Girl Scout Cookie Sales Are Down, And Some Jerk Is Paying With Fake Money

Delicious though they may be, Girl Scout Cookies are not recession-proof. Sales are down by as much as half according to one troop leader.

“The Girl Scouts are not immune to the economy,” said Sharon Bellinger, spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Connecticut.

As if that weren’t enough to deal with, some jerk in Washington state is buying Girl Scout cookies with fake $20 bills. One troop is out $100.

“I went to the bank, right inside Safeway, and she told me two of the $20s were fake,” said Gettings.

Gettings quickly left, returning with a counterfeit detecting pen. Its mark shows yellow on real U.S. currency, but the mark turns black on fake money. She discovered an additional $60 in fake bills.

That brought the total to $100 Troop 40411 may make up themselves. Two of the bills even had the same serial number. Troop 40411 isn’t alone; others around Bremerton invested in the pen.

“Another troop has come to buy them because they noticed they were getting fake money,” said Gettings. She said they’re being told to stop accepting $20 bills unless they use the pen.

So evil!

Fake money used to buy Girl Scout cookies [MSNBC]
This is How the Cookie Crumbles [MSNBC]
(Photo:DeJay!)

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  1. lalaland13 says:

    The cookies are amazing, but maybe people have trouble justifying spending $3.50 when they can go to the grocery store and get cookies for a dollar less. I would kill for some Tagalongs right now, though.

    • UnicornMaster says:

      @lalaland13: so instead of going inside to save a dollar they are stealing a box of cookies and $16.50 for each transaction. Quite a brilliant way to launder fake bills if you ask me.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      @lalaland13: As a former GS troop leader, I can tell you the money does get put to good use. Our troop was able to pay for many of the outings we used to take the girls on without having to ask parents to pony up extra money. Given that the girls and their families already have to pay uniform costs, dues, and whatnot, being able to ease that financial burden even just a bit was a big help, particularly in the rural area I live in.

      I’d like to think that most people who shell out the extra money for a box of GS cookies do so because they know that anything they buy does actually help the troops. OTOH, they might be like me and just have a serious Thin Mint addiction they can’t get over.

      • lalaland13 says:

        @LadySiren: Oh I know it’s all for a good cause-wasn’t questioning that. I did the Girl Scout thing, sold 75 boxes and was bursting with pride, whereas another girl sold 400 and something boxes through her mom.

        I may have to buy some if I see any around, diet be damned.

    • anyanka323 says:

      @lalaland13: I have to agree. They are delicious, but you can get similar cookies in the grocery store for less year round i.e. grasshoppers/thin mints.

      I sold cookies myself for five or six years and it’s a lot work for not that much money. I think each box was $2 when I started and the people who actually sold them were lucky if they saw $.50 of that. Most of the money goes to the manufacturer and the local council, not the girls who are selling. I know my mother and other troop leaders said that direct cash or check donations were more appreciated and actually went to the girls, not the higher ups.

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        @anyanka323: Really? Sorry to hear your troop didn’t benefit as much as ours did. I know we did pretty well with the amount of return we saw for our cookie sales. Our area, while not economically depressed, had a lot of girls for whom even modest event fees could’ve been tough for the parents to handle.

        The cookie sales definitely helped us to make sure they didn’t end up skipping events or in some cases, could actually go to camp using their Cookie Dough, which was a lifesaver (camp costs not just the arm and the leg these days, but a kidney, too).

    • wardawg says:

      @lalaland13: Girl guide cookies are worth $3.50 hands down. I haven’t found any cookies which taste that good.

      • Phydeaux says:

        @wardawg: Yes, but the so-called grocery shrink-ray, while acceptable to lower the cookie count to maintain a price point or raise the price and keep a consistent product, you can’t do both. I honestly can’t justify it. I’d rather just give them some cash in a donation and write it off. No matter how much I love Peanut Butter Patties.

      • orlo says:

        @wardawg: You should acquaint yourself with a device call an “oven”.

  2. Onion_Volcano says:

    I make my own cookies. Sorry ladies.

  3. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    From what I have heard from several troop leaders, in a lot of cases the parents are pushing the cookies, not the kids. It’s the same dynamic as the giftwrap-selling shills that they seem to put out for school “fundraising” during the fall and winter. The school or program sets a minimum that each child must sell. In rural areas like the one I grew up in, this has a major impact on the economy when there are 100 kids pushing overpriced wrapping paper and 3/4 of the households are on government assistance. I don’t think GS has a minimum (do they? I dunno, I got booted out after 2 months for bringing in snakes to the meetings) but it’s a shame they’re getting hit. With a limited number of people to sell to and many scouts/multiple troops in the same territory, it makes sense.

    I did my duty though. 2 boxes of Samoas, 1 of those peanut butter whatever thingies, and a box donated to the troops. I will hoard the emergency Samoas until they are stale and chewy, but will eat them anyway in 9 months when I’m craving Girl Scouty goodness.

    • calquist says:

      @h3llc4t: If a kid comes up to me, I will buy it. If Mom or Dad comes at me in the office, I won’t. I always sold them myself as much and as I begged my dad to take the flyer to work, he wouldn’t.

