It’s Girl Scout cookie time! As a Girl Scout leader, let me personally thank those of you who have already purchased your cookies. And let me warn those of you who have not. You may soon be out of luck. Just like seemingly everything else, pandemic-related supply chain issues and a nationwide labor shortage are now taking an unappetizing toll on cookie sales.
Let me preface this by saying Girl Scout cookie sales are the largest girl-run business in the world! Scouts, just like mine, are learning important lessons in goal setting, inventory management, order fulfillment, and distribution, not to mention sales and marketing. Cookie sales give the girls an important taste of what it takes to be a female entrepreneur.
The Girl Scouts pivoted during the pandemic, selling cookies online and through DoorDash to limit direct exposure to customers. They invested in credit card readers and phone apps to avoid cash transactions. They even launched an online Girl Scout Cookie Finder to help customers locate troops when retail outlets limited booth availability.
But this year has introduced a new economic lesson – one that Girl Scouts USA has even introduced a new badge for – the “Girl Scouts Cookies and the Supply Chain” badge. Little Brownie Bakers in Louisville, the official baker for 70 Girl Scout Councils across the United States including the Central Indiana Council, has been hit especially hard by the recent labor shortage. It simply doesn’t have enough employees to provide the volume of cookies our girls have committed to selling – and won’t until after our official cookie selling season is over.
We’re working with the girls now to help manage their expectations and adjust their fundraising goals. Fewer cookies = fewer sales = fewer adventures.
The cookie cupboards in Carmel are already dry – and what we have left in stock is pretty paltry. So, if you see Girl Scouts hustling for a sale outside Kroger, don’t be surprised if their booth is stocked with nothing but Thin Mints and Lemon-Ups. Consider buying what they’ve got, even if it’s not your perennial favorite. Your purchase could help them make lemonade out of lemons. And in the current economic environment, that may be the best lesson they could learn.
Tammy is the owner of Mother of Pearls, a full-service, boutique public relations agency in Carmel, IN, that specializes in media relations, media training and crisis communications.