As I left the Kroger last night, I pulled up short. Right there, blocking the exit, were a couple of very cute little girls in green uniforms, hawking cookies. And I had no cash. I ran through my options…I could pretend not to see them. But there was no missing them. They were RIGHT THERE. I could pretend I had forgotten something and duck back into the store and go out the other exit. But for all I knew, there was another detachment of Girl Scouts at the other exit. They run a tight ship, you know, and I imagine they had planned for any number of contingencies. I could distract their attention by putting them on the defensive: “I don’t even believe you make these cookies yourselves,” I could say (which is true; I don’t think they do). But the last thing I wanted was to match wits with Girl Scouts. They can be pretty cagey. I decided it was best just to tell the truth. “Sorry, ladies,” I said. “I don’t have any cash.” They gave me a doubtful squint. I turned my pockets inside out to show them they were empty. [Author’s note: I made that last part up.]
Anyway, I survived that run-in with the Girl Scouts and made it safely home. And just when I had managed to put the whole thing out of my mind, I checked my email inbox, where I found the following from a blog reader named Kristen:

“I think a future APF Poetry Challenge should involve Girl Scout Cookies. I’d love to see an epic about a Thin Mint.”

I think that’s a brilliant idea. So today’s topic is Girl Scout cookies. A poem, a reminiscence, an amusing anecdote, a fictional story, an epic, a mock epic, a painful memory…turn your imagination loose. Kirsten has high hopes for this day. Please don’t let her down.

  • JJ
    2:39 PM, 18 February 2011

    This is absolutely 100% true. I can show you my resume if you doubt me.
    I used to be a Girl Scout. And by that I mean I used to work for the Girl Scout Council in Washington DC (I was their Help Desk/Computer guru). I was one of only 4 men in an office of about 100 women.

    Because I worked for them I had to register as a Girl Scout. I had my hideous GS tie (the men had ties, not skirts and sashes). So when friends would jokingly ask me if I had a uniform, I could honestly say I did. A tie. It was only for the annual meetings and our once a year requirement to attend a local troop meeting.

    I think the connection to GS cookies is pretty obvious. But if it’s not, here’s more juicy info for you. I carpooled, and worked in the same cubicle as, the woman who ran the cookie sale. I often had to ride with her to some cookie depot to drop off cases of cookies for various troops. During the sale I had my fair share of cookies. After the sale I often ended up with cases of Thin Mints. Many of the leftovers got donated, but the staff got to snag some of the extras. And since I often helped the woman who ran the sale, I often had cases (which consisted of anywhere from 8-12 boxes of cookies) thrown my way. And yes, I said cases plural. I gave a lot of them away, but I had a freezer full of Thin Mints for years.

    I worked at the Girl Scouts for 5 1/2 years. Since leaving there in 2005 I haven’t eaten a single Girl Scout cookie, even when they were held in front of my face. I think you can see why.

    As far as who makes them, ours were made by a bakery in Louisville, KY (Little Brownie Bakers) so I’m guessing the ones in Nashville come from there too. I think there are only 2 authorized bakers for them. I met the owner many times. Really cool guy. The DC council sold over a million boxes on any given cookie season (usually Jan. – Mar.). The numbers went up every year, even in bad economic years, but the year I left they had sold around 1.5 or 1.6 million I think.

    So there you have it. Everything you wanted to know about the Girl Scouts. Or at least me and my relation to them.

    • Jonathan Rogers
      6:13 AM, 19 February 2011

      JJ, that was awesome. I was picturing amateur hour on APF: Girl Scout, but you and Canaan Bound brought a level of professionalism that this blog hardly deserves. Patrick, you have once again outdone yourself. Thanks for the Thin Mints. Dan K, that was the worst recipe since Aaron’s Pillsbury-marshmallow abomination (is it okay to say that?). Great poem, Kirsten. Dan H, your story of marital disintegration doesn’t square with the family-friendly ethos of this blog. Please amend your ways.

