Do You Buy Girl Scout Cookies?

Buying girl scout cookies is a part of Americana. Every year, there is a time when little salespeople ask grown ups if they would like to buy a box – or boxes – of cookies. Quite often, it’s grown ups – the parents, actually – who ask other adults if they would like to buy girl scout cookies from their child.

Personally, I think it’s a nice tradition. Something about it just seems right, like it’s a normal annual ritual where we try to be a good sport and buy a box or two to help out. Of course, not everybody sees it that way, and some see it differently than me.  A recent article in US News discussed, interestingly enough, ways to avoid buying girl scout cookies in the workplace.

Here is the advice they gave, for like-minded folks:

  • Claim that you are on a diet
  • Say that you can’t afford them
  • Pretend to have already bought some
  • Stage a preemptive strike (bring up conversation topic that sends the coworker running)
  • Become an unapproachable person

As far as those last 3 bits of advice are concerned, the one word that came to my mind was: Seriously?

I will go on the assumption that at least part of that article was tongue in cheek, written to amuse. However, I have to say that the first two tips are reasonable. It’s fair to say that you’re on a diet, or that you’re on a budget and can’t afford it. That’s probably true for many people. If you feel strongly about not wanting to buy something, you shouldn’t have to.

However, like I said up front, I’m a fan of the tradition. I don’t care about any bigger picture issues, it’s more about the notion that these children are putting themselves out there to try to sell cookies. It’s hard to say no to a kid, at least for me.

Now, I haven’t always been like that. Here’s my evolution as a girl scout cookie buyer.

Right Out of College

I wasn’t hit up by coworkers too often when it came to girl scout cookies. Perhaps it’s because my peers were relatively young too and didn’t happen to have kids at the time, or maybe it was because the more senior people didn’t want to ask us because they felt guilty doing so. Or, perhaps they thought we couldn’t afford it:) Anyway, I didn’t buy many cookies at that time.

Established in the Workplace, But Not a Parent

After working awhile, I had of course gained additional responsibility and worked in a different capacity than I did right out of college. Accordingly, I got asked more by coworkers to buy girl scout cookies. My attitude then was to think it was kind of cool, but I was leery of spending too much and didn’t want to part with my money. If I actually met the kid, or knew the coworker really well – or it was my boss – I would buy a box. Otherwise, which was most of the time, I would avoid buying the cookies without question.

Established in the Workplace, But I AM a Parent

Fast forward to today. I happen to be the parent of a little girl who now sells girl scout cookies during this time of year. It’s not an intrusive thing, just involves getting parents to get others to buy them, and the kids will go to a restaurant or grocery store to have a short shift of selling them, for like 2 hours.

Anyway, my view on this has changed of late, as you might imagine. When I know that my daughter has a sign up sheet for cookies to sell, I of course want her to have fun with it. Also, I have to admit, I just so slightly think about the personal aspect of someone saying yes or no. After all, this involves my kid! If somebody says yes to buying a box, it’s cool.

I think about this now when somebody asks me. I think about how behind that coworker you may or may not be good friends with, is a little kid they care about who’s simply selling cookies. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m always guilted in buying them. Excuses #1 and #2 from the list above are valid:) However, being a parent now makes me more empathetic and happy to help out. I’ll happily buy a box or two from multiple people.

In the end, I see it as just one of those things we can take part in and be a good sport about. Besides, some of those cookies are pretty good – especially Samoas :)

My Questions for You

What do you do when people ask you to buy girl scout cookies on behalf of their kid?

Do you have a strong feeling on this either way?

Bonus Question: What’s your favorite girl scout cookie?


  1. says

    If someone knocks at our door, we always buy! Random emails from co-workers, I don’t, unless I know the person personally!

    Don’t ask me why! One of those things … you don’t know why you do what you do!

  2. says

    I almost always try, but nobody asks because they assume that I’m a broke student. I was a girl scout and think it is an amazing program for girl greatness. I think it’s a great thing to support such an awesome program.

    • Squirrelers says

      Cool that you were in that program and think it’s great. It may seem funny for me to be posting about girl scouts while being a father, but it’s been good for my daughter.

  3. says

    Bonus question first: Thin mints! Yum.

    Uh, I bought a box just yesterday from the Girl Scouts in front of the grocery store. I also bought a few boxes from a coworker, who brought in the signup sheet for his little girl.

    Girl Scout Cookies are my favorite fundraiser sale items, because 1) they are not hugely overpriced 2) I used to be a Girl Scout and had fun selling them 3) they’re actually something I like.

    I haven’t ever been directly asked by an adult to buy them though. People do bring in signup sheets, but they just set them out on their desks or in the break room for folks to discover.

    As far as saying no goes though, I don’t understand why people feel the need to make up excuses. A simple “no thanks” is fine.

    • Squirrelers says

      Jackie –

      I wish I wasn’t hungry when reading comments. I literally ate a very healthy lunch of veggies and tofu, with no added sauce. Super healthy, but about to be compromised by eating a cookie or two. Reading the words “Thin Mint” activated the hunger :)

      Anyway, with that out of the way, I agree that they’re not totally overpriced. It’s fun thing to buy, supporting kids and their efforts to sell. Yes, they’re good too. Thin Mint, Samoa…it’s all good.

  4. says

    I don’t buy because I don’t need the extra unhealthy calories. They taste good, but if I buy a box of cookies I will eat a box of cookies. If I don’t, I won’t eat them.

    I’m not on a “diet,” but I do try to eat healthy in general.

