Girl Scout cookies: A treasure trove of profit

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First years Shelby Statham and Sarah Scully bought 20 boxes of cookies from Folk.

There may not be any monsters lurking under second-year Erika Folk’s bed, but there sure are enough Girl Scout cookies to keep the Cookie Monster happy. Cases of Caramel deLites (Samoas), Peanut Butter Patties (Tagalongs), and Thanks-A-Lots line the walls of her room and peak out from under her loft bed. Folk, who is a holder of a lifetime Girl Scout membership, is supplying the demand for students’ Thin Mint cravings this cookie season. She sold more than 100 boxes in presales alone.

“They’re just so good,” first-year Shelby Statham said referring to the 20 boxes of cookies stacked on her bed. Statham and her roommate Sarah Scully each pitched in to buy 10 boxes of Caramel deLites and 10 boxes of Thin Mints. They estimated that the cookies will last them 20 days at the current rate of consumption.

When asked why they would spend $80 on cookies Scully said, “Because we’re rational human beings.”

The price of cookies has remained at $4 since the 50 cent increase back in 2009, however, the Northern California Girl Scout chapter received attention for charging $5 a box – a 25% increase. Of this money, individual troops keep around 50 cents of every box sold. The rest of the profits are sent to the area’s chapter. Around 200 million boxes of cookies are sold every year, raising more than $700 million. Thin Mints comprise a quarter of total cookie sales.

“Cookie money is the primary revenue of Girl Scouts. It’s what makes the larger events possible,” Folk said.

“The chapters use their money to host free events for the girls, such as seminars or camp experiences to build bonding between troops in an area.”

Individual troops decide what they want to do with their cookie revenue.

“My troop would usually do fun but educational excursions, like trips to SeaWorld or the NASA space center,” Folk said.

Third-year and Catalyst editor Sara Mineo was a girl scout for 12 years before graduating high school.

“After my troop got banned from camping the only activity we really did was sell cookies,” Mineo said.

By the time Mineo was a senior in high school there were only three troop members left and they used their saved up cookie money to eat out and go to the spa.

“We’d get together and go out to Panera or the Melting Pot,” Mineo said.

Folk talked about how selling Girl Scout cookies can translate into sales skills to be harnessed later on in life.

When beginning her sales campaign here at New College, Folk used the Forum to reach consumers.

“I only sell on campus because I don’t want to take away customers from local troops,” Folk said.

Keeping her target consumers in mind, she also chose to buy her cookies from ABC Bakers, one of the two Girl Scout cookie providers, because they offer more vegan options.

Folk expressed gratitude at having the student population to sell to, saying that it can be difficult for older scouts to sell cookies.

“Once while in high school I was selling outside of Publix and this woman told me to get a job,” Folk said.

However, Folk assured that most of the reactions she receives are positive.

“It’s very fun to see people almost become children themselves when they see the cookies,” she said. These are cookies with a cult-like following. For Girl Scout Cookie lovers, cookie season lasts until mid-March.

 

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