  • Patrick
    3:41 PM, 18 February 2011

    Ode to the Thin Mint: may it never go stale
    Thin yet teaming with taste
    Chocolate coated confection
    Crisp crunchy cookie base
    Mint mingled in with perfection

    Driving desire to Do-si-do
    Delicious desert deLites
    Tagalong now, for off we go
    Try to resist it you might

    Traipsing off to Trefoil Chalet
    Where the troopers in green
    Place their wares on display
    Arrayed as tempters dream

    But the most tempting star
    The scrumptious Thin Mint
    Lured me here from afar
    “Tell me, where has it went?”

    “We’re sorry, sir, they’re all sold out”
    “Have some Carmel deLites instead?”
    I wanted to scream, I wanted to shout
    Chagrin surged through my head

    Then she mentioned a troop at Kroger
    “They are still in fresh supply”
    So to there I dashed on over
    With hopes restored quite high

    There a man blocked the way
    With his pockets inside-out
    He had no money to pay
    But hated to leave without

    The thin yet teaming with taste
    Chocolate coated confection
    Crisp crunchy cookie base
    Mint mingled in with perfection

    I couldn’t wait another minute
    I pulled up right beside him
    “I’ll have 3 boxes of Thin Mints”
    “Two for me and one for him”

  • Dan Kulp
    4:59 PM, 18 February 2011

    I don’t have any epics or anecdotes rattling around in my head; but I do have a breakfast recipe.
    1/2 tube of do-si-dos
    1/2 cup milk (more or less to taste)

    Fill a medium bown with a 1/2 tube of do-si-dos, each cookie broken approxmately in half.
    Pour milk over cookies.
    Enjoy with spoon.

  • Dan Kulp
    5:41 PM, 18 February 2011

    wow, typos aplenty.bown = bowl, approximately

  • Sarah B C
    7:05 PM, 18 February 2011

    I literally am finishing off a sleeve of Thin Mints awhilst reading this……

  • Kristen
    8:29 PM, 18 February 2011

    Yes! Jonathan, this made my day! I love the stories, poems and recipes thus far.
    JJ, I never knew there were men who were registered as Girl Scouts – that’s awesome!

    I thought I better participate since it was my idea… Here is my attempt at a Girl Scout cookie poem:

    It’s that time of year once more
    I tried, but I couldn’t ignore
    The girls on my stoop
    Who belonged to the troop
    Ped’ling delectable de-lites galore

    “Ma’am, would you like some cookies?”
    I could tell that these were not rookies
    They wouldn’t take no
    For an answer, so
    I said, “Let me have a look-y”

    Do-Si-Dos, Thin Mints, Lemon Chalets
    And Tagalongs all met my gaze
    But the star of the cast
    Stood out pretty fast
    Samoas never cease to amaze

    Named for Southern Pacific Isles
    Wrapped in caramel and coconut with style
    Their delicate crumb
    Inspired me to hum
    An exotic tune for a while

    “I’ll take a whole case,” I relent
    They reply, “It’s money well spent”
    I forked over the dough
    ‘Cause I couldn’t say no
    And so concludes my lament

  • js
    12:23 AM, 19 February 2011

    What’s a Catholic Priest’s favorite cookie? the Sin Vent

    you did ask for a rhyme.

    What do these numbers mean?

    10 2 2 2 1 1

    The way our Girl Scout cookie order form looks. Can you guess which cookie is the number 10 = ($35.00) ?

    You guessed it! Thin Mints! The 2’s are Do-Si-Do’s, Tagalongs and Samoas. The 1’s are the cookies I feel sorry for, like Trefoils and Lemon Cremes.

  • Canaan Bound
    12:58 AM, 19 February 2011

    Top 10 things you may or may not know about Girl Scouts (and their cookies):
    1. Only buy cookies from a Girl Scout if she asks you directly to buy them. Take it from me. I was a Girl Scout for over ten years.

