so everywhere you look these days, there is a pair of pig-tailed, green-vested girls cornering you as you leave your favorite grocery store chain. i find that if you can avoid direct eye-contact with them, the pang of guilt is lessened slightly. ah, who am i kidding, as a former girl scout myself, i feel like i’m betraying the sisterhood. but i will tell you how long a box of peanut butter patties (by FAR the best variety) would survive in my house -one day. maybe two. which is why it is really in my best interest to politely sneak by the girls in green after every visit to trader joe’s (and anthropologie and starbucks, these ladies have really stepped up their game since i donned the uniform).
but given the fact that i was once in their shoes (not their exact ones, my feet were probably a lot bigger than theirs, i peaked in 5th grade), i should really reconsider purchasing a box or two. if nothing more than to support the long-standing girl scout tradition. and maybe, just maybe, one of those girls is like mini-shawna once was, a humble cookie-seller with visions of sea world swag dancing in her head.
let me explain.
every year, at least during the time of my girl scout tenure, there was a prize hierarchy based on the number of boxes sold. the more boxes sold, the more premium the prize. in san diego in the mid-90’s, the prize tiers were sea world-themed. it started simple enough -50 boxes sold earned you a t-shirt from the aquatic park, 150, a plush arctic seal, and so on and so on. but no shamu-adorned towel or matching tote bag could trump the top prize honors. for any girl scout who could sell 2,000 boxes before the designated deadline, the coveted prize of a sleepover at sea world’s penguin encounter awaited them. and being the competitive person that i am, in learning said top accolade, i decided that i’d do whatever it took to make that experience mine.
and by “whatever it took” i meant that i outsourced my efforts.
at the time, my dad worked for a large equipment rental company. a company with big clients and big client pocketbooks. you can probably see where this is going… anyway, in addition to their normal equipment orders, in learning of my goal, they also put in large orders for a few hundred boxes of girl scout cookies, too.
part of me felt a little like i was cheating the system, but the other part of me really wanted to sleep with penguins, so, i made peace with the guilt.
coupled with my own efforts (i figured i should probably do my part, too), i met and far exceeded my goal in no time. in fact, i, uh, we set the record for most boxes sold in the entire san diego county that year. i think we topped out somewhere around 5,000.
that’s a lot of cookies, y’all.
a fact we soon learned when all 5,000 boxes of them (or so) were delivered to our humble homestead. whoops.
in the end, all of the cookies were delivered to their rightful recipients. my dad had to send a 15 ft. moving truck to one of the clients with their respective order inside. when they rolled back the door, it was a floor to ceiling sea of thin mints, peanut butter sandwiches, and caramel de-lites. what most would consider a dream come true, i’d imagine.
later in the year, i was finally granted my night with the tuxedo-adorned birds. a few hundred of my fellow 2,000-box-sellers and i were treated to an old-fashioned sleepover in sea world’s penguin exhibit. we ate dinners from a sack, slept in sleeping bags, and watched a movie on the little screens they normally project an educational video about penguins on. in all honesty, it was pretty underwhelming. and furthermore, it was freezing! i’m not sure if you’ve ever been inside the penguin encounter, but they keep it pretty chilly in order to keep the aquatic birds happy and healthy. we didn’t even get to touch a penguin, either. oh well, it’s still a neat memory i get to share from time to time.
like right now, when i admit to y’all that i’m basically a cheater who exploited her father’s influence to climb her way to the top. whatever, i like to think i’m just resourceful.
p.s. remember when ross was the cookie duuuuuuude?0