By Reg Chapman

By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

— It has become the time of year many of us look forward to: Girl Scout cookie season. However, this year, some Girl Scout troops aren’t so happy with how those cookies are being sold.

For the first time, each troop was given a certain number of cookies. “Cookies NOW” is the new approach to selling girl scout cookies. Instead of going door to door and soliciting orders, Girl Scouts now order ahead and then try and sell the inventory.

It’s their job to sell those boxes, but some girls are finding it’s not as easy as it sounds.

“It’s kind of more difficult because you have to carry them around everywhere you go,” said Caitlyn Swiech.

For 10-year-old Caitlyn and the rest of Girl Scout Troop 53631 in North St. Paul, the new approach is not working.

Stacie Swiech says her troop is on the hook for more than a thousand boxes of cookies.

“Almost every troop has an excess of cookies,” said Swiech.

A online cookie trading site for troops shows how bad the problem is. For example, a troop in Brooklyn Park has 1,500 boxes and owes the Girls Scout Council $4,500. Another troop in Robbinsdale has more than 700 boxes of cookies left and owe more than $2,000.

“It makes me kind of sad,” said Swiech.

The Minnesota Wisconsin River Valley Council says they do not want any troops to be financially burdened by cookies. They extended cookie sells for one week and now have added another Cookie Comeback Day this weekend.

The Council says 75 percent of troops managed its inventory extremely well and only 1 percent have a serious inventory problem.

It is good news for troops in N. St. Paul, but not good enough for them to do this again next year.

“Our troop has unanimously decided not to sell cookies next year. It has left such a bad taste. We will look for other ways to do fundraisers,” said Swiech.

The Cookie Comeback Day is set for March 19, and only unopened boxes of cookies will be taken back.

The Girls Scout Council said troops sold more than 5 million packages of cookies, which makes them the largest cookie program in the country.

Comments (28)
  1. WHAT????? says:

    This sounds like they are starting a pyramid scheme. YOU SELL COOKIES NOW!!!!

    1. Daisy Mom says:

      As a Troop Leader, I just returned 11 unopened cases to our Cookie Cupboard last night. I highly doubt this troop has open so many cases (125 since 12 boxes come in a case) that they are now stuck with thousands of dollars of cookies. And instead of publicly bashing an organization that does wonderful things for our girls, how about reaching out to council an asking for help. Please stay positive and do what’s best for the girls.

    2. Rose says:

      Except for teh .87 cents that goes to the bakery to pay for the cookies every cent goes back to girls in proceeds or for programs, training, kits, and camp (those properies cost a lot of money) My daughter and I have looked at other horse camps and GS is the best deal we have ever found. If you have the right leaders giels learn a lot of life skills selling cookies. We orderd our cookies no one just got a bunch to sell- we had pelenty of time to sell too. These leaders didn’t plan well and when they saw they’d be holding the bag they made a stink even afterteh council had already announced anotehr come back day. That was plain dirty of those leaders- someone is going to pay for those people who took didn’t make a paln and didn’t use the come back days. I just hope my daughter’s horse camp doesn’t go up.

    3. D. Kretz says:

      This is a pyramid scheme. The company makes $750 million dollars on these cookies on the back of child labor. It is reprehensible and I would never buy a single box. In my neighborhood the largest home (in excess of $2,000,000) was built by a guy who sold school trips. Someone needs to stop these schemes. Our only weapon now is simply to refuse to buy them. Then the girl scouts will really learn about ethical business.

  2. JKB says:

    Tell ya what, if those boxes have any kind of address information on them, theyd be shipped right back to the Girls Scouts of America! It is ridiculous to expect 10 yr olds be responsible for such huge sales and then responsible for the remaining fee. Id pull my daughter out of the troop too! The Scouts have become VERY different than when I was one.

  3. Girl Scouts Rock! says:

    We have a troop we have had such a hard time this year, people are not buying and we have opened cases alot, we will be stuck with all the cookies. i spoke to the council in Northfield and thats like talking to a brick wall.

  4. Scouts says:

    Any one want to buy $3500.00 in GS cookies

  5. Sheila says:

    Being a GS myself many years ago, one of the best parts of selling was waiting for the big delivery day. I dont know about now but we use to be able to work for highest seller patches. GS is fun for everyone. Dont start stressing the leaders and the kids.

  6. Girl scout says:

    As a sister of a girl scout I sat OUTSIDE in COLD MN with her so she could try to sell cookies..when all they get from selling 1 box is 55 CENTS…. the company that makes the cookies gets like 79 cents and then the rest goes to council….. all the money the girls get goes to field trips if they dont sell enough they cant afford the more fun trips

    1. sb830 says:

      You sound like WCCO…why don’t you check your facts before you post?

    2. Serkan says:

      Our Troop #30179 here in Clinton Township, MI has participated in the 100th airnvensay birthday in a bag community service project. Our troop consists of 9 11th graders at CVHS who put together 9 birthday bags!The bags include cake mix, frosting, can pan, paper plates, paper napkins, candles,plastic sliverware, invitations, streamers, balloons, gift bags, wrapping paper, thank-yous, and banners.

  7. Junior Mom says:

    I have been so turned off by GirlScout cookies that I refuse to buy another box. Next year when I see a troop out there selling I am going to give them a donation rather than buy a box of cookies. Someone needs to really investigate this Non-Profit organization if they sell all those cookies where is all the money going. They have sold off many camps and the girls pay for all the events they attend and sometimes at an increased cost.