      $3.50 is expensive, but those caramel delights are so worth it.

      • aguacarbonica says:

        @calquist:

        That seems kind of silly. I have tons of friends at college who aren’t Girl Scouts but people BEG them to sell cookies here for their older brothers and sisters. Otherwise we wouldn’t get any.

        If you would rather put the money directly into the hands of the kids, then do so. But don’t treat the situation like a bunch of soul sucking parents doing all the work for their kids or something.

        Anyway, I think having mom take the flyer to work (if the kid asks) teaches the value of networkings kills! ;)

        • calquist says:

          @aguacarbonica: Well that is a different situation. If I was absolutely craving the cookies, I could look for a way to find them, but the main reason I buy the cookies is to support the Girl Scout program. I have almost too much access to the Girl Scouts since they are everywhere!

          Networking skills? I mean, that is kinda legit, but it sounds more like the making of a helicopter parent to me.

        • Saboth says:

          @aguacarbonica:

          My issue is…I’m at work. I am here to work. If I wanted to be badgered about cookies, I’d go to some kind of cookie fundraiser. I don’t need drama/politics at work over cookies. “Hmmm why did you buy Joe’s cookies but not mine?” Imagine if every parent at work came in expecting people to buy their cookies? “Hmm how’d I spend $200 on cookies this month?”

          No, sales and peddling don’t belong at work. Do I need a manager asking me to fund his kid’s school? Hmm if I turn him down, will he make my project harder?

          • aguacarbonica says:

            @Saboth:
            You reminded me why I aspire to never work in an office. I realize that it is an unlikely pipe dream but if you can’t buy a box of cookies without drama, there is clearly some kind of craziness going on. I mean, what happened to “first come, first serve.” And please believe that if there were people like that in my office, we’d have other problems besides cookie politics.

            @calquist:
            I was just joking about networking skills. Mostly.

            And I see what you mean about the helicopter parent, but I think you have it backwards. In general, I think the average parent has other things on their mind besides Girl Scout cookies, and I think taking the circular to work is a good way for them to avoid standing outside of Publix all day bothering customers or walking door to door around the entire neighborhood.

          • runswithscissors says:

            @Saboth:
            Do I need a manager asking me to fund his kid’s school? Hmm if I turn him down, will he make my project harder?

            “Ha ha! Of COURSE not! That would be a terrible thing to do, valued employee! Ha ha!
            … on an unrelated topic, your annual performance rating just went down a point for not being… uh… proactively synergistic enough.”

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @aguacarbonica: That’s very true, especially because it’s winter right now and we’re in the depths of a giant snowstorm and there aren’t any girl scout troops to be found peddling their cookies since it’s 20 degrees outside.

          I wish I had some thin mints but I can’t justify $3.50 to $4 for a box of cookies when I can make my own chocolate chip for less than $2.

          But if I were going to buy them, the only place I would go is my office, because my boss has huge boxes of them and is selling them on behalf of his kids. They money goes straight to the kids, but the parents aren’t all wretched beasts doing the devil’s work you know.

      • Robobot says:

        @am84: It’s funny to see everyone on the internet complain about the over-saturation of Girl Scouts. I haven’t seen a single Girl Scout this season.

        Judging from the results I got from the cookie locator tool it looks like all the troops are heading for the wealthier neighborhoods and suburbs to sell instead of sticking to their own communities. I’m going to have to make a special trip to the uncharted wilds of yuppie suburbia just to get my cookie fix. I don’t blame the parents for wanting to sell to people with more disposable income and fewer gang tattoos, but what a pain for everyone.

    • b.k. says:

      @h3llc4t: They freeze amazingly well. I was a Girl Scout for ten years. My parents always refused to take the order form in to work, and going door-to-door never worked out because someone had always just bought some from their niece. So my parents started ordering large amounts and storing them in the freezer we had out in the garage, to sell them later in the year when people were jonesing.

      In my day, the money went to the troop. There was no minimum selling limit. These days the girls apparently get prizes for different selling tiers. I think that’s a pretty crappy incentive, but then again I’m not sure if troops still charge dues or not.

      • vortec42 says:

        @b.k.: When I was in high-school we were asked to sell candy bars to raise money for something or other. I hated the idea of selling overpriced candy and making family friends feel guitly, and basically bought the box myself. A month or two later I brought the box into school to sell, now that everyone had sold out. A friend bit into one in class and found worms growing in the candy bar – WORMS! FYI – the candy bar was a Caramello. This was way before the Consumerist, so we just threw the box out, rather than complain.

        • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

          @vortec42: EWWWW. And I had to do the candy bar sale thing, too. I ate a fair amount of those Caramellos…now I’m wondering how many worms were in mine.
          @RandomHookup: Srsly. :( I guess I kinda understand why bringing in the garter snake (in a plastic cage!) might have freaked the kids out. My prize possession at the time, however, was a giant stuffed boa. I brought it in for some party and upset one of the, er, sensitive little buttercups in the troop. After that the leader had a chat with my mom and I got to stay home on meeting nights from then on out. Eh, I hold no grudges as I still keep buying the damn cookies.

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        @b.k.: My troop did charge dues but I kept it very, very low (i.e. – less than a dollar a meeting). Mostly, I used it for craft items and to pay for outings.

