How Girl Scout cookies captured the heart of America
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Girl Scout cookies are beloved: They are also part of successful marketing and youthful entrepreneurship.
From January to April every year, over a million scouts in the U.S. sell about 200 million boxes of cookies. The sales are more than Oreo sales.
The proceeds are divided between the council and the particular troop, where it goes toward activities and projects. A girl or her family buy the boxes they sell, which means it is essential to actually sell them.
Selling these cookies is the first career move for millions of girls. They have to learn how to handle money and market themselves and their product to customers. But, the girls are not always the ones doing the selling, and parents often dread this season.
In the late '40s, 29 different bakeries were making Girl Scout cookies, but they have been trimmed down through the years. Today, Girl Scout cookies are produced by two bakeries: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.
During the prime cookie season, the nation's Girl Scouts do about $800 million in total cookie sales. This makes the cookie program the largest financial investment in girls annually in the United States.
Besides exasperated parents who feel responsible for the sale of the cookies, health advocates object to the cookies as just another sign of hyperconsumption.
But people love Girl Scout cookies - partly because of taste and part because of the nostalgia. They remind you of childhood. They are also limited to a season of the year. But the biggest appeal is people wanting to support the girls themselves. You want the girls to build their skills and succeed with confidence.
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