    1. sb830 says:

      Get real. Investigate? The organization has complete transparency and must to so to maintain it’s non-profit status and what little outside funding it gets. You people act like the organization is sitting on pots of gold or something.

      1. wow says:

        Well When you see the “council” Drive up in a brand new 60K car and expensive suit… you wonder how does a “non profit organization” employee can afford THAT.

  8. Shirley says:

    I was a Girl Scout, from Brownies through Cadets, and when I had daughters of my own, I became a Girl Scout leader. It WAS a wonderful experience THEN, but the Scouting “organization” has changed and when my Granddaughters were in Scouts, I preferred to give the troop a donation of cash to use for Their needs rather than have them out selling cookies which provided funding to the councils, enriched the cookie manufacturers, but provided very little to the troop members and leaders that did the work. As a former “Cookie Captain”, it’s hard to believe, in these difficult economic times, that Troops would be expected to order cases of cookies first and then “Hope ” they can be sold. “DUMB PLAN!!!” One of the reasons scouting isn’t so much fun anymore is the “disconnect” between the administration level of the Councils and the needs of the troops and their leaders. I wish the troops well and will buy cookies if I find troops trying to sell extra cookies this weekend, but I still think it was a dumb idea.

  9. Karl Gerstenberger says:

    The cookies are made with questionable industrial ingredients including cheap oils harvested at expense of rain forest habitat. Palm oil harvesting is directly destroying Orangutan habitat. Childhood obesity and diabetes are two issues connected to highly processed foods. We do not need government intervention. We need the Girl Scouts to stand up and take a leadership position on nutrition and cooking with foods from the outer ring departments of any gorcery store (whole ingredients).

  10. lol says:

    Why would i pay $4 for a box of girl scout cookies, when i can buy other name brand cookies that are better tasting and cheaper. Sorry but we said no to the 1 girl scout that showed up at our door.

  11. sb830 says:

    This is a false statement “For the first time, each troop was given a certain number of cookies.” Troops were not “given” a certain number of cookies and expected to sell them. Troops DECIDED how many cookies they wanted to order and just as it is every year, they were responsible for the cookies (selling them or paying for them). Also cookie sales are optional, no girl or troop is required to participate.

  12. Carol says:

    I have to agree with what several others have said; this troop had poor planning and this is what got them where they are.
    Each troop had the option (yes, option!) to pre-order cookies. If they wished, they could sell cookies the ‘traditional’ way via order form and pick-up/deliver only what they sold.
    This news story was truly one-sided; it was obvious that the reporter only took in their side of the story . . . shame on them for bashing an organization that has done so much for the girls in our community.
    I feel very strongly about this topic as I have been a ‘Cookie Mom’ for 3 years and a Troop Leader for 2 years; I have experienced cookie sales both ways. As with anything new, there is always a learning curve; theirs just happened to be more steep due to a lack of planning.
    The Council made Cookie Cupboards very accessible and with many days/hours (places where troops can pick up more cookies so they didn’t have to pre-order so many if they did not wish to do so).
    As a side note, this was probably one of the more successful cookie sales years for both of my daughter’s troops . . . and I don’t feel like we had to work any harder to sell the cookies . . . that particular troop did a dis-service to their girls by sending out a one-sided message.

    1. Dawn says:

      I also am Leader and Carol you are correct. Troops were given tools to help figure out how many cookies to order as a suggestion not requirement. We were all told at the beginning of sales that their was one cookie comeback, so if we did order to many we had an opportunity from the get go to bring cookies back. The counsel realized that with any new program there is going to be a learning curve by offering a second comeback day. So not only they have one comeback day but two.

      The cookie program is really where my troop earning enough money to be able to do some fun things, community projects etc. Otherwise, we would solely be dependent on the family’s of the girls.

      Also, Girl Scouts offer financial assistance to any girl scouts who need it, there by allowing girls no matter what their family financial situation to participate.

      I can say I am very disappointed with so many un-informed comments here.

    2. Brian says:

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  13. PMB134 says:


  14. Troop Leader says:

    As the troop quoted in the article with 1500+ boxes, I would like to say our situation was unique. We ordered cookies appropriately. We had issues with two families, one with a death in the family. We were able to sell/transfer over 800 boxes of cookies, return cases of cookies to the council and add 3 cookie booths. Now our inventory is down to 0, thanks to other troops, the council and our wonderful parents for stepping up. Happy ending here.

  15. Jim says:

    I have been a loyal supporter of the Girl Scout Cookie program for over 20 years. I usually buy between 4 and 8 cases per year. Thats 48 to 96 boxes. The price has always been high, but $4.00 is out of line.
    No more for me.

    1. Co-leader says:

      If you bought this year you would know that the price was $3.50, just as it was last year.

  16. Tonya Froemel says:

    I am the troop leander for three troops in my areal. Originally my troops were told not to worry because we could return the unopened cases. I was still wary so I only ordered about 75% of what I was told by the council that we should be able to sell. At one point we ran out of one variety of cookies in two of our troops so I got more of these cookies, being told that it was ok to sign for them as one big order as troop leader for only one of my troops and then just do a troop to troop transfer to my other troops as needed. On the day that cookie returns of unopened cases were allowed I called and was told that unfortunately because of the way I did my paperwork and transfers (the way they told me to do them) my troops were responsible for all of the cookies that we had left. Not to worry though, we have until the end of April to sell them, unfortunately, the money for these cookies was being debited form our troop accounts on March 30.

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