The Worst Free Labor Going Today

The Worst Free Labor Going Today

It’s that time of year again.  When little girls get their parents to go to their friends, relatives and co-workers to buy Girl Scout Cookies.  What a valuable lesson that teaches these young girls; “my mom and dad can sell anything!”  Even if it’s a box of cookies that costs $4.00.

I read a report that the baker gets $.85 a box for production, shipping, etc.  The girls that actually sell the cookies?  They get anywhere between 35 and 50 cents from what I’ve read.  The rest mostly goes to the regional troop.

So these girls “earn” around 10% of what they are selling for their troop.  If they sell 100 boxes, which I assume takes some effort if your parent doesn’t work in a big office, the troop gets around $40.00.  This the greatest scam ever and I only wish that I had thought of it first.

Sure, some of these girls probably learn a lesson or two, but the kids end up using the money to pay for the items that their regional and national organization requires them to buy like patches, pins, uniforms, etc.

Yes, nobody forces them to participate, at least if you don’t include their parents.  But nobody forces the parents to force the kids to participate.  And theoretically the idea behind the Girl Scouts is a good one.  But this reminds me way too much of foundations run by athletes or stuff like “Win a Million Dollar Dream Home”.  The PR angle is great, but when you look at what is actually raised compared to those making money off the good intentions, it’s not nearly as impressive.  And it’s kind of pathetic in my opinion.

Now I’m not all Grinch.  We’ve bought over 20 boxes from our friend’s daughters.  I’m happy to support them.  They are all great kids and families.  In fact, it was one of the mom’s that gave me the idea for this post because she was tired of schlepping cookies to the grocery store in the cold.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if at some point this became something that is revolted against.  I’m not anti-business and don’t have a problem when CEO’s make big bucks.   But this is supposed to be a non-profit organization.  Wouldn’t it teach the girls so much more if they kept 50% of what they sold to use for their chapter?  Even if they aren’t getting paid, you could earmark a certain amount for philanthropy and a certain amount for a reward.  So in May if they take a troop trip to Great America or the Dells or wherever, they could be told and know that it was something they earned due to their hard work.

And while I’m ranting and my blood pressure is rising, is there any troop that makes a rule that the kids have to do all of the selling themselves? I’m going to buy them anyway, but shouldn’t your little darling have to call me on the phone or look me in the eye and ask me if I want to buy?  Don’t they gain value by having to make change and collect money?  Isn’t there something to be said for having to work on a sales pitch to a stranger?  Seems to me that the experience would be so much richer if they didn’t worry about the numbers as much as the process.

Disclaimer, I gave up sweets as a New Years resolution and my house is filled with Tag Alongs and Thin Mints, so I’m a little on the edge not being able to eat them.

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