        The girls do get incentives for selling but if they take the prizes, they then cannot earn “Cookie Dough”, which is basically credits towards camp fees. Most girls would rather have the camp credits than the crappy stuffed animals and whatnot.

        • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

          @LadySiren: Also, I almost forgot: my daughters had to sell their own cookies, I refuse to do it for them. We usually set up at a local store and the girls had to do all the work, including bagging up cookie boxes and counting money (under adult supervision, of course). It was a good exercise in salesmanship, manners, math, and generosity – we had lots of kind folks who would come by, buy two boxes, pay with a (non-counterfeit) $20, and tell us to keep the change.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @h3llc4t: Silly girl, everyone knows that GS meetings are snake free zones.

  4. ezmobee says:

    Did anyone eat any Girl Scout cookies last year? They were horrible. Thin Mints were horrible and my once favorite food in the work Samoas were mediocre at best. I didn’t buy any this year because of that. I think the eliminated the yummy yummy trans-fats or something like that. That’s why sales are down.

    • zlionsfan says:

      @ezmobee: The Thin Mints I had last year weren’t horrible. I’d show you, but I ate the box too.

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @ezmobee: I noticed that too. I think you’re right, the website now says they eliminated trans fats.

      • Boulderite says:

        @h3llc4t:

        Interesting, since my Thin Mints and Do-Si-Dos (Peanut butter sandwich cookies) have partially hydrogenated palm kernel, cottonseed, and soy oil in them.

        • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

          @Boulderite: They cover this under their FAQ (I was confused as well):
          [www.girlscouts.org]
          “Girl Scouts of the USA is proud to announce that all Girl Scout cookies are now “zero trans fat per serving” with the same great taste that has made them one of America’s favorite treats over the years.”
          So I’m not sure what’s up with the partial hydrogenation action.

          • Cliff_Donner says:

            @h3llc4t: It means that the statement “Girl Scout cookies have eliminated trans fat” is a lie.

            The FDA allows up to .5 grams of trans fat “per serving” (the size of which can be whatever the manufacturer decides) before the nutritional labeling needs to disclose the presence of trans fat.

            To quote, under FDA regulations, “if the serving contains less than 0.5 gram (of trans fat), the content, when declared, shall be expressed as zero.”

            Since that’s what the regulations state, I think it’s fine when companies adhere to that rule when it comes to the “Nutrition Facts” labelling.

            However, I think it’s deceptive and unethical when they try to market their product as being free from trans fat when it does in fact contain partially hydrogenated oils.

            Kind of like paying with a fake $20.

            • orlo says:

              @Cliff_Donner: They don’t claim to have “eliminated” trans fats. They even specifically state that the cookies are only safe to eat “in limited quantities”.

              But I agree that they could just increase the manufacturing cost .03 cents/box and eliminate it entirely.

    • ceilingFANBOY says:

      @ezmobee: I noticed that the chocolate used in the tagalongs tasted a bit waxy this year.

  5. am84 says:

    I love Thin Mints just as much as anyone, but this season it seems like they are selling them EVERYWHERE just waiting to pounce – the gas stations, grocery stores, movie theaters. Enough already!

    • lars2112 says:

      @am84: I hate it when they sell them in the office. So now I have 3 women all trying get me to buy cookies from their girls. At the very least they could have divided up who they would ask.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @am84: i drove by walmart on my way to the grocery store, and noticed girl scouts out front selling cookies. when i drove by again on my way out of the shopping center, there was a police car there, and they were packing up.
      methinks walmart caled the cops on them for loitering or solicitation

      • floraposte says:

        @Gstein: Wow. They’re inside the grocery store here, so it’s pretty clear it’s a permitted use. I wonder if somebody just forgot the all-important “asking” step.

    • WorldHarmony says:

      @am84: Yes they ARE everywhere. Outside Starbucks was the most annoying. I go there for peace and instead I have to watch little girls dancing and staring into the store, and had to plot my escape when they weren’t looking.

      My favorites were the chocolate covered peanut butter cookies.

    • ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

      @am84: You can always say no.

  6. InchesOfSnow_GitEmSteveDave says:

    At least no one tried paying with a drawing of a spider.

  7. Canino says:

    She said they’re being told to stop accepting $20 bills unless they use the pen.

    The pen is of limited value – google and youtube searches will tell you why.

    Sorry Girl Scouts, I haven’t bought any cookies since you got rid of the sugar cookies (Tea Lights or something, was that the name?). I bought those by the case and froze them so I had them all year. A lesson in business for you – if you discontinue a product, you will lose some customers.

    • calquist says:

      @Canino: There are only so many cookie boxes that can fit on a radio flyer wagon.

      • processfive says:

        @calquist: Have you seen a Girl Scout lately? Solo scouts with Radio Flyer wagons have been replaced with tight clusters of scouts who travel in Lexus SUVs, chauffeured by stay-at-home moms.

        • calquist says:

          @processfive: Haha good point. I was just reflecting back on my days with the wagon and being stuck with dozens of Shortbread cookies at the end of the season.

