You might think that the Girl Scout cookie business is a pretty simple one. Some cutie in pigtails shows up on your doorstep, sweetly smiles, and the next thing you know, you’ve agreed to spend an exorbitant amount of money for more calories than your hips will know what to do with. Several weeks later, same girl comes back with a pile of boxes and walks away with enough money to feed the nation of Uganda for two weeks.
People order cookies, distributor fills the orders, little girls deliver the orders. Very straightforward.
And at the beginning, you would be right.
The distributor won’t give out boxes of cookies, they want to give out cases of 12. And then there are all those customers who don’t know any girl scouts. That’s where booth sales come in. The girl scouts know they can reach many many more people by selling cookies in front of stores.
So troops order some extra cases and round up their orders to the next case load, and then they take the extras and sell them off. Even that seems easy.
After a week or two of booth sales and parents with additional orders, the Troop Cookie Manager (or Cookie Momster, as I like to call myself) starts to panic because the supply of one or two types is dangerously low and the supply of other types is dangerously high.
And this is when the Cookie Momster turns into the Cookie Mobster and starts doing Cookie Drug Deals.
Last Thursday, just as I was beginning to feel the beginnings of the headache and fever that was to plague me for a week, fellow Mobster Rachel called me. Her sources had assured her that a local area cookie depot would be fully stocked and opening first thing Friday morning. Did I want anything?
She agreed to get me a case of Thin Mints and a case of Do-Si-Dos and would also give me 6 boxes of her own Do-Si-Do supply. In exchange, I would give her a case of Samoas. We worked out the details of the switch.
Rachel had also tipped me off about Betty who needed Samoas and Tagalongs. I had these a-plenty, so I called Betty and she agreed to take 3 cases off my hands.
The next morning, I realized I needed some Trefoils, but it was too late to have Rachel pick them up. Racked with fever (Friday was my worst day, I think), I loaded the kids up to work these exchanges and we headed out. At the last minute, I checked my email, and some woman named Colleen had Trefoils for the taking. A quick phone call secured me 7 boxes.
So, off we go. First, the exchange with Rachel. Then, the pick up with Colleen. Then I sat in a parking lot for a bit until a mom (not a Mobster, just a mom) picked up $140 worth of cookies. Then, off to Betty’s house for the final drop off of the day.
And the deals continued. Mobster Kelly sent her husband Jim to pick up a case of Tagalongs from me at our last booth sale on Sunday. After my final inventory, I sent out an email offering one last case of Samoas. Within seconds, a Mobster using her Blackberry put in a claim. That exchange will take place tonight.
And that will be my last cookie drug deal. This is no kind of life for a decent mom. I got lucky in that most of my extras were Samoas – one of the most popular brands. Next time I might be stuck with 4 cases of Sugar Free Chocolate Chips, and then what? No, much better to retire on this good note with a successful run.
And if I never see another Thin Mint again, I’m okay with that.