Is It Weird That Girl Scouts Keep Selling Cookies Outside Weed Dispensaries?
What does the dispensary think about all this?
"First of all, we appreciate the entrepreneurial wherewithal to set up a stand outside of a dispensary. It's very impressive, and puts a lot of hope in my mind, regarding the bright future for our up-and-coming youth. If they are able to distinguish potential markets, and take advantage of them like this, it's a good thing for our future economy," Justin Hames, the manager at Foster Buds, told me.
He then made the point that it's not uncommon to see Girl Scouts outside grocery or convenience stores that sell cigarettes and alcohol, and no one has any problem with that -- so what's the difference with legal weed? Which is... kind of a good argument, actually.
"The girl was supervised the entire time, she was about 100ft away from our door, and she ended up making a lot of money and making a lot of people happy -- I definitely do not think there's anything wrong with that. All we've gotten was positive responses so far. It's a positive story, at a time where all we are seeing is negativity in the news."
What do Girl Scout parents think?
I talked to a dozen parents of current Girl Scouts, from different states around the country (though none were from states where marijuana is actually legal). Surprisingly, six out of the 12 said they would be OK with the move if they lived in a state with legalized marijuana dispensaries. Three said they were unsure, and the remaining three gave a flat-out "no."
Here are some quotes, straight from the parents' mouth-holes:
"I think it's probably the smartest strategy I've ever heard of, I mean -- where else would people be more likely to buy cookies? It's kind of hilarious."
"I don't see anything wrong with this. It's legal. I'd be there the whole time like always. I can see people getting uptight about this, but... if you ask me if it's 'morally wrong,' I really don't think so. It's not any more wrong than selling outside of a store that sells cigarettes or beer, right?"
"This makes me kind of uneasy. I don't think I would want my daughter to get involved with this kind of strategy... not because I think it is wrong, necessarily, but I do think that the larger organization (of the Girl Scouts) wouldn't take too kindly to it."
"I don't know if this has been the case forever, but more recent iterations of cookie season has been used to encourage girls to get a feel for money management and entrepreneurship. A big part of that is knowing your audience and I have to say, those girls sure did -- munchies and cookies go together! So personally, I think it was really smart and is a great example of how the cookie program helps girls develop savvy business skills. And it's technically not even against the rules, so more power to them."
"I think it's funny, and a nice stunt -- but, I think it just propagates the cutthroat methods girls feel like they need to utilize today to get the upper hand. Frankly, I don't like my girl selling cookies, period. So, I can't really say I would be all for this."
A business model for a changing world
While individual troops (like the one in New Mexico) have provisions in their handbooks that outlaw booths in front of dispensaries, and the national organization is clearly ruffled by the subject (I got a firm "no comment" when I called to inquire), a surprising 50% of the parents I talked to would be OK with their girls setting up shop in front of a dispensary.
"Look, if you asked me 20, even 10 years ago, I would probably have given a hard 'no.' But, things are different now. It's a different generation raising these kids, a generation that is more open to marijuana and it's changing role in our country," said one parent of an NJ Girl Scout. "It's more cutthroat than ever selling boxes, anyway -- is this worse than harassing my co-workers?"
In the end, if Karen from accounting can send 12 emails a day about her daughter's boxes and booths can be set up 10ft away from a beer/cigarette display in a supermarket, why are we all freaking out about Girl Scouts in front of dispensaries? Shouldn't we be freaking out about pitting our grade-school girls against each other in a Gordon Gekko-esque battle of ruthless sales tactics, instead?
Though, personally, I think if kids learn about supply and demand early, our economic future should burn brighter than the lawn crowd at a 311 concert. "This is a perfect example of capitalism and entrepreneurship in its purist form," Hames said. "And I mean that in a good way."
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