I’m Drowning In Girl Scout Cookies

I did it again.  I’m Cookie Mom for Little Miss’s Girl Scout troop this year.  I agreed partly because no one else was going to do it and partly because I love spreadsheets – and there are plenty of spreadsheets involved in coordinating the cookie sales across girls.  And partly because I still have that giant “SUCKER” sign on my forehead that flashes constantly.

There’s also the fact that Little Miss loves selling Girl Scout cookies.  She loves going door to door, telling me that it’s more fun than Halloween trick or treating.  How can I resist helping her out?  She’s set a goal that I know she won’t reach this year (she wants to sell 500 boxes of cookies), but that’s ok.  She loved taking orders from our neighbors and family and friends.  She enjoyed telling them what cookies she thought they should order (“Samoas – unless you don’t like Samoas, because they have coconut in them”) and figuring out how much they owe ($4 for boxes of cookies and $5 for the new snack bars).  I’ll be honest that I enjoyed going door to door with her and watching her work her magic.

Now comes the slightly less fun part.

I’ve placed the initial order for all the girls and calculated how many cookies each ordered.  I showed up at the delivery location and picked up my 72 cases of cookies and snack bars.  Amazingly, they somehow all fit into my car.

Very full back of car with Girl Scout cookies

I’ve got the rest of it down to a science.  Or most of it anyway.  The good news is that sorting the cookies by girl isn’t a hard task.  Having another mom help me sort the cookies is a huge help.  Before the cookies come, I write the total number of boxes of each kind of cookie on a separate piece of paper for each girl.  We simply pick up a piece of paper, grab the appropriate number of boxes and place them in a corner of my family room, then move to the next year.  I compare the number of boxes left over with the report on the online system to make sure I’m on track.  The other mom and I then work to verify each girl’s order – one reading the number of boxes by type, the other counting.  I haven’t gotten it 100% correct yet the past two years, but we’ve caught the few errors each time by doing this triple check!

Piles of cookies ready to go to girls

Next up is getting Little Miss’s cookies ready for delivery.  I’ve found the best way is to use Post-It notes.  With Little Miss only in second grade, I’ll do this chore for her for another year or two before she’s in charge of sorting her order for delivery – I just don’t trust her accuracy quite yet!  I sit with the order sheet, surrounded by boxes.  I start at the top of the order form and write on the Post-It note the name of the person who ordered, the address, what they ordered, and the amount they owe or whether they paid.  I fill the orders as I go, placing them in piles based on delivery – drop offs at school, our neighborhood separated by street, friends we will have to meet up with, etc.  That makes it quick to grab a pile for delivery, depending on where we’re headed at any given moment – knowing I have the right orders and not scrambling to find the order on the order sheet to see what they ordered or whether they already paid us.

Cookies ready to deliver

I’ll admit it.  This is the part I don’t like.  I’m all good with bringing the cookies to our friends and family.  And with dropping them at school.  But it’s February in Chicago, and it’s just snowed again.  We don’t try to carry all the boxes through the neighborhood.  Instead, we load them into our wagon by street and deliver – often repeatedly before someone is home.  Ever tried to pull a wagon through a snow-covered sidewalk?  It isn’t easy, but it’s better than trying to carry the boxes by hand.  That’s our task for this weekend, and Little Miss is happily looking forward to it.

Me?  I’ll be glad to have the boxes out of my family room.  But I still have 210 other boxes of cookies in my dining room waiting for our cookie booths that start next weekend (those, happily, I enjoy staffing, as does Little Miss) and customers who call or email begging for more cookies.  She’s already sold another 15 boxes from customers who “need” more.  And the new snack bars?  They actually look better than I was afraid they would – and apparently people agree, as I’m now out of them.  Whew!

Double Dutch Girl Scout Snack Bars

So yes, it’s cookie season.  And I’m drowning in Girl Scout cookies – at least for another month or so.  But you know what?  I’m ok with that because Little Miss and her friends are learning some great skills that will serve them well in life.  They’re learning to sell themselves and a product.  They’re practicing math and manners.  They’re learning responsibility and commitment, and oh so much more.  And that’s worth the pain of dragging a wagon through the snow.  Don’t you think?

What are your secrets to making Girl Scout cookie season work for you?


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Comments

  1. Great job, Michelle! Neither one of my girls were scouts so I’ve never had the Girl Scout Cookie selling experience. I’m not sure if I can earn my Motherhood Badge without it! It’s just as well, though. I could never be trusted with a carload of cookies.

