Girl Scout Cookies can tear communities apart
Often, Girl Scouts are competing directly with each other for business. This is especially true in smaller communities where the pool of potential customers is shallow. In places where everyone knows each other, how do you decide whose cookies to buy? It's like Sophie’s Choice but with millions of pounds of peanut butter...
"We live in a fairly big city now, but we used to be in a really small town, with only like 8,000 people," said California resident August. "Needless to say, there was a lot of overlap. Everyone knew each other, there were a lot of girls living there trying to sell cookies to the same people."
And that's a weird setup. If you are friends with two families that have active Girl Scouts selling cookies, how do you decide which one gets your money? Should there at least be a coin flip?
"Often, people had to choose between two or more families. They had to say, 'Well, who am I going to buy cookies from? Jane's girl or Annie's girl?'" said August. "We've been on both ends of awkward conversations about this. It's hard not to have hard feelings. This is where things can get political, and where you actually need to start acting Machiavellian. And this is about cookies.
"This really was brought to light in one specific situation," she continued. "One family in the neighborhood has this big BBQ every summer. It's kind of the social event of the year. Well, one year, a specific family did not get the invite. Earlier that year, the family in question stopped buying cookies from the family that hosted the BBQ... the lack of an invite wasn't a coincidence."
The girls can get catty
Even though selling cookies has apparently become the parents' game to play, the girls are still heavily involved, of course. And the ultra-competitive apples don't seem to fall far from the passive-aggressive tree.
"Like girls their age tend to do, things can get catty," said Emily, a mom in Massachusetts. "I mean, they get catty over everything. Where to sit at lunch. How many likes they have on Instagram. When you pit them against each other, even in what is supposed to be a friendly, fostering environment, things get heated. I've definitely seen tears from some unkind words, stemming from all this. It's like The Hunger Games.”
"It doesn't even just extend to selling," Emily continued. "The whole process kind of breeds this animosity. One of my daughter's friends really wanted this one specific prize: It was a purple chair. And she would not stop talking about it. One of their 'friends' sold more cookies than everyone else, so got the top pick. She decided to pick the chair -- even though she could have had anything on the list, and this prize wasn't even that cool -- just to spite her. This kind of stuff is the norm. Maybe it's just the competitive nature of girls that age, but this just seems to make it worse."