Cookie hoax: Girl Scouts scammed out of $24,000

A girl's prank order for 6,000 boxes of cookies taken by troops in Oregon prompts a community bailout.

By Jason Notte Mar 18, 2013 4:24PM
Girl Scout Min Hunt-Neu, 11, looks over her cookie list in Silver Spring, MD, on February 22, 2012 ( Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)It's bad enough for a couple of Girl Scout troops in Oregon to get stiffed on a $24,000 order for 6,000 boxes of cookies. It's even worse when the perpetrator isn't some big uncaring company or soulless adult, but one of the scouts' own.


As ABC's Good Morning America reported on Sunday, two troops from the Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington were left with huge stockpiles of cookies when an email order they received turned out to be a fake. What GMA didn't report, and what The Oregonian found out later, was that the order was approved because the email came from an acquaintance of a troop leader.


The troop leader exchanged dozens of e-mails with the sender over the next few weeks, but the person on the other end turned out to be a girl using her mother's address to have some fun at the scouts' five-figure expense. Fortunately for the mean girl in question, Oregon -- and Portland specifically -- loves itself some Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs and has been generously bailing out the scouts.


Despite grumblings about a cookie-selling conspiracy and ripped-from-"Portlandia" complaints about the cookies themselves from organic grocery shoppers and foes of genetically modified foods -- Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen themselves couldn't have written a better comments field -- the scouts sold 3,000 boxes to hundreds of people during an emergency sale at their Portland headquarters on March 16. They have another such event planned for this Saturday, but they're also taking -- and more judiciously scanning -- email orders at cookies@girlscoutsosw.com.


The sister troops of Brownies (second and third graders) and Juniors and Cadettes (fourth grade and older) don't generally deal with this type of volume under normal and more truthful circumstances. Scouts in their region sell roughly 175 boxes apiece, which means their combined force of 20 scouts typically sells 3,500 boxes by the time cookie season ends in early March. This year's cash was tabbed for the girls' trip to summer camp and for a homeless shelter the scouts were planning to support.


While the cookie sales are meant to give scouts a taste of the entrepreneurial spirit, Girl Scout council leaders thought that deception by one of their peers and a $24,000 loss were a bit too harsh a sample of the business world for 8-year-olds to handle. The broader lesson is that while green-eyed competitors may try to take you down, a large and loyal buyer base can balance them out.


“This was a really tough lesson regarding business ethics,” Sara Miller, spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, told The Oregonian. “But this outpouring of support from the community, they'll carry that with them forever."


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125Comments
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I hope that the mother and the Troop she belongs to realizise the damage she has done and punish her accordingly.  She has to learn that this is not the way Girl Scouts or any one behaves.  She has hurt herself, the Troop and the Girl Scouts as a whole.
Mar 18, 2013 6:46PM
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This whole thing stinks of fraud!
I am thinking this was a scam from the beginning to sell 6 thousand boxes of cookies. Who in their right mind takes an order that big without verifying or receiving payment first?


Mar 18, 2013 6:16PM
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Hopefully the girl's parents will punish her to the point she will never try this again.  How about taking her  allowance for the next year, no computer time, and no birthday presents. Instead she should have to donate her birthday presents to children in need and do some community service, I don't care how old she is.  And she should have to apologize to the troop in person.
Mar 18, 2013 5:57PM
Mar 18, 2013 7:05PM
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Okay so I know the person ordered them over the internet, but why didn't the troop ask for payment first? I was a Girl Scout for 15 years and we always received payment before customers received cookies. I mean someone ordering that many cookies over the internet would've raised a big red flag to me. I would've been like, "You want to order to order that many boxes, you have to do it in person and have the cash/check on you."

