I am often struck by what an overwelming operation the annual Girl Scout cookie sale has become. Not only in terms of numbers ($780 million a year), but in terms of the public consciousness. Pay attention at your office job that time of year, and you’ll see grown adults, perfectly capable of buying sweets at the grocery store for a much more reasonable price, seeking out their fellow adult office workers, who have unconsciously been drafted to be their daughters’ cookie-selling sub-contractors. To say nothing of the passive adult office workers who don’t bat an eye when cornered by these street level cookie pushers, sign-up sheet in hand, asking if they want to lose $10 or $20 for no specific reason. It’s hardly salesmanship anymore, either on the part of the parents, or the children who are supposed to be learning a valuable lesson. But it’s all for a good cause, right?
But then, how many of these cookie buyers are donating similar amounts of money to other worthy causes, causes with greater, life-and-death stakes? Is the cookie fiend in accounting donating even $1 to AMFAR, Amnesty International, or the local children’s hospital? Or would the average American rather be a gluttonous consumer than a charitable donator? Maybe your favorite disease foundation should take their cause to the streets and try to beat the Girl Scouts at their game. I personally would much rather buy thin mints from the Surfrider Foundation than the Brownie mother in my office. Especially if the can get me a better deal.