Some of you people knew about this and didn’t tell me. Facebook laughed at me. My mother, who was my Girl Scout troop leader and homeroom mother and president of the Welcome Wagon and treasurer of all of the other things snickered when I told her that I was cookie mom. “That was the one job I would never agree to do.” she said. The only person that cautioned me against being cookie mom was Laurie. Her mom was cookie mom and she remembers the horror. Of course I had already agreed to it by the time she said “Absolutely not. Do not do it.”
I went to the meeting and it was terrifying. There were websites to sign up for booths. There were forms in triplicate. There were deposit slips and routing numbers. There were no drinks.
The guy in charge of the booths (there is a guy whose job it is to schedule who gets what table at which grocery store on which Saturday) said if you want to score a good Safeway you had better login at 7:00 AM on the day designated to sign up for the first shift. There were ladies yelling about how last year they showed up at Giant and another troop was there and HOW COULD THEY ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN and WHAT WERE THE CONSEQUENCES?
The manual is 45 pages long.
My friend Beth and I stared at each other horrified.
What had we gotten ourselves into?
I remember selling Girl Scout cookies. I went door to door with Alison and people bought cookies and then later on we took them the cookies and they gave us money. It seemed very simple at the time. I had no idea about all of the legal implications.
After sitting in a smelly church meeting hall with no food or water for almost two hours I now know about most of the logistics and pantry politics. I would say I knew all of them, but I have to admit I zoned out for at least 15 minutes at one point. It was the only way I could maintain sanity.
Do you want to know why I signed up? Because treasurer sounded too hard, first aid mom sounded like I would have to learn gross biology things and the camping mom has to plan the trip and actually go camping and I am scared of the woods because that is where snakes and the Blair Witch live.
So I said I would be cookie mom.
My daughter is seven. She is a Brownie. She doesn’t care about selling the most Trefoils in the greater Washington D.C. area. She just thinks it will be cool to sell Girl Scout cookies. This seems overcomplicated for a fundraiser.
The crazy part is that this has been going on for over 80 years. I’m picturing my grandmother sitting in a smelly church in disbelief wanting to stab herself in the eye with her pen for being stupid enough to sign up to be cookie mom. I bet Grandma was smart enough to at least bring a flask.
The thing is that my grandma didn’t have generations of people to tell her that cookie mom is the crappiest job in the troop. I think people have been hiding this secret so that other people sign up to do it. I suspect a vast conspiracy not unlike the one where other parents don’t tell you how hard it is to put sheets on a bunk bed until after you buy them.
The secret Girl Scout sect of Opus Dei will probably come and get me, but I am here to tell you – don’t do it! Don’t sign up to be the cookie parent. I mean, if you are really bored and enjoy paper work and dividing by twelve (did you know that the troop has to buy cookies by the case and that even though the boxes are sold individually I have to order them in multiples of 12, or really do the math and order cases and if I have 11 extra boxes of Do-Si-Dos – if they were Thin Mints or Samoas I would just eat them all – I am stuck with $44 worth of calories I don’t want?) you might like being the cookie mom or dad. It is much more likely you will wish that instead you had denied your daughter the joy of scouting and you could instead watch live streaming “Twin Peaks” on your couch on Tuesday nights while your kid is in her room writing erotic Beezus and Ramona fan fiction.
Don’t buy bunk beds either.