by Dennis Dalman
It’s the Cookie Monster’s favorite time of year, the time when Girl Scout cookies are being sold coast to coast.
“Me want cookie!” says the Cookie Monster. “Me eat cookie!”
And that’s just about what so many Girl Scouts are hearing from people, from customers: “I’ve just got to have some Girl Scout cookies; I love those cookies.”
Sartell Girl Scout Hattie Dietz said selling the cookies is fun because it makes her happy that people enjoy them so much. Hattie likes them as much as her customers do. The Dietzes keep the big stash of Girl Scout cookies in their van, dubbed the “Cookie Mobile,” locked in the garage so they won’t be tempted to eat too many.
Dietz, the daughter of Trina and Eric Dietz, is a fifth-grader at St. Francis Xavier Elementary School. She has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and is now one of four girls in the junior level of Sartell Troop 937. There are many more girls in the other levels.
On Feb. 4, Hattie and her mother set up a booth inside Cash Wise East in St. Cloud where Hattie happily sold dozens of boxes of cookies.
One of her customers was Audrey Anderson of Sartell, who smiled with delight as she pushed her grocery cart up to the cookie booth.
“Oh, Girl Scout cookies!“ she exclaimed, grinning.
She paused, trying to make up her mind . . .
“Oh, yes, chocolate! I love chocolate,” she said, pointing, “So I’ve got to have some of those.”
Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties are the top sellers, Hattie noted.
Hattie’s mother is always amazed and amused by people’s reactions to the stacked boxes of cookies.
Most people, she said, know exactly what they are at the first split-second glance.
“The cookies are a tradition for most people,” Trina said. “It’s a seasonal tradition, and people feel about Girl Scout cookies the way they feel about strawberries or raspberries in season. They want some because they know the cookies are a limited-time item.”
So far, in just a few days, Hattie has sold (as of Feb. 4) 185 boxes of the cookies, and she hopes to sell 75 more boxes, at least.
From total sales, each Girl Scout gets to keep some of the profits. Hattie plans to use her share to cover the cost of attending a Girl Scout camp in the Boundary Waters area come summer.
This year, sales of cookies will end March 11, though some scouts will still be able to sell any they may still have on hand.
This is the 101st year of Girl Scout cookie sales, a fundraising tradition that began in Muskogee, Oklahoma, when mothers of the Mistletoe Troop girls baked sugar cookies to sell in the school’s cafeteria.
The Girl Scouts organization was founded 106 years ago.
Last year, there were 6,631 scouts grades K-12 in the Girl Scouts Lakes and Pines Council, a region that covers a wide area of central and northern Minnesota all the way up to the Canadian border and including a part of northwestern Wisconsin. That council is one of 112 in the nation.
Of the total scouts in the Lakes and Pines Council (6,631), 4,348 scouts sold cookies last year – close to a million boxes sold. The average number of boxes sold per scout was 232. That same number of boxes, about 1 million, will likely be sold this year, too, said Tauna Quimby, director of marketing and customer care for the Lakes and Pines Council.
Profits from sales are used for service projects and council operations, and each girl gets a portion she can spend for programs, camps or anything she wants.
Quimby has been with that council for 20 years. Year after year, she is pleased by customers and their loyalty to the cookies. They can be fiercely loyal to their favorite kinds of cookies, Quimby said. Thin Mints has been the No. 1 favorite for decades, she said during an interview with the Newsleader. Last year, a cookie called S’mores was introduced and outsold any first-time cookie in a century of sales. But S’mores are yet to topple Thin Mints from its pinnacle. Other kinds of cookies are Caramel DeLites, Lemonades, Samoas, Shortbread Trefoils, Savannah Smiles, Toffee-tastic, Peanut Butter Patties and Peanut Butter Sandwich.
The cookies for this region are baked at ABC Bakers in North Sioux City, South Dakota. Fresh from the oven and packaged, they are then shipped to warehouses, dubbed “cookie cupboards,“ far and wide, including the St. Cloud area, where the scouts and their families pick them up.
Girl Scout cookies can be purchased online. Visit girlscoutcookies.org.
• Girl Scouts sell at least $700 million-worth of cookies annually, making it the largest girl-led business in the nation.
• ABC Bakers (founded in Richmond, Virginia) has been a licensed Girl Scout cookie baker since 1937. Now in North Sioux City, South Dakota, it is one of two bakeries that makes the cookies, the other is Little Brownie Bakery of Louisville, Kenucky.
• In 1985, one aggressive go-getter, Girl Scout Elizabeth Brinton of Falls Church, Virginia., sold a knock-out number of cookies –11,200 boxes of them in one season. When customers would pull out checkbooks to pay for them, Brinton would ask, as if daring them, “Why not buy a whole case of them?” And many of them did just that.
• Throughout the years, many new kinds of cookies proved to be duds, including a vanilla cream-strawberry flavor and a cinnamon-flavored kind.