    • aguacarbonica says:

      @Canino:

      I just did a Google search on the counterfeit pen. I could swear I’ve seen black marks atop reams of paper. I wonder…

      Anyway, the pen is better than nothing. Even better would be an anti-fraud Girl Scout badge where they FBI train the girl scout to detect fraudulent bills and thieves!

  8. Robobot says:

    Those pens don’t detect every counterfeit. For instance, if a criminal washes a $1 bill and prints a $20 bill over it the pen still thinks it’s legit. It might be a good idea for troop leaders to teach the girls about watermarks and other security devices. Not only would it be useful in cookie sales, but it’s a good life lesson in general.

  9. biikman says:

    I’m one of the parents “pushing” cookies :) although I am low key about it. I just leave the sheet on a table and who ever wants them buys them, and I won’t ask anyone other than family. Just this week we got another gertrude hawk pamphlet from school. They want us to sell overpriced candy and junk. I didn’t read it to see if there is a minimum that we have to sell, but if there is, to bad. I don’t push it on anyone, and won’t lose any sleep when we don’t sell what they want. What are they going to do if we don’t?

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @biikman: that isn’t really pushing.
      pushing is when my neighbor comes to my door, sans girl scout, to ask me to buy cookies.

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @biikman: @Gstein: Yeah. Big difference as well between bringing in a signup sheet and circulating guilt trip emails in an office setting. One of the cafe workers in my office just puts the sheet out once a year and I buy from her. The super mommies three rows over who urge me to “help out and buy just one box, because isn’t making sure these great kids can go along with the rest of their troop and be a part of the fun worth the same amount you pay for your lunch each day?”. Sure it is, but it’s not worth encouraging that crap. HATE.

    • MameDennis says:

      @biikman:
      That’s pretty much what my coworker does, and everyone’s happy. I’ll be very sad when his daughter grows out of Scouts!

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @biikman: See, I don’t get that “minimum” thing people keep bringing up. How are they going to force you to sell random crap? What’s supposed to happen if you don’t hit a minimum?

      They were always trying to make us sell the random crap when I was in school but they never told us that we have to sell a certain amount.

  10. Outrun1986 says:

    I think people are having a hard time paying 3.00 or 3.50 a box, the price keeps going up but the size of the box of cookies keeps shrinking. Those boxes are incredibly small for the price. The grocery shrink ray has hit girl scout cookies as well.

    Girl scout cookies used to be a good value, they cost the same as a box of cookies in a store, and you got the same amount of cookies, so there was an incentive to buy them, now since they aren’t such a good value, people are cutting back on them.

    60% of the people in my county are on government assistance, with numbers steadily rising. Most people here can barely afford to feed their families and put clothes on their child’s back. These people likely don’t even have $3.50 of cash in their pockets since they are living off EBT cards.

    I would prefer to just make a donation to the girl scouts instead of buy the cookies, they get more money that way, instead of giving some of it to the people who produce the cookies and some of it to the girl scouts.

  11. Fujikopez says:

    I’d buy some cookies if they’d come to my freakin’ house. Jeez. Where have all the Girl Scouts gone?

    • menty666 says:

      @Fujikopez: A while back they decided it wasn’t safe sending them door to door anymore, so now they send home the sign up sheet, but they also set up cash and carry outside of stores and occasionally in office lobbies.

      I haven’t bought any this year because I just can’t afford overpriced cookies. I know the point’s to raise money for them and not to sell cookies, but over the year’s it’s become less of a value for the money. I don’t recall those ridiculous paper poppies the other groups sell getting any smaller.

      • Triterion says:

        @menty666: Why would it be unsafe if they had a parent with them? Sure, in a really unsafe area it’s a bad idea, but what’s wrong with them going door to door in the rich neighborhoods? haha

        • menty666 says:

          @Mad Dog McCree: In a lot of cases the parent just sits in the car reading a book while the kids go door ringing. I think if they want to do that, the kids need to earn a martial arts badge first :)

          • RandomHookup says:

            @menty666: If a cute little girl in a uniform offering sweets in exchange for money showed up at my door, you better believe I’d be looking on the street for Chris Hansen.

  12. Mr-Mr says:

    Anyone who rips off organizations like the girls and boys scouts is a complete scum. These are the same people that rip off the elderly as well. Sad.

    • trujunglist says:

      @Mr-Mr:

      Maybe they’re just not religious and enjoy sticking it to the man…

    • lakecountrydave says:

      I always thought that it was sad that the Boy Scouts refused to allow the inclusion of non-Christians. Children belong to whatever religion that their parents do. It is hardly a free choice. I don’t believe many kids spend a lot of time thinking about dogmata.

      That said stealing from children is pretty low.

      • Jon Wedell says:

        @lakecountrydave: I don’t know where you came from but I’m pretty sure you are completely wrong about the Boy Scouts not allowing non-Christians. I think they just exclude atheists and even then it depends on the troop how strictly they enforce it. There were medals you could get for studying your religion or something when I was in the scouts… I remember seeing like 20 different religious metals in the book you could earn. (I mean you can only earn the one that applied to you but they existed for many religions.)

  13. N.RobertMoses says:

    Girl Scout Cookies are great, but what I don’t like is that there are two different bakers for the cookies, one is better than the other and they have some different cookies. For the record Little Brownie’s Tagalongs are better than ABC Bakeries Peanut Butter Patties.