    • Squirrelers says

      Eric – ha, I know what you mean about buying them and then eating them. The tactic of keeping snacks away can be helpful to alleviate a lapse in food discipline. One thing I might add about buying cookies is that sometimes it’s not really about the cookies themselves but offering up support. Maybe even buying a box from a kid and then turning around and giving it to coworkers might accomplish goodwill all around for the small investment!

  5. says

    As a thin mint dude from WAY BACK, I love Girl Scout cookies. I’m with you….it’s more the “that time of year” thing than the actual cookies. I prefer to be asked by the kid personally (these are difficult conversations for kids, and working with mine on the sales approach was fun).

    • Squirrelers says

      Average Joe – I know what you mean, it’s a tradition that’s fun to support – especially when the kids are asking and not the parents.

  6. says

    Loved this post – I agree that it does seem like something of a tradition to buy them. I would rather have the kids sell them as opposed to their parents. It just seems like part of the whole point is that they are learning how to sell and manage money. I have a much harder time saying no when it is the kids.

    My favorite variety: thin mints all the way. Also love the ice cream flavored like thin mints. MMMMMMmmmmm

    • Squirrelers says


      I know what you mean, it’s tougher to say no to kids. It seems like the lessons learned from their selling experience are a big part of what makes it feel good to buy them, aside from the cookies themselves. Speaking of which, I see we have another vote for thin mints!

    • Squirrelers says

      Ashley – good point, a polite and simple no thanks response can go a long way. My daughter recently sold cookies outside a restaurant, and she didn’t seem bothered by hearing people say no thanks. Another vote for thin-a-mints – err, I mean thin mints :)

  7. says

    I’d buy from girls who asked me personally. Pretty much no matter what. I think with adults, you have to recognize that doing something for someone’s child is about the easiest way you can nurture a relationship with that adult. If you think the person will be in your life for a while, buy the cookies.

    • Squirrelers says

      Laura – great point about the relationship with the adults. Buying cookies from parent request (vs turning them down) can have an impact, even if slight, in nuturing a relationship with the parent. As a parent, we can all be sensitive to such things, even if subtly.

  8. says

    Every. Single. Year. My wife somehow knows when it’s cookie season (maybe everyone but me knows…) so she usually sends me an e-mail within two days of someone at work peddling them for their kids. I usually buy from the same person every year though. Maybe I should spread the love. We buy 3 boxes, so I could do one box from 3 different people… hmmm…

  9. says

    I haven’t seen them at the front door of homes in years. Now I did see one or two moms at jobs I had. Always ended up with a box or three. Over the past five or so years I’ve seen them at the grocery stores. The parents are there but the girls always ask, or just sit there. If the girls ask, I’ll buy.

    And it’s usually the Thin Mints, those chocolate striped ones and the vanilla ones.

    • Squirrelers says

      Bill – sounds like you’re good at getting into the spirit of helping. And you added to the list of Thin Mint votes!

  10. says

    Bonus question first: Definitely Samoas!
    I like Girl Scout cookies, but they’re definitely overpriced. I do love those Samoas, but $4-5 is expensive for such a tiny box of cookies!
    Humbly Yours,
    The Mayor

  11. says

    Well I won’t be pressured into buying Girl Scout cookies, I just really like their cookies. So if I buy a box of Do-si-dos, it’s because I wanted them. They’re delicious!

    • Squirrelers says

      Timothy – no need for anyone to be pressured to buy stuff they don’t want. We should do things because we want to and choose to.

  12. says

    Squirrel, I have found something to disagree with you about- the Samoa is my least favorite girl scout cookie. Give me a Thin Mint any day.

    I always bought girl scout cookies at work, but I always make sure i buy them when I see them selling them at the grocery store. I don’t think a girl scout has ever come to my door.

    I found it interesting when I did start working that kids didn’t seem to actually sell anything themselves anymore, but instead the parents did.

    • Squirrelers says

      Kris – Samoas are your LEAST favorite? Again, I’m reading comments when hungry, after dinner, so this talk about Samoas/Thin Mints is getting me hungry. Maybe I need to remember the Hara Hachi Bu post I had and stick to the 80% full concept :) Anyway, my own kid sold girl scout cookies recently in front of a restaurant, and I was so proud of her ability to politely ask while not being worried about rejection. The politeness from a kid helps, I think.

  13. says

    We used to buy them (direct from girlscouts, not parents, mainly because you can buy the actual cookies from scouts with cash on hand whereas with the order forms you have to pre-order), but now I cannot have sugar and wheat makes me throw up. Nobody in the family is allowed to bring in temptation. So we suffer without.

    Samoas, then thin mints.

    • Squirrelers says

      Nicole – yeah, health takes priority over cookies. Sorry you have the restrictions. At least you have memories of the cookies, and I agree with your order of samoa/thin mints by the way :)

    • Squirrelers says

      Robert – it’s tough to say no, I know what you mean. When children get so excited asking, I instinctively want to help. Can’t always say yes to everyone all the time, but it’s tempting. Funny, because I normally don’t like spending money in most cases involving other expenditures.

    • Squirrelers says

      Marie – they kind of bring up nostalgia in some way, I can see that if you don’t have the chance to buy them.

  14. says

    I bought one box of thin mints from a colleague this year. She actually had her daughter come into the office to hand deliver the boxes so I thought that was a nice touch. I’m not a huge fan of the cookies though because they’re so unhealthy, but that’s also why they taste so good! -Sydney

    • Squirrelers says

      Sydney – that’s a nice touch. I opened a box a few days back and have eaten a few too many cookies…they’re good. Time for self-control now:)

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