    • Oh there are plenty of ways to earn your Motherhood Badge! It’s funny, I actually still have some cookies leftover from last year. I’m just not a store-bought sweets person for the most part ;)

  2. My daughter was isn GS from Daisy to Cadets, and did my time as troop leader AND cookie mom. I feel your pain.

    • Wow, that’s a lot of years for Girl Scouts. I did it just for a few years, and I’m wondering how long Little Miss will stay with it. Kudos to you for being troop leader. That’s one job I’m definitely not willing to take on!

  3. The SoCal GS didn’t get to sell the snack bars this year. But!! The Savannah smiles are back and I couldn’t be happier.

    I feel bad telling the girls at the store that I can’t buy any right now-the 18 boxes in my cupboard are killing me! (That doesn’t even count the ones that we finished already.) And I don’t even have a girl in a troop anymore!

    • I don’t think many places did. I was a little worried because $5 a box for 5 granola bars (but hey, Clif bars and the like are over $1 a bar!), but they’re actually fairly popular and I’ve heard good things about them. Do I need to bring you some to Blissdom? ;)

      I never feel bad telling people no. I know I’m not the only person, and they don’t (or shouldn’t) take it personally. And I can only support so many things and people and causes and the like. That or I’m just mean!

  4. You are such a good mom, Michelle! Even if I’d had daughters and they were in Girl Scouts, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be in charge of cookie sales. In general, I don’t like to be in charge of things, but I’m fine with being a worker bee who does what the leader bee says. My two sisters and I were all in Brownies and Girl Scouts in the 1950s and ’60s and my mom was a Girl Scout troop leader for my younger sister’s troop. I recall selling GS cookies around this time of year and GS calendars in the fall, but my mom wasn’t in charge of it. I think I got my not wanting to be in charge of things from her. Kudos to you!

    • I am good with being in charge of things – but I like to pick and choose what I do because then I do things I enjoy. And I like spreadsheets and organizing, so this works for me. We never did calendars – I don’t even remember hearing about those. It’s interesting to me how different areas do such different things. My mom was my Girl Scout leader, too, and hats off to both our moms!

  5. SNACK BARS!!!! WHAT???

    OMG, I am co-leader and cookie mom and in he!! right now because I know my #s will be off. This stinks!! AHHH!!!

    • Uh-oh. What’s up with your numbers? I’ve got spreadsheets to beat the band to keep it all organized if you need help!

      And yes, we have snack bars. They had double dutch (chocolate chips with chocolate drizzles) and tagalong, and I’ve heard good things about them. I hope that means they’ll expand next year because it seems to be a very narrow distribution.

  6. I HATE the new snack bars…if they offer them again next year…we will not sell them…they will be crossed off our order sheet. Darn things are a pain…we sold 4 out of 12. We had donations and so will be sending 7 boxes to our troops (hey at least they will be easy to share)…we bought the last remaining box ourselves (my husband really wanted to try them)…they are TINY and $1 a bar?! They are not that good! Also, I personally liked the cookies that had the lemon coating on the back as opposed to the Savannah Smiles which are ok.

    • Oh no, Bobi! I’m so sorry to hear that. We actually sold out of ours, and the feedback’s been ok, fortunately. They aren’t cheap – but Cliff Bars (that also have the protein and fiber, etc) and other similar snack bars are over $1 apiece, too, which may have helped a little.

      And amen to the lemon cookie! I know very few who like the Savannah Smile, but the cookie with the lemon filling was not only my favorite, but it was also the only one my daughter could eat because of allergies. I still hope they bring that one back. Unfortunately, snack bars sold out in our council, so I’m expecting that there will be a wider rollout next year, as it sounds like the snack bars were a success in general.

  7. I agree about delivering in the cold weather. Last year was our first year to sell cookies and was unaware at how successful my husband and little girl would be with only going out ONE evening for a few hours. I have a little one and my husband travels so I knew chances were me, the baby, and my little Girl Scout would be the one delivering them. So I knew I had to have a plan for the customers that weren’t home. There was no way that I was going to return over and over in hopes of them being home for their delivery. So I made these door hangers to leave. Worked like a charm. Other people have inquired about them so I started selling them. Thought I would share.
    http://keepingmycents.blogspot.com/2013/02/girl-scout-door-hanger-for-cookie-sales.html?m=1

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