  14. jcargill says:

    Even sociopaths like Thin Mints.

  15. scoobydoo says:

    $4 a box where I live. Very hard to justify, recession or no recession.

  16. jamesdenver says:

    I love the Samoas and Thin Mints. But I don’t like having to sneak in and out of Safeway by skirting long the propane tanks and firewood in order to avoid being accosted by screaming kids.

    [www.futuregringo.com]

  17. kateblack says:

    That stinks that the troops got stuck with counterfeit bills.

    The person who paid them might not even realize they were counterfeit, though. It’s not unheard of to get phony bills passed to you as change in stores & restaurants. The recipient would just pass it along without ever knowing.

  18. WelcomeToMyWorld says:

    The Girl Scouts aren’t allowed to sell door-to-door any more. Safety issues – too many weirdos out there.

    So now they only sell to friends & family (people they know) plus Moms and Dads can take orders at work, if it’s allowed by their companies.

    Because of these restrictions many troops can’t meet their quota, so they sell cookies in groups at the malls and shopping centers. When you buy a $3.50 box of cookies, you are supporting both the local and national Girl Scout organizations. AND you get to eat some great cookies. :-)

  19. 1stMarDiv says:

    Well the price keeps going up while the quantity is reduced, so I don’t feel too bad for them when I spend my hard-earned dollars elsewhere.

    It is annoying how these moms and their kids seem to be EVERYWHERE though. It kind of reminds me of being deployed in Africa. While on patrol mothers would come up to us and beg for food or money while gesturing toward their children, trying their damndest to guilt-trip us into giving them something.

    Now whenever I go to the grocery store and see their table set up, I just take my phone out and hold it up to my ear like I’m in a conversation – they’ll never bother you if it appears you’re busy. I do this because I do feel like an ass for not buying their cookies, even though I know I shouldn’t.

    • jamesdenver says:

      @1stMarDiv:

      Yeah but we’re all still “guilted” in to buying them – to the point of pretending to be distracted.

      When I hear them coming down the hall at WORK I do the same thing, or run and hide.

      I bought some boxes from co-workers I know – because I like the cookies and like to help. But I draw the line and random co-workers I don’t know.

      too bad my office doesn’t have a secret trap door exit…

    • thebigbluecheez says:

      @1stMarDiv:

      I usually just say, “Not today girls, sorry” and walk along. Although, as a mid-twenties guy, the girls are afraid of me or something, so I only get asked about 1/3 of the time. Yesterday, when I said, “Not today, sorry.” one of the girls replied, “have a nice day!”

      I think the main thing I pulled from working retail for a while is that if you are nice, most people will be nice back, even if there’s rejection afoot.

    • shepd says:

      @1stMarDiv:

      People just need to get some principles and stick to them. One of mine is that I flat-out refuse to buy anything if I feel I am or will be a captive audience. Another of mine is that giving charities money is buying peace of mind, and since it’s buying something, it fits into any life policy to do with buying.

      If your life policies are reasonable, you won’t have a hard time explaining them to even a child with candy bars when they ask “why not?”

      The most disgusting situation I’ve been in was a flight during which the steward(esses) decided they need to beg everyone for their foreign coins to donate to charity. It violated my “captive audience” principle enough I wrote the airline (which fell on deaf ears).

      • Beerad says:

        @shepd: “The most disgusting situation I’ve been in was a flight during which the steward(esses) decided they need to beg everyone for their foreign coins to donate to charity.”

        If this is the most disgusting situation you’ve been in you should consider watching the news sometime. Considering how much loose change from international travel probably ends up lingering in a change dish forever or even thrown away, I’m not sure why asking people to give it to charity instead revolts you so much.

        And if you consider some young girls enticing you to buy cookies from a table in a grocery store to make you a “captive audience,” your sensitivity might be tuned a little too tight.

        • shepd says:

          @Beerad:

          >I’m not sure why asking people to give it to charity instead revolts you so much.

          That’s the answer the steward I complained to gave, and it’s the answer that completely misses the point. It’s like suggesting I shouldn’t be upset at Ed McMahon when he shows up at my door with a $1,000,000 cheque completely ignoring the “NO TRESPASSING” signs “because he just wants to give you $1,000,000!”

          The idea is fine. The method of implementation was absolutely disgusting.

          Why is it wrong? Because it smacks of the type of sales pitch most cults use, but far worse. At least with the cults, they make you watch a TV and each time you get up they ask you “BUT WHY NOT STAY AND LEARN MORE?”–you can always ignore it and leave. Just try deciding you actually DON’T want to hear about how starving kids in Africa need your money on an airplane while the crew is busy handing you donation envelopes. Try leave the plane? It sure as hell won’t happen, and you’ll be seeing the police when the plane lands if you try.

          Hey, I don’t find it so disturbing dealing with annoying children whose parents clearly have no respect for the rest of the public haranguing customers outside the big box stores (all of them at times, especially when the legion is low on funds). It takes me 2 seconds to say “No thanks” and I’m off (if that doesn’t work a hearty “Excuse me, but you’re in my way!” always works), so while they are standing in my way, it’s only for a moment. On the plane I have to wait several hours dealing with a soured relationship with crew of an airplane when I tell them “No”. That isn’t a pleasant situation for either of us.

