The Girl Scout Cookie selling season has just come to an end and the guileless pixies in green smocks and berets have scored another bonanza, sweet-talking our city and the country into purchasing umpteen boxes of Hoedowns, Caramel deLites and old-fashioned Shortbreads.
While this annual cookie campaign might be a proud rite of passage for America’s daughters, it’s no innocent bake sale. The organization will ring up a whopping $800 million in sales this year by mobilizing 1.6 million—almost 80%—of its enterprising preteen members. The girls also went digital in 2015, getting you to click-pick even more of their addictive treats.
This is troubling. Not because the organization appears to be exploiting a gaping loophole in child labor laws or that its corporate baking partners gobble up a huge share of the windfall.
What really upsets me is that the bone-headed Boy Scouts (I was one) didn’t come up with the idea first. While the naïve lads of the wolf pack are pouring their energies into a Pinewood Derby contest and attending national jamborees (jamboree … the mere word conjures images of a giant tent city of suckers), their scouting sisters are mastering the art of the digital sale and optimizing scale via social media. Like little Cat Cora’s, the national biscuit blitz is teaching them the entrepreneurial skills they’ll need to parlay recipes into riches. And I thought the Boy Scout motto was “Be Prepared.”
So I hereby offer the Boy Scouts of America a modest proposal: put your own army of midget hucksters to work. Forget about outdated notions like meritorious service, wilderness survival, friendship and fun. It’s time to rip a page from the Girl Scout handbook and get where the real money is—in dough.
No sweet petite treats for the Boy Scouts either. What they need is an honest, manly-sized snack; a hefty taste sensation that can be held with two hands and noshed, not nibbled. Yes, the Boy Scouts should enlist their three million members in satisfying our collective craving for a good bagel.
The key is creative marketing. Instead of sissy-sounding names like Do-si-dos and Tagalongs, Boy Scout Bagels need substantial names: Big Daddys (poppyseed), The Ali Babba (sesame), and Fuhgeddaboutits (garlic). New Yorkers, for example, might hesitate to place an order for dainty Trefoils, but they’ll jump on these brawny snacks: “Put me down for five dozen Dark Vaders (pumpernickel) and two dozen Shebangs (everything).”
I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a place for Thin Mints, Samoas and the other Girl Scout offerings. But the girls have been masters of this multilevel marketing engine for too long.
Get ready America—the cookie’s about to crumble. Boy Scout Bagels, coming soon.