Are you feeling the rush?
They’re at every grocery store, every street corner, and street-wise cookie bosses wait outside L.A.’s marijuana dispensaries. It’s Girl Scout cookie season. And America’s got the fever.
I used to be a Thin Mints girl. Then I fully leaned into Samoas. Ok, and I did some Do-si-dos for a hot second. But before all that, I was…a BROWNIE.
For those of you unhip to the world of professional child scouting, Brownies are introductory, basic, level 1 Girl Scouts. Except instead of the typical green getup, you wear a brown outfit and patch-less sash because you’re 6 and you’ve done nothing with your life. Also, brown? Whoever thought of that design scheme blatantly dishonored the timeless tradition of little girls in America: PINK.
I was a Brownie back in the ’80s. I joined because we had no iPhones and what else were we going to do, except dream of 1. Selling cookies, and 2. One day replacing our cotton sashes with silken Miss Teen U.S.A ones.
I’m starting to feel like I don’t know why I was originally part of this organization, but. Doesn’t matter. I learned a great song about making friends (I just realized I never learned the second verse), went on a camping sleepover one time in the woods (or that was a scary dream), and I sold a couple boxes of cookies.
Literally. Like, two.
If there were one perfect achievement patch to represent my short career as a wannabe Girl Scout, it would have been an embroidered Thin Mint with the Ghostbusters “no” sign over it. I hated selling cookies. Hated. It.
I still remember the dread I felt, looking at my cookie order form with its infinite buyer information slots — and zero sales.
I know! These cookies basically sell themselves. But you need an audience. It would be 10 years before the world’s slowest dial-up AOL, and I wasn’t old enough to drive to the grocery store to catch people at their most hungry. So I was left with selling to my parents, my grandparents, and my neighbors. And I was afraid of my neighbors.
Recently, I was standing in line at Costco with my parents, and my Mom asked me, “Do you think we spoil you?”
I’m probably the worst person to answer that question, but I know in my heart the answer is no. And the reason goes back to this: NEITHER OF MY PARENTS EVER TOOK MY GIRL SCOUT COOKIE ORDER FORM TO WORK!!
At the time, my Mom may have been musical director at a church (hi, they could have used millions of Trefoils for communion!), and my Dad worked at our local high school (millions of hungry students and faculty — those kids could eat a box of Tag-a-longs a day!). They were gold mines for sales, but I hadn’t yet harnessed any glimmer of influence over my parents.
ME: (Slumped over our dining room table with my weak arm raised in the air, clutching the cookie order form) “Helllllllllp meeeeeee.”
ME: “Whyyyyyyyy-eeeeeee????” (I had nailed whining by this point.)
DAD: “It’s cheating.”
I knew other parents were doing it. But instead of picking myself up by my bootstraps, and stepping into my potential as a miniature sales lady, I guilted my grandparents into ordering cookies they probably didn’t want, and then stressed over the fact that everyone else in my troop would sell more than me. And then I quit Brownies forever.
I do hope all of the girls in my Centerville Elementary troop went on to become savage businesswomen, thanks to the life lessons we learned selling cookies without the internet. Or Miss Teen USA’s. I’m not sure what our individual goals were, but whatever the case, I hope they were fully realized.
Now, as I watch the hoards of pint-sized Girl Scouts hit the streets with their websites, and professional sales pitches, and enthusiastic “Would you like a sample?” reeling in every passerby, I think, “Wow. These girls have such a bright future ahead of them. They’re the ones who are gonna turn the tables, and become those Fortune 500 CEO’s, and really make a difference…”
And then I dust off my Brownie sash (it’s probably dead, in a landfill somewhere), and think to myself “I was a pioneer of this industry” (nope! If anything, I was a cookie-free blip on the Brownie radar), and then I begin to hum the making friends song that empowers every Girl Scout around the world…
Make new friends,
And keep the old,
One is silver, and the others gold.
(Oh — shit! Second verse)
A circle shmerm,
That’s all folks.