          Now, the kids selling them from a table aren’t a problem. The ones that stand in front of the entrance and outside the exit doors (which is EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, I’ve *never*, *ever* seen them sitting at a table unless they’re hawking street meat) are a problem. They are trying to create a captive audience for their product by blocking in/egress. Wrong, bad, not cool.

          Hopefully that clears it up. To simplify:

          - Trapping people in a giant inescapable machine for several hours and begging them for money by sending envelopes around and then going row-by-row church service collection style == super bad, worthy of complaint.

          - Placing giant donation jar somewhere in the deplaning area (very good) and (this is a grey area) announcing it will be there in the plane (NG) so people can get their foreign money together == probably okay, certainly nothing to get upset over.

          • lakecountrydave says:

            You should hire the cop who pushed the greeter through the door to escort you on your shopping trips. ;)

          • RvLeshrac says:

            @shepd:

            If you don’t like it, there are other airlines… they also make books, mp3 players, you name it. All of these things will keep you from having to interact with others on your flight.

            Unless you’ve been kidnapped, there’s no such thing as a “captive audience.” You can always do something else with your time, and I’m not aware of any laws requiring that you listen when others are speaking to you.

            The girl scouts aren’t “blocking the entrance.” How exactly does an 8-to-12-year-old “block” a portal, anyway? Are they intimidating you somehow? Further, I’ve never seen girl scouts selling cookies *away* from a table.

            You’re probably the reason I had to search for a week to find some girl scouts selling cookies this year!

            And WRT the $1mm from McMahon… that’s the worst possible example you could ever give. If PCH delivers a check to your door, you obviously sent in an entry – complaining about someone trespassing doesn’t really work when you invited them to your house in the first place.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          If this is the most disgusting situation you’ve been in you should consider watching the news sometime.

          @Beerad: But…watching the news doesn’t put you in a situation. No matter how bad the news is the thing on the plane would still be the most disgusting situation* they’ve been in.

          *I think it’s implied that it’s the most disgusting charity-related situation.

  20. JGKojak says:

    Isn’t LEGAL U.S. currency pretty close to being “fake money” at this point?

  21. burnedout says:

    Maybe the GS should take a course on basic pricing models (or get a copy of Managerial Econ from the local library) – at a certain point your customer base is not going to be willing to pay more money for fewer cookies. I don’t care that you season your cookie sheets with crack (that HAS to be why they’re so addictive). When I was in Girl Scouts the boxes were $1.50 and you got far more cookies to a box (and they were larger cookies). I could sell 400 boxes easy. Now, as much as I crave the darn things year round I just can’t justify $3.50 for 10 tiny cookies. Maybe if they make “cookie pricing” a patch they could get the girls to help them figure out a better system…

  22. b.k. says:

    I guess I don’t understand the animosity. If they were trying to hawk overpriced cookies all year round, and it was a constant nuisance, then okay. But it’s once a year. They don’t try to sell anything else. And they’re pretty transparent about where the money goes: part to pay for the cost of making the cookies, part to the local Girl Scout Council, the rest to the troop. They also were up front this year about admitting the size of the box has shrunk due to costs. There’s no scam involved here.

  23. nbs2 says:

    My sisters were in GS, and the best year was the one when my mom was the “cookie mom.” Every couple of days I’d toss the $1.50 in the big box and polish off a box of TMs. Like everybody else is talking about, the GSR has put me off of them. I’m sure costs have risen, but I don’t think they have more than doubled (tripled when you count the smaller box).

    Another way to make more? A troop needs to give the finger to GS HQ and start accepting credit cards. Supposedly HQ won’t let them do it. But, the first one near me to accept them will get my theoretical business. Too many panhandlers + too much crime = I keep no cash in my wallet.

    • uncle moe says:

      @nbs2: i’d even argue that the GSR has quadrupled the price…take half the cookies and double the price at the same time.

      i’d sooner give them a $10 donation. feels like less of a rip-off.

      • trujunglist says:

        @uncle moe:

        If I had to give $10 either way I’d probably go ahead and get the cookies even if I didn’t like em and just give em away, but hey, that’s just me

  24. Anonymous says:

    I certainly hope that the bank did some other due diligence on the “fake” money than just use the pen. Experience bank officers don’t use the pen to detect fake notes. The pen is filled with iodine which turns black in the presence of starch. Most paper has starch in it so when a fake note is printed on regular paper, the pen will make a mark that will turn black. However you can take regular notes and spray them with starch or dip them in starch (or even rub them with a cut potato) and they will come up as fake, but the bills are actually real.

    -Matt

  25. MoreFunThanToast says:

    Never tried those girl scout cookies. Not a huge fan of cookies, besides their packaging always looked so unappetizing.

  26. jscott73 says:

    Jiminy Christmas, stop whining about girls scouts being everywhere trying to peddle their wares, if you don’t want a box of cookies simply say “No thank you” as you walk by. It’s not all that hard to do and it is actually a very important lesson for the girls to learn as well, that no matter how hard you try or what you do not everyone wants what you are selling and rejection is a fact of life.