Mar 18, 2013 6:18PM
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The girl should be banned from the Girl Scouts.  She needs to be made an example to other girls who may think there won't be any repercussions except for a slap on the wrist.  Both my girls were in Scouts and I a leader...things like this were not tolerated under any circumstances; at any age.
Mar 18, 2013 7:29PM
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A $24,000 order without prepayment?  Those in charge are either incredibly stupid or it was done on purpose, hoping the public would step up and buy the cookies (which they did).  Some parents will do anything to make their kids (or troupe) be #1. 
Mar 18, 2013 6:25PM
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Probably a Modonna wanna be....I think she should be made to pay for her little mean girl prank by making her Sell the cookies every day after school until they are completely sold out by standing in front of WalMart or some other Shopping Center store,,with her Parents by her side...Yup some good ole public humilation will teach the little snot a lesson or two....
Mar 18, 2013 6:47PM
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That person that ordered 24k worth of cookies then stiffed'em, gave a whole new meaning to the name "cookie monster"....
Mar 18, 2013 6:06PM
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 Its' nice that the town and girl scouts could rally together but what does it say about the girl and her mother or her family?  What they did was an internet crime and should have been treated as such.  How about losing your right to have the internet?  That might be a start.  Parents not only do not set a good example for their children but when they do commit crimes, they cover for them, and even at times participate in these crimes.  The mother should have had to seller her car and purchase the cookies as a deterrent to others to make sure these things don't happen.  That's assuming the mother was not involved.
Mar 18, 2013 6:32PM
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Hmmm... Under the last set of cookie selling rules I have seen, Girl Scouts were NOT allowed to sell cookies on the Internet. What is deal with having an Internet e-mail simply for sales, also coverage of how people can "help"? Either ALL GS can sell cookies on the "Net or no one can. You could argue that it smells a ittle bit like a set-up to get the word out to buy THESE cookies from THIS troop on the "Net
Mar 18, 2013 6:54PM
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there are actually criminal charges that could be brought against the person who placed the order. It will be interesting to see what actually happens.
Mar 18, 2013 7:25PM
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What the REAL crime is here is just how much of the proceeds from the sale of cookies the girls get to keep. Some posts on MSN have put the number at between 1 and 4 percent with the rest of the money going to district councils and, of course, the national "leadership". So if you think that you're helping some young girl go to camp or earn badges etc. you are sorely mistaken.
Mar 18, 2013 8:16PM
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I don't quite understand why the girl (that placed the order) isn't being held responsible for the total amount.  If you or I ordered a desert at an establishment selling deserts for charity, we would be charged with theft III (dine & dash), a criminal offense, if we didn't uphold our end of the contract.  Why isn't this being treated as a criminal offense, if not only for the monetary value involved?
Mar 18, 2013 6:21PM
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The resolution of a mean act by some misguided youngsters, provides a stage for so many real life lessons. I hope that what the kids take away is the fact that the community stepped up and made a bad situation, good. Our culture is changing, and kids need to pick this up, quickly.
Mar 18, 2013 6:52PM
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with the price of the cookies  who on earth would order so many  ???

  hmmmmmm,  makes me wonder ,what is the average order should have been a hint something  .................... was not wright

 

Mar 18, 2013 7:19PM
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I'm confused by the monetary value given to the 6000 boxes of cookies.  I've been buying Girl Scout cookies off and on for the past month, and they're $3.50/box.  That's $21,000.  Not $24,000...   The parents of the girl who screwed them over should be glad they're not in court.  They are legally liable for what their kid did.  It's nice to see a town pull together.
Mar 18, 2013 6:57PM
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Why when the false order was recognized, didn't they send the cookies back?
Mar 18, 2013 7:31PM
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Criminal Charges Likely by the time it's over
Mar 18, 2013 7:54PM
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this all sounds like a crock of BS to me...number 1 reason is (and most importantly) unless you have a track record of selling 6000 boxes of cookies to one customer...you should have had them pay up front.  And, who orders 6000 boxes of girl scout cookies?  I like Samoans and Tagalongs...but...seriously?!
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