It’s always a table set up outside your local grocery store that drags you in. It’s Saturday morning, you’ve got a wicked hangover, and all you want to do is get in and out of the shitshow that is the supermarket as quickly as possible.
The cookies are all arranged neatly in front of you, and there is one, maybe even two disapproving adults looking you up and down as you walk up to the table. Three Girl Scouts smile earnestly at you as you try to pretend that you weren’t out at the bar four hours ago housing Miller Lites. That you even made it to the grocery store at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday is a miracle, and in the fog of your hangover you decide that you’ll stop off and “at least have a look.”
There’s no obligation for you to stop at this table and start chatting up the eight-year-olds with their stupid pins, but you do it anyways because you start to get inside your own head. “Yeah, you know what? I could use some fuckin’ cookies.” And therein lies the problem with Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scout cookies are more overrated than cocaine, but it’s always around this time of year that you see everyone carrying a sleeve of their favorite strand around with them. You don’t know you want Girl Scout cookies until you physically see them.
Trefoils and Do-Si-Dos? Yeah, you can buy similar products from Nabisco for around $3.50 a box. And you would usually practice moderation when buying a box of cookies from the grocery store. A box of Oreos would generally be enough to satisfy your craving. But not at the Girl Scout table. Oh, no. You’ll take two boxes each of the Samoas and Thin Mints, a box of Tagalongs, and you know what? Why don’t you throw in a box of Savannah Smiles for good measure, too.
Before you know it, you’ve spent thirty dollars on Girl Scout cookies and you haven’t even entered the grocery store yet. That’s a bar tab for Saturday night that you just blew because you couldn’t help yourself.
And guess what? I’ve been there, man. I get it. Those tables that get set up in front of supermarkets clean the fuck up. My dad used to buy Girl Scout cookies by the boatload because, and I quote, “how can you say no to three Girl Scouts who live a block away from your house?” The answer is you can’t.
In Chicago, New York, Austin, San Francisco, or any other metro area this isn’t a problem. You simply don’t have Girl Scouts walking around to shitty apartment buildings filled with drunk, stoned twenty-somethings peddling cookies. But you do have them in front of CVS pharmacies. Jewel Osco’s and H-E-B’s. Bed, Bath, and Beyonds and Targets. Hell, I’ve seen Girl Scouts set up shop outside my local gym and even that table appeared to be doing pretty goddamn well. The Girl Scouts set up shop in front of these stores and they make money hand over fist. More so, I think, than they do in the suburbs. Do you want to know why?
It’s because Girl Scouts, and by extension, their incredibly mediocre cookies, prey on the mind of a 25-year-old like nothing else in this world. It isn’t the cookies that you want. It’s the look of approval from the parents and Girl Scouts that you crave. You’re feeling guilty about whatever it is you did last night, and you think that if you buy enough Thin Mints to feed a small army your guilty conscience will go away.
That box of Tagalongs that cost you six bucks this year isn’t going to take back that off-color joke you made about your friend’s mother last night. Those shitty Trefoils aren’t going to undue the failed pickup line that left you blushing and alone at the bar. It’s a delicate dance we do with the Girl Scouts year in and year out, and while I commend them for their savvy business practices, I am here to tell you that their reign of terror (at least on me) is over.
No longer will I feel some sense of obligation to stop at their table and peruse their inventory. No longer will I deal with a mother and father giving me dirty looks as I fork over a crisp twenty for a bunch of Thin Mints and Toffee-tastics. From now on I’ll be buying my cookies in moderation from the grocery store. I’m no longer under the spell of Girl Scout cookies. They simply aren’t that good, and I’d rather spend my money on drinks that I won’t remember buying..