  27. jgw says:

    Isn’t it entirely possible that most of us, at one time or another, have inadvertently handled counterfeit bills?

  28. SillyinPhilly says:

    I will only buy them from the girls themselves. I won’t buy from their parents.

  29. processfive says:

    My refusal to buy Girl Scout cookies this year has nothing to do with the economy, and everything to do with a reduced perception of value. The cookies have always been what I would consider to be overpriced, and now this year they’ve gone and put some of the packages under the grocery shrink ray. Sure, they’ve been up front about that, but so what? Whether or not they admit to shrinking the box, the end result is the same: less product for the same price. For the price of a box of Thin Mints, I could get a lot more cookies of comparable quality inside the grocery store, or I could get probably an equivalent amount of much higher-quality cookies at my local bakery.

    Basically, I’m not buying Girl Scout cookies because, while they aren’t horrible, they certainly aren’t worth what they’re charging for them.

    Here’s a question: will the gangs of Girl Scouts outside my local grocery store take a donation without me having to take some of their meh cookies? I’d rather give them a dollar that is entirely profit for them than have to spend $3.50 on cookies that I won’t eat just so that the Girl Scouts themselves can get a fraction of it.

  30. Rob Weddle says:

    I stopped buy Girl Scout cookies after learning they weren’t really made from Girl Scouts.[/wednesdayaddams]

  31. jscott73 says:

    Not to get preachy or anything like that but let’s not forget that a large portion of the money goes directly to the troops to help support activities that promote the girl scouts message, which is:

    The Girl Scout Promise
    On my honor, I will try:
    To serve God and my country,
    To help people at all times,
    And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

    The Girl Scout Law
    I will do my best to be
    honest and fair,
    friendly and helpful,
    considerate and caring,
    courageous and strong, and
    responsible for what I say and do,
    and to
    respect myself and others,
    respect authority,
    use resources wisely,
    make the world a better place, and
    be a sister to every Girl Scout.

    My five year old has the first part memorized and I have seen that what they do does in fact promote learning these values.

    It seems these are the types of values, no matter what your belief system is, that people would want to promote in the upcoming generation.

    It may feel like you are “getting less for more” in terms of the cookies but looking at the overall picture I am sure supporting GS means you are getting more for less in terms of societal costs.

  32. cmdrsass says:

    1. The quality of the cookies has declined
    2. The number of cookies per box has decreased
    3. The price per box has increased

    Is anyone really surprised by declining sales, recession or not?

  33. ionerox says:

    My co-worker is a troop leader, so finding cookies aren’t usually an issue for me. But yesterday alone I saw a troop at the grocery store, one at Walgreens, and another at the mall.

  34. El_Fez says:

    I dread this time of the year – panhandling is bad enough, but widespread, organized panhandling that uses guilt (“Oh, look at these poor little girls, wont you buy a cookie?”) to force you to buy really chaffs my hide.

  35. David Levy says:

    Perhaps the counterfeit-detecting pen manufacturers, hit hard by the recession, have resorted to passing off counterfeit bills to Girl Scouts as a means of boosting sales.

  36. nakedscience says:

    Now I want some thin mints. THANKS CONSUMERIST, THANKS A LOT!

  37. kmw2 says:

    Honestly, I’d be happy to shell out for more Girl Scout cookies if they were a reasonably sized box and the non-chocolate flavours were any good. Even my dog wouldn’t eat the Dulce de Leche ones.

  38. howie_in_az says:

    I am proud to say that I did my part by purchasing 2xThin Mints, 4xSugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, and 2xTagalongs (I was assured they were salmonella-free), because I am a patriotic American.

  39. meechybee says:

    I would buy some if I could find a Girl Scout. Why doesn’t some enterprising troop sell them on eBay or set-up shop somewhere like at the Greenmarkets where I could find them (instead of waiting for them to find me)?

    Seriously, I’m in Manhattan, pick up the pace girls. Hope to see you at the 77th Street fair next weekend. I’ll buy.

  40. P_Smith says:

    I stopped buying girl scout years ago on principle, not because of the price, and I have to wonder if fellow atheists or if gays have stopped buying for the same reason. The bias, perhaps better called bigotry, against gays and atheists is both pointless and offensive.

    Yes, I know it is the boy scouts and not girl scouts that are practicing discrimination, and that “officially” boy and girl scouts are separate entities in the US (though they are combined in most countries which have scouting). But the two often share facilities and memberships; to support one would be supporting the other.

  41. meechybee says:

    Seriously, I think the GS would do much better rethinking the whole lesson behind the cookie sales. I spent a good portion of my youth selling crap to fundraise for various groups (most of which I hated, but that’s another story). What I got out off all the commerce was some pretty bad lessons that took me a long time to unlearn.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @meechybee: Why not have a bake-off and sell home-made cookies to people for money? People would be MUCH MUCH more likely to buy the cookies if they knew the girls and their parents made the cookies. This would also give the girls some baking lessons, and baking is fun. Plus more money could go to the girls and the cost of ingredients to bake cookies is usually low. When I did fundraisers we always had bake sales and we never bought from corporate organizations unless the school pushed them on us.