    2. Girl Scouts DO sometimes use questionable strategic marketing techniques by placing booths at all possible public entrances/exits of stores. To my knowledge, the national Council does not condone haggling, cajoling, or scalping. Nonetheless, I can personally attest to the occurrence of all of the above.

    3. Know what you’re getting into. GS cookies are up to $3.50 a box these days, which might be more than you’re willing to pay, considering the measly number of cookies per box. Practically highway robbery. (Or would it be sidewalk robbery?)

    4. If you decide to patronize Scouts, it’s best to buy with strings attached. Make your purchase conditional (i.e. Have the girls sing or dance or perform a skit—at least you’ll get a little entertainment for all that $$ moolah $$). Chances are, they’ll be happy to oblige. If not, you’ll be happy to keep your right arm.

    5. Girl Scout cookies are freezable, and they’ll last ten years or more. I know, I know, you think I’m crazy. The Lemon Coolers pictured [here] were retired back in the early nineties, but a host mom on a college choir tour dug a box out of her freezer, and they were the best I’ve ever eaten.

    6. Girl Scout cookies that you might find in your freezer that were purchased before 1993 will taste better than any cookies bought since then, due to the changeover in the bakeries used. (If you’ve ever wondered why the Caramel deLites look and taste like Fudge Stripes, it’s probably because the present cookie bakery, ABC Bakers, is owned by the Keebler company.) Personally, I can’t stand the processed taste.

    7. Some Scouts are working to earn money for their troop—raising funds for activities, camps, and trips. But apparently, not all troops decide to work for a common goal. I have been told that girls can now opt to sell for personal prizes. This bothers me greatly. Seems something important is lost if girls are not working together for a common goal for the common good.

    8. The movie Troop Beverly Hills is one of my favorite movies of all time. Shelly Long at her best. The movie depicts the California troop selling cookies in a most unconventional way. I always wanted to have a star studded jamboree. Tell me this wouldn’t make you want to buy a box. [Cookie Time]

    9. I once sold a box of Thin Mints to Scott Hamilton. Back then, they were $2 a box, but he handed my friend a $20 and winked, saying, “Keep the change.”

    10. Cookie cases (the cardboard boxes in which a dozen or so boxes of cookies are delivered) are arguably the best part about GS cookies. Whenever we had a deep enough snow, my brother and I would grab a couple of cookie cases and head outside. When packed tight with snow, the box is a perfect mold for igloo bricks.

  • Canaan Bound
    1:00 AM, 19 February 2011

    Dang. The hyperlinks didn’t work. Here they are. I know you don’t want to miss them…especially the Cookie Time one.

  • Dan
    3:20 AM, 19 February 2011

    Arc for a short story: Boy grows up in suburban Chicago, loves Samoas for his entire life. Meanwhile, girl grows up in one of those godforsaken states on the other side of the Mississippi River and loves Caramel Delights. They meet and fall in love, in part because of their shared love for the same cookie with a different name depending upon geographical region. But the cultural differences are too great in the end, with the annual disagreement about what to call the cookie one February as the last nail in the coffin.

  • luaphacim
    3:31 PM, 19 February 2011

    When I was a lad, my family was in a 4-H club, and we hated the Girl Scouts in our neighborhood.
    Every spring, we would traipse from door to door, soliciting orders for (somewhat outrageously priced) frozen burritos, egg rolls, pastries, cookie dough, and pizza. This was our 4-H club’s main fundraiser for the year.

    Each stomach-twisting doorbell ring was a trial for my sister, brothers, and me. We fumbled through our spiel, explaining how we were from the 4-H club and we were selling these frozen pizzas and things and would they like to buy any? (Cue doe-eyes here.)

    We always did pretty well if we got an early enough start. About midway through our sales period, though, our market would start to dry up. They didn’t always say it was because they had bought a dozen boxes of Thin Mints, but we could see the piles of empty boxes and plastic wrappers strewn across the floor behind them. We could smell the mint-chocolate aroma of betrayal on their breath. And we were furious at those Girl Scouts.

