Mazzy has been a Girl Scout since 1st grade and Harlow has been one since last year. When it comes to selling Girl Scout cookies, I believe in doing it the old fashioned way. We don’t sell online because I don’t want my kids to have an unfair advantage and sell a ton of cookies without really earning it. (Sorry to whoever clicked on this post hoping to buy some.) For the past four years, we have done pre-ordering. I make the girls sell door to door in our building just like I did as a kid, writing down orders and then delivering a few months later when the cookies arrive. If they want to sell to friends and relatives, they have to pick up the phone, call them themselves and deliver their sales pitch. If they want to sell in my office, they have to come there after school and walk from office to office.
This year, Mazzy was sick during most of the pre-ordering period, so we decided to switch things up. Nope. Still not online. We just bought a bunch of cookies (roughly the same amount that gets pre-ordered each year), and then when they arrived, the girls made signs and set up shop on the street to sell them all at once.
OH MY GOD this was so much easier.
We didn’t have to keep track on that tiny grid and we didn’t have to distribute them after the fact, which always takes forever because we have to go back multiple times if the person isn’t home. I don’t know what it’s like in the suburbs, but in the city, it doesn’t feel right to leave a bunch of cookies in front of someone’s apartment door. We also used to have the boxes that friends and relatives ordered in our home for months, just waiting for when we saw them in person. And by the time we delivered our last boxes, they never matched up to what they were supposed to be. “Sorry, you get a Toffee-tastic and and two boxes of Do-Si-Dos, even though you ordered three boxes of Thin Mints. If you want, I can give you your money back. Not sure where things went wrong.” I always threw in a shrug to maximize my apology while also kinda saying, “You’re not gonna make a big deal about this, are you? I mean, all the money goes to a good cause…”
When we first set up shop on the street, I was a little worried that we were going to get stuck with all the cookies. You would think that two cute kids screaming out, “Do you want to buy some Girl Scout cookies????” would be hard to ignore but then, I guess, you don’t know New Yorkers. So many people just walked right by without even turning to look at us. I think it’s a combination of people being so wrapped up in their smart devices and the fact that New Yorkers are used to ignoring people. At any given moment, you could be approached by an activist trying to get you to sign a petition, homeless people asking for money or food, candidates trying to get your vote, and oddly, people who want us to go to comedy clubs or sign up for some kind of hair styling experiment. What I’m saying is— we are taught from an early age to just keep walking. New Yorkers are also a healthy bunch who don’t eat a ton of pre-packaged sweets.
As a city, we are a HARD SELL. I had to teach Mazzy and Harlow a lesson on rejection and told them that they couldn’t take it personally.
Mazzy stopped bothering even trying to ask people with headphones or earbuds on. They are all so in their own world it’s kind of hilarious. It’s like when toddlers close their eyes and think they are hiding from their parents. People act like earbuds are some kind of invisibility cloak. We also stopped asking people who were on their phones. Especially the ones speaking loudly into a speaker phone as if they were alone in their apartment. Omg, those people are THE WORST. How do you not care if other people hear you???? So many women with boy problems. Are they speaking that loudly because they think there is an off chance that a friend of the boy will overhear them and report back?? Mazzy and Harlow always exchanged smirks when the boy problem people walked by.
Our experience selling actually ended being a great social study. The other thing we noticed is that the people who stopped to buy cookies were never the people who you expect. So many moms with toddlers in strollers walked right by us (“you will be me one day sooner than you think!,” I wanted to tell them), while groups of 20-something guys almost always stopped to purchase, some even telling Mazzy and Harlow to keep the change for themselves. Young couples stopped too. Maybe because they are still in that phase where they are trying to show their best sides to each other? Seniors were also especially kind and nostalgic when they approached our little stand. If there was a grandparent accompanying a mom with a baby in a stroller, they always stopped. It was like the grandparent knew, just like I did, how fast the years were going to pass. Dog walkers stopped because their dogs usually wandered up to us and then once we all made eye contact, we were a lot harder to ignore. And we got one woman because she said she is troop leader and always buys Girl Scout cookies when she sees anyone selling. She was our favorite customer.
We ended up selling out almost all our boxes (about 60 total) in an hour and five minutes. Not bad. The Thin Mints sold out first and there were two Tagalongs left, which we gladly took home because those are my favorite. We still have Harlow’s cookies coming, so we saved our signs to make another stand soon.
For our next Girl Scout Cookie stand, Mazzy has some advice for perspective customers…
“If you don’t want cookies, just say no thank you. Or even better, no thank you, but good luck today. Or great sales pitch, but we’ve already got tons of Girl Scout cookies at home. You don’t have to ignore us. That’s just rude!”