Parenting

Tips on selling your daughter’s Girl Guide cookies

Ian lists the various methods of trying to sell your daughter’s Girl Guide cookies.

The boxes of Girl Guide cookies at the Mendes household.

This year, our youngest daughter Lily joined Sparks — which is the precursor to Brownies here in Canada.

Our oldest daughter Elissa is already enrolled in the Brownies program, so Lily was absolutely thrilled to follow the path of her big sister. But to us, the addition of another child in the program only meant one thing: There are more Girl Guide cookies to sell.

Right now at our house, we have so many boxes of cookies that we could host a pretty successful after-party for a Grateful Dead concert.  

I have no problem with the Girl Guides organization as a whole, but the cookie sales have always rubbed me the wrong way.

The whole cookie operation seems like a pyramid scheme in which I fully expect the troop leader to pull up in a pink Cadillac for the next meeting. To their credit, they’ve been able to successfully employ child labourers in this arrangement and I’m sure they would love to branch out beyond cookies. Having the girls sell Pampered Chef products seems like the next logical step — but there would probably be too many lawsuits with all the knives.

So for now they’re just going to stick with cookies because they’ve got the market cornered on that.  

But the true brilliance of the evil geniuses who run the Girl Guide cookie department is that they know the parents will end up selling the majority of the cookies when push comes to shove.

Why?

Because no parent wants to be the ones who couldn’t sell the cookies by the deadline. There is no greater shame in the parenting world than coming back with an unfinished fundraising order form.

By the same token, the six sweetest words you can hear from anybody at this time of year are, “Put me down for a box.”

Yes, the words “put me down for a box” may as well be replaced with “I completely sympathize with your plight and because I don’t appreciate witnessing human suffering, I will purchase a box of overpriced cookies from you.”

So this week, I thought it would be important to run down the various methods of trying to sell your daughter’s Girl Guide cookies.

The Facebook method
This usually starts with an innocent status update like “Anyone interested in some Girl Guide cookies?” The key is to get your message out there early, because chances are a lot of your Facebook friends are in the same boat. You don’t want to be the eighth parent who posts about Girl Guide cookies because that makes you look like the person who just found out that Modern Family is on TV.

When nobody responds to your first sales pitch, it’s time to ratchet up the cute factor by using a picture of your daughter holding up a box of cookies. Your new Facebook update should read, “Who could say no to this face?”

Sadly, your friends will probably just click “like” on the photo and refuse to commit to purchasing any cookies.

Pressuring at the office method
Remember when you were coerced into buying some chocolate-covered almonds from Erin in accounting six months ago? Well guess what, it’s payback time. Make sure you make a mental note of every person who has forced you into buying a fundraising raffle ticket and put the pressure right back on them. If they refuse to reciprocate, start a nasty office rumour about them pocketing the proceeds from their last fundraising initiative.

And for the record, if your company has a non-solicitation policy at work that’s probably the equivalent of a $500 bonus.

Door-to-door sales method
Ever since the calendar flipped to 1989, society has frowned upon door-to-door salespeople. Nobody likes it when their doorbell rings and your first thought is, “This better not be the guy trying to sell me on an upgraded water heater again.”

But if you are doing the door-to-door method, remember to bring your child with you for the sales call. The creepy, childless parent with a box of cookies isn’t closing any sales. And make sure your daughter is wearing her Brownies or Girl Guides outfit because people are less likely to buy anything from a kid wearing a Bieber Fever t-shirt.

Friends and family method
Grandparents are a slam dunk for any fundraising initiative, so you can always put them down for at least two boxes. If you’re having trouble selling them near the deadline, just tell the grandparents that they had actually agreed to buy two cases of cookies.  

Sell to your teacher method
School teachers, piano teachers, swimming teachers and soccer coaches are all terrific targets in the world of high-stakes cookie sales. But you have to remember that the parents of others girls in your daughter’s classes are likely looking at closing a sale with these same people.  So I suggest offering to carpool the other kids during the cookie-selling period. That way, the rival parents won’t get a chance for a face-to-face interaction with the teachers and coaches because you’re doing all the driving.

It sounds sick and twisted, but you can’t tell me this chauffeuring idea isn’t brilliant.  

The eat-It-yourself method
No rational person can sit there with boxes of unopened cookies in their house for weeks at a time without breaking down and eating a whole bunch themselves.  So if you’ve eaten 10 boxes of thin mint cookies during the fundraising period, just remember that you’re doing it for charity — even though you’re not really sure where all the Girl Guide money goes.

Do you have any tips? Share them here.