  42. Megan Squier says:

    I don’t like these fundraiser things at all. I’m a generous person but I don’t think its right to have kids push over-priced items. I’d much rather cut a check to the organization itself so I know that 100% of the money I put out goes to a good cause, not some marketer. One my husband’s coworkers at the small engineering firm he works for was selling Otis Spunkmeyer cookies (YUCK!) for his kid. My husband asked me if he should buy any (he’s a sucker for charity) and I told him to ask the guy what they were raising money for and if he thought it was worthy, to cut the organization a check for twenty bucks and tell the guy to give it directly to them.

    I actually have a horror story about being pushed to sell as a kid.

    I remember when I was in the first grade at Lake Forest North Elementary in Felton, DE in 1992 they did this goofy gift wrap fundraiser. Well, they used a complete ass of a pitchman who would literally scream during assemblies for the fundraiser that we HAD to sell all of this over-priced junk and if we didn’t we were hurting the school. They gave out all of these stupid prizes right in front of the whole school and the pitchman would try to make us kids feel guilty for not selling. The guy literally made me burst into hysterical tears during that assembly! I couldn’t sell anything because; A. at the time my parents had just moved into the area so we didn’t know anyone we could sell to and B. my parents simply didn’t have the money to buy anything because they were in the process of fixing up a home. I guess my mom complained because they never brought the guy back, although they still used overly pushy tactics for fundraisers until my parents pulled me out to homeschool me in 1998. I hope this guy and those at the school responsible for hiring him rot for what they did! We were little kids, not Amway reps for crying out loud! Any moron will tell you that kids don’t respond well to drill sergeant type motivational tactics!

    From what I’ve heard only 20 cents of every dollar sold from that fundraising company actually went to the school anyway. The school should have realized that they were getting screwed over to begin with.

  43. josh42042 says:

    the shrink ray hit girl scout cookies this year. $3.50 got me 15 cookies.

  44. failurate says:

    With people rejecting overpriced snacks, will we lose weight and improve our health as a country? Healthy people have fewer medical bills. Medical bills are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy.

    Are overpriced Girl Scout cookies going to save the economy?

  45. justsomeotherguy says:

    4 cookies is a big mac. fuck the girl scouts.

  46. textilesdiva says:

    Here’s a thought: if you want to sell cookies, make sure people can find you!

    When people are posting on craigslist asking for help finding people to buy girl scout cookies from, it means you’re doing something wrong.

    If I hadn’t placed an order with a coworker’s daughter, I wouldn’t have had any…where the hell are all the damn girl scouts???? Don’t they know cookies are serious business?

  47. goodywitch says:

    My Dad bought some and the order came in today. My mom promptly belted him for not consulting with her.

    Fool only ordered 1 box of Thin Mints.

    • goodywitch says:

      @goodywitch: Oh, in defense of the guy giving the troupes fake bills, maybe it wasn’t him. It’s possible that he was given fake bills and only transferred them to the girls thinking he was really paying for them. Same thing happened to my dad. It’s very embarrassing when the banker suspects that you’re giving them fake bills. Seriously, you’d have to be all sorts of stupid to try to pass fake bills at a bank.

  48. savdavid says:

    They gave you less and less as the years go by and charge more and more. What do you expect people to do? Be happy to pay more for less?

  49. Anonymous says:

    My daughter sold cookies this year. We went door to door as well as selling at booths. Girl Scouts cannot go alone; parents must accompany them.

    I would also like to say that we are really NOT selling cookies. We are asking for a 3.50 or 4.00 donation to support the scouting program, our troop and to subsidize activities. Instead of asking you for 20.00 cash, we are giving you a product and also teaching girls how to handle sales, how to make change, etc.

    Many, many people told my daughter no. That’s fine. We train our girls to hear the word no and not take it personally. But don’t use the excuse of comparison shopping. It has never been the intent nor a level playing field – we are not and cannot try to compete against Nabisco.

  50. Michelle Cook Lopez says:

    I wish Girl Scouts would come around here to sell. I haven’t seen a one. There are less scout troops so there are less girls selling cookies and they will only send me cookies if I buy 12 or more boxes. :(

  51. grumpygirl says:

    I’d love to buy cookies from the Girl Scouts again. Alas, there are no cookies available for people with celiac disease, so they don’t get my money. Bummer for them.

  52. biikman says:

    Obn a positive note, they jerks were caught (my apologies if this was already posted, and I missed it)

    [apnews.myway.com]

  53. battra92 says:

    There was a great Dilbert strip about GS cookies where they basically said that most sales of the Trans Fat laden cookies are based on guilt and the working of the parents/leaders.

    We have a woman at work who sells dozens of the boxes of cookies for her daughter’s troop. Wow, way to earn that badge kid. But then, isn’t that all that GS are for is to sell cookies?

    Anyway, skip making funny money to give to kids trying to guilt you and just make you own.

    [bakingbites.com]

  54. atomoverride says:

    The bad guys are just going to start using 10$ fako bills. Man this depression is hurting everyone. Whats next donations to salvation army with fako money?

  55. irish_stickman says:

    i know its bad but i find it quite amusing, reminds me of when i used to work in a bingo hall, yes old people do steal and try forge tickets