Smart SpendingSmart Spending

The cookie monster gets more powerful

Girl Scouts add another tactic to their powerhouse sales machine. Have they no mercy?

By doubleace Mar 1, 2011 9:21AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


Those sweet-faced, cookie-peddling Girl Scouts have added another weapon to aid their blatant exploitation of the American sweet tooth.

Now they take credit cards.


According to Fast Company, which reports on the changes in business technology, some Scout troops this year "will be toting iPhones wrapped in Mophie's Marketplace credit card-reader cases and running Intuit's GoPayment system, turning each Scout vendor into a tiny, mobile credit card-processing machine. ... When you buy cookies you'll swipe your card, then be required to sign your signature with your finger on the touchscreen."


So easy -- and so unfair. Just when they have you all but helpless, they add another weapon -- easy credit -- to their arsenal. Consider the Scouts' lethal selling strategy:   Post continues after video.

Peer pressure: The doorbell rings and the kid from down the block asks if you would like to buy some cookies, "only $4 a box." You can't say "no thanks" and shut the door because lurking in the shadows is the child's mom, who not only is your neighbor but your best buddy from Pilates class. "Hi, Heather," you say as you force a smile and go for your purse.


The ambush: You're just feet from the safety of the grocery when, from out of nowhere, a pair of 4-foot-6 supersaleswomen bracket you, offering cookies for "only $4 a box." And these aren't average children; they are without doubt the cutest 10-year-olds you've ever seen -- wide-eyed, squeaky voices, too young for any guile. Of course, you buy a box, maybe two.


Shame: You plea for pity with a desperate "I'm trying to watch my weight." The counterattack comes without a microsecond's hesitation. "You can donate them to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan." Not the men and women at Fort Lewis or Quantico. Nope, Iraq and Afghanistan. And "only $4 a box." This can be a big number, maybe three or four boxes.


The pushy parent: Your co-worker shows up with boxes of cookies, pushing them for her kid. She's bailed you out of tough spots dozens of times, so you buy one, then open it for everyone to share. "Only $4 a box" suddenly becomes $4 a cookie.


The coup de grace: Your granddaughter calls, not the teenager with an attitude, but the one who still runs across the room, arms wide, yelling "Grampa!" You've already been softened up by her mom, who tells you that Kayla hopes to sell 100 boxes this year so she can go to camp, but was disappointed by the other grandparents' purchase, despite the fact the cookies are "only $4 a box." Big Spender springs for 10 boxes, only to find out later that your wife, a victim of classic divide-and-conquer tactics, also bought 10.


And now the last bit of resistance, the "no-cash" defense, has been overcome. Can't the FTC step in? After all, even at "only $4 a box," the little urchins sold more than 200 million boxes last year. That's big business, and an illegal monopoly for sure. Think about it: Where else can you buy those melt-in-your mouth Thin Mints?


More from MSN Money:

Mar 1, 2011 5:28PM
Think about it: Where else can you buy those melt-in-your mouth Thin Mints?
This holiday season at the CVS in my office building I found Andies Candies Cookies, and they tasted really similar to Thin Mints, but the Andies Candies chocolate coating (yes, with the green layer!) the cookie was a bit thicker than the chocolate coating on a Thin Mint.  I loved them!

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