By Alexander Kenny, Columnist
Feb. 16 to Mar. 18 is Girl Scout Cookie (GSC) season, followed by Tagalong withdrawal, self-disgust and cookie gut. It’s that magical time of forgivable binges and furious arguments over which cookie is best. Roommates will meet in the MMA Octagon after a box of Thin Mints goes missing. Chips Ahoy and Oreo executives will hurl themselves from windows as tiny green and brown businesswomen corner the sugar market for a month. With $800 million annual U.S. sales, GSCs are an American icon.
The allure of GSCs is partially due to its brief availability. This is a thrilling annual event, like an eclipse or the McRib. Sure, you can order cookies on GirlScouts.net, but that is like ordering a snowman by mail. GirlScouts.net even displays recipes so you can bake your own at home, but results will be disappointing knockoffs. Ever bit into a Hydrox? Or popped open a Dr. Thunder? Only the genuine article satisfies and after Mar. 18, it’s gone.
Girl Scouts employ something called a Cookie Finder app, soon to be adopted by smack dealers and NASA. “Cookie Finder” is my new favorite thing to say, but the Scouts don’t need it. This town will be blanketed by a sales force squeaking a hard-target pitch from every grocery store, library, gas station, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse and outhouse. We pretend to be fugitives from cookie forces, but we secretly want to be coerced into a sale. Grocery stores order an extra delivery of twenty-dollar bills from Wells Fargo this month to accommodate cash back from debit card purchases. Twenty-dollar bills go directly to the Girl Scouts lurking outside.
They’re never pushy– they only shout the product’s name: “Girl Scout Cookie-eees!” Scouts are polite, professional, and the $4 price tag is reasonable because it’s for a good cause. Wholesome stuff, but I just want the goods. I’d buy GSCs from meth-filled carnies if they set up a folding table outside my coffee joint.
According to Huffington Post, Thin Mints are the most popular GSC (25 percent of sales), followed by Samoas (19 percent), and Tagalongs (13 percent). In Northern Virginia, Thin Mints account for nearly half of sales, possibly due to the diet cookie angle and misinterpretation of the word “Thin.” The box claims a 160 calorie serving of four cookies; half the calories of other GSCs. But if that sleeve of Thin Mints makes it through an entire episode of The Flash, you’re doing it wrong. I pound Thin Mints like Joey Chestnut pounds hot dogs on the Fourth of July. I dunk Thin Mints in mint chocolate chip ice cream and use a cheese grater to crumble more cookie on top of that. I have found Thin Mint crumbles in my belly-button and in my ear. In April.
The Boy Scouts are probably flummoxed their fundraisers don’t compare in sales, popularity or sheer adorable-ness. The microwave popcorn they sell in November is terrific and fluffy, there’s a whole stick of butter crammed in the microwave pouch, and somehow, there are zero kernels in the bag after popping. It’s a great product, but there’s no brand recognition, no simultaneous glee we share during GSC season.
Diets restart Mar. 19 this year, after the house and this town are purged of GSCs. There will be strict regimens of greens, walnuts, tuna and all the yogurt protein smoothies you can drink. I’m excited for the March diet. Yoplait just unveiled Girl Scout Cookie flavored yogurts.
Photo by Julie Frappier