    It never came to full-out war, but some dirty looks were definitely exchanged as our two groups passed one another, both uniformed and bearing clipboards and order-sheets.

  • Jess
    5:37 PM, 19 February 2011

    Man, the last time we bought any girl scout cookies was when our neighbor was a girl scout. Since then, well, my mom pried a No Soliciting sign off of an old door my dad brought home. I have not eaten a Thin Mint in over six years. Saving money meant lots of burnt chocolate chip cookies (kids in the kitchen and a sad oven). Saving money also meant that we had to choke them down anyway (and I can’t stand milk so there was nothing to console me). As an answer to all of these great stories of door-to-door salesmanship… I have not lived long enough to have a good answer. But a couple years ago we did fund-raising for my brother’s baseball team and had to sell frozen cookie-dough-already-shaped-into-cookies. You think Girl Scout cookies are a rip-off; these were $20 a box. And they weren’t even cooked. We bought a box ourselves (so that we could at least have sold five and gotten a baseball for a prize). They were a lot better in the frozen-dough form. Yuck. It is hard to be a salesman when you can’t keep from pitying the people who buy from you. I wouldn’t make a good charlatan.

  • Jess
    5:51 PM, 19 February 2011

    Along similar lines… Seven/eight years ago (before our neighbor was a Girl Scout and before the No Soliciting sing), we left our garage door open. For all ye poor unaware folks, our garage door opener from the inside looked exactly like a glowing door-bell. Yep, you can see where this is going. My family was gathered peacefully downstairs learning about conquistadors. Suddenly, a groaning, grinding sound filled the house. “What was that sound?!” My mother’s face paled. She ran upstairs, her little children scrambling up in her wake. She looked out the front screen door. No one there. Then she cautiously walked to the door into the garage. She opened it. Standing there, frightened and stiff, were two Boy Scouts. They had clipboards. “W-we’re sorry ma’am, we thought that was your doorbell.” Mama smiled/grimaced, pressed it again, and the door opened. They didn’t try to sell us anything. The last thing I saw was their heels. We went back to learning about conquistadors.

  • Christopher
    12:24 AM, 22 February 2011

    Minty Thins

    Child child how can I deny you, standing there so cute,
    “Would you like to buy some cookies?” she said so astute,
    My mind said no, my heart said yes, Lord what do I do,
    Just keep on walking with a smile, and look down at my shoe?

    Proceeding through the doorway, I dreamt of minty thins,
    Just one year ago I savored them, I strike a humble grin,
    16 per pack, that’s 2 per hour, in my 8 hour day,
    I’ve made my decision, I’ll take one box today.

    Glowing ever brightly, with a simple smile,
    She reaches out her hand and says “One box for a trial?”
    I’ve yet to say a word when she holds the box up high,
    “My little dear you are so sweet.” I mumble with a sigh.

    My dream has been distorted; this is not what I had planned,
    I reach for my pocket book, and retrieve with my hand,
    It’s one lonely bill, so I settle for her offer,
    My final decision makes me smile, and my heart a little softer.

    “Minty Thins” I said, “are my favorite of the sort,”
    She giggles sweetly with a wink, then gives a brief report.
    “Minty Thins are your favorite Sir? Thin Mints are what they are called”
    I hand her the bill and say, “I see twelve, I’ll take them all!”

    Child child how can I deny you standing there so cute,
    Of course I’ll buy some cookies, you could’ve stood there mute.
    My mind said yes, my heart complete, how should I reply?
    Oh, this pleasant place she took me to I could only say “goodbye”.

  • Hamida
    11:23 PM, 12 March 2012

    I need ingredients! To make cookies with flavor of mint.But instead  i took the easy way i went to find girl scout to get some thin mints. When i got home i did my blueprint of the world famous thin mint blueprint (store). From that that on i was as fat as 1,ooooooo  INGREDIENTS.

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