Ding dong, it’s a cute little girl in a green sash… looking to take your money and stuff you with fattening cookies. Those dreaded (and delicious) Girl Scout cookies are for sale where you live right now because — yes, it's still Girl Scout cookie season in America, even though you probably already bought all the boxes you were willing to eat this year. (While final selling dates vary across the U.S., the East Coast Girl Scouts are getting aggressive with their cookie-selling deadline looming. Some locations in California have already finished selling, but some states in the south are still selling too, until the last week of April. Beware!)
It’s a tradition that started in 1917 by the Girl Scouts to raise money for their troops, various charities, and to teach young girls how to become business savvy. And that they are. Ever been hoodwinked into buying multiple boxes and handing over cold hard cash? Then you wake up in an alley with two black eyes and no wallet? They got you.
They’re everywhere in the spring, from grocery store parking lots to your front door. They even have underlings in the form of your office coworkers who sneak up to your desk, pen in hand, watching, waiting, while you check off boxes of cookies with names like Thin Mints, Tagalongs, and oh God, Samoas. According to the Girl Scouts own website, those chewy coconut-chocolate O’s are 150 calories for just two cookies. Cookies baked by fatty little elves in calorie hell!
How about just saying no? To the sugar and to spending the money? What if you already bought some from a friend and don’t want to buy any more? How can you crush the spirit of a little girl hawking her goods?
Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, National Etiquette Expert and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, says Girl Scout cookie pushers are everywhere she turns these days.
“This just happened to me!” Diane tells The Feast. “They’re around every corner, little table set up with Girl Scouts and their moms selling those little sugary treats. While you might be compelled to buy a box or two as a courtesy to a friend with a child, there comes a time when you have to draw the line. Additionally, you may be short on cash, have medical dietary restrictions, or simply don’t want the cookies in the house out of fear of eating them.”
Whatever the reason… Diane offers a few tips for turning them down.
Say yes only when you want to.
If you buy several boxes from one Girl Scout but more Girl Scouts keep knocking at your door, it’s perfectly fine to say “no thank you.” You don’t even have to offer an excuse if you smile kindly shake your head with a little remorse and say and you are most courteous voice: “No thank you.”
Add an excuse to your "no thank you."
“Gosh… I wish you would’ve caught me yesterday. I have been inundated with cookie requests for the past few days and I’ve run out of room in my cabinet. Thank you for stopping by.”
Once again, nod your head graciously showing a slight bit of understanding and remorse in your eyes. But the key here is to keep walking. They set up at the doorway of different stores hoping to make a sale but Girl Scouts and their parents are also understanding of the fact that they are not the only ones peddling the cookies.
Buy one box and give it away.
If you can’t seem to say no, buy one box instead of seven and give it to a neighbor or take it into the office. This is a good way to let the parents of Girl Scouts know you have done your civic duty.
Develop a thick skin (and not from the cookies).
Be kind but firm. We all know that when we are selling a product, sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. Parents should not pressure their friends and family members to buy large amount of cookies. It also teaches a child a valuable lesson: knowing that In life sometimes you are more successful than others.
"Finally… Put in your earbuds and don’t answer the door!" Gottsman tells The Feast. "Hopefully they won’t see you through the window as you scamper to hide behind the couch."
And parents, encourage your Girl Scouts to say thank you to those who purchase... and also those who do not. It’s a courteous gesture — and it's the golden rule, after all.
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