Lessons learned from selling Girl Scout Cookies

Sunday , March 19, 2017 - 12:00 AM

TX. Correspondent

No matter what flavor, the boxes all say the same thing:

“Selling Girl Scout Cookies helps girls develop 5 skills that they will use throughout their lives:

1. Goal setting

2. Decision making

3. Money management

4. People skills

5. Business ethics”

After selling Girl Scout Cookies for eight years, I can confidently say that I have learned these, and other skills, from my experience.

Each year in our troop, we set a goal of how many cookies we want to sell. Every year during cookie sales, I have reached my goal. To do so, I’ve had to set targets of how many boxes I want to sell each day in order to reach my final goal.

Decision making goes hand in hand with goal setting. It is important to prioritize in order to reach a specific goal. A Girl Scout also has to make decisions on how to respond when unusual and unexpected things happen while selling.

Delivering cookies has helped me with money skills. Over the years, I have gotten much better at counting back change to customers. Cookies also build money management skills through Cookie Credits. For each 50 boxes sold, girls earn $12.50 in Cookie Credits that can be spent on Girl Scout Camp, in the Girl Scout store or on Girl Scout-sponsored activities. Girls must use money management when spending these credits.

In addition to the Cookie Credits each girl can earn, troops also receive a percentage from every box sold. This money goes toward funding activities for the troop.

A few years back, the price of a box of cookies was $3.50. While selling at this price, I got really good at my 3.5 times tables. When I’m in math class and doing a problem that multiplies by 3.5, I think back to the days when cookies cost $3.50. I start rattling off the past prices in my head — “3.5, 7, 10.5, 14, 17.5, 21 ... ”

It seemed that as soon as I finally got the hang of the $3.50 price, the cost was raised to $4 a box. I already knew my 4 times tables from third grade, but I get a good review. Last year, with the addition of the gluten-free Toffee-tastic cookies and this year’s new S’mores cookie, which are both $5 a box, I’ve had to add 5 times tables and addition into the collection of math skills that come with selling Girl Scout Cookies.

I’ve always been a shy person. Selling cookies has helped me gained courage when talking to people. It’s difficult to go door-to-door or stand in front of a grocery store asking if people would like to buy cookies. Doing so has forced me out of my comfort zone, but it is a good way to practice people and communication skills.

While selling cookies I’ve met many people that I never would have had a chance to meet. In my experience, people are generally nice and very generous. There have only been a few times when I’ve had a door slammed in my face. Even if people cannot eat cookies, they can donate a box to a charity of the troop’s choice.

Along with people skills, I would like to add animal skills. I am more of a cat person than a dog person, but because of selling Girl Scout Cookies, I’ve had to learn how to pet dogs and rub their ears to distract them from running out of customer’s houses while the front door is open.

Cookies sell better when you have a good sales pitch, and it is important to make your booth noticeable and attractive to customers. I’ve also found that it is better to be honest in my opinion about the cookies, rather than just trying to sell them. Business ethics are very important because I want repeat customers who can trust me.

Another thing that I have learned, although it may seem obvious, is that people like chocolate. My top three most popular cookies every year are Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs — all of which contain chocolate. These always outnumber the other types of cookies.

If a Girl Scout hasn’t come by your house this year, there is still time to get your cookies. Cookie booths will be at set up at area stores until March 26, or until cookies run out. You can find a cookie booth near you at www.girlscouts.org by entering your zip code.

I have enjoyed selling cookies all of these years. Although it can be challenging at times, I have gained much knowledge from the cookie program. Just like the box says, I will be able to use these skills throughout my entire life.

Arianna Rackham is a senior at Northridge High School. She enjoys writing and playing the violin. Contact her at catandmusiclover@gmail.com.

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