Girl Scouts Frown On Outsourcing Cookie Sales

Sometimes the job of selling cookies is outsourced to parents, and a recent opinion article in The Washington Post criticized that practice. It says parents should sell with their kids not for them.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

If you're not snacking on pretzels, try some Thin Mints - because it's the middle of Girl Scouts cookie season. And our last word in business today is: cookie outsourcing.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Last year, Girl Scouts around the country sold 200,000 boxes of cookies, and raised nearly $800 million. But maybe we should say not the Girl Scouts sold them all. Sometimes, the work is outsourced to their parents. And a recent opinion article in The Washington Post criticized that practice.

INSKEEP: Kelly Parisi, of the Girl Scouts, says parents should be selling cookies with their kids, not for them.

KELLY PARISI: We do not encourage parents to sell cookies at work because bottom line, girls don't gain those skills when they're not interacting with customers, counting money, coming up with sales techniques. It really deprives them of a valuable experience.

INSKEEP: Yeah, that sounds good. But it's a time-honored tradition in offices - including NPR's - for parents to sell the cookies, not to mention in the office of Girl Scouts dad Matt Fischer of Jacksonville, Fla.

MATT FISCHER: It's kind of like crack around where I work. People are just like hey, you got the cookies? You got the cookies? It's like yeah, I got the sheet, come here, got what you need.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: He's just being honest. He's sold between 200 and 300 boxes of cookies every year at his office - but agrees that kids should do some of the work.

FISCHER: Half of our sales was definitely mom and dad. And it wasn't like we had to work at it. We just basically would just sit there. My daughter actually, she would work at it. She would go door to door, you know, work the booths at the grocery store. And, you know, she did gain the skills. But yeah, there's definitely a mom-and-dad factor there.

(LAUGHTER)

INSKEEP: One Scout in San Francisco found a way to boost cookie sales without the help of mom and dad's office.

GREENE: That's right. Thirteen-year-old Danielle Lee set up shop right in front of a medical marijuana dispensary. Her mom approved the location, saying quote, "selling cookies to marijuana users allows for a teachable moment."

That is the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

INSKEEP: Mmm. Cookies. I'm Steve Inskeep.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MARY JANE")

RICK JAMES: (Singing) Mary Jane. I love her just the same. Mary Jane. I love her Mary, baby, just the same. Mary Jane. The woman plays no games. No. No. No. Mary Jane...

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