it down with a milk chaser is a transcendent and unparalleled experience. (And, by the way, the Girl Scout peanut butter cookies do not contain salmonella.)

I have done my part, and have ordered a number of boxes from the daughter of a friend of my sister.

I will no doubt go into panic mode and buy a few supplemental boxes from the girls who'll be selling them on street corners over the next couple of months.

Having been a member of the world's most dysfunctional, do-nothing Girl Scout troop, I never had the experience of selling cookies. Our troop meant once week in what was called the "portable school," a two classroom wooden building that had ben part of the original Our Lady of the Angels Grammar School. It stood plunk in the middle of the parking lot, where it took up valuable parking space in the good old days when Catholic church parking lots were packed. So, they moved the portable school to the side of the lot, where - once our permanent, unmovable new school was built - it was used for Girl Scout, Boy Scout, Junior Catholic Daughters, Catholic Youth Council, St. Vincent dePaul, and other church group meetings.

A troop meeting meant sitting around the portable school doing homework and gabbing. For excitement, we'd run into the boys' room, look at the urinals (eke!), and run out.

Sometimes we did crafts, or sang a Girl Scout song.

But we never went camping, helped old ladies across the street, or earned any merit badges.

Both of our troop leaders were dying of lung cancer, so some high school girls helped out by sitting around doing their homework and gabbing, while us Girl Scouts sat around doing homework and gabbing. (I do not recall the high school girls ever running into the boys' room to look at the urinals and shout 'eke!')

At the end of the year, we voted to get our dues money back and close down the troop.

Before they'd let us out, we all had to spend 15 cents of that dues money on a blue and gold "world pin." I think we all got a buck and change back.

Despite my experience, I am benevolently disposed towards the Girl Scouts, who seem quite admirably to keep on trying to foster values that aren't centered on Bratz Dolls sexualization, texting, and crap consumption.

We should be supporting our local Girl Scouts - you can find the council nearest to you by clicking on this link.

I'm warning you: it may seem prudent to forego the luxury of a Girl Scout cookie purchase at this point, but come next September, when you open your freezer, hoping against hope that a box of thin mints will materialize in there, you will absolutely regret not having shelled out the darned $3.50 for a box of them.

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