The Difference Between Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Outside the Grocery Store

Categories: Random Ephemera

Photo by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar
The Boy Scouts of America have really got to hire a marketing expert to have a little talk with the way they let the Scouts raise money outside of grocery stores because at this point I swear it feels like I am being accosted by tiny, well-prepared drug dealers.

Let me explain.

I go to the store every day because I don't believe in stocking up on food when I live with two impossibly picky eaters. That means that during Girl Scout cookie time and Boy Scout... coupon book time (That does not flow well at all) I see the Scouts of both sexes very regularly and get a pretty good idea of their methods of presentations.

With the girls I have absolutely zero problems. Each set up outside my local Kroger features a nice table with the various cookies all neatly arranged in professional piles. There are usually hand drawn signs to go along with them to give the table that whimsical, childhood touch. Clearly, each stand is a Place of Business representing a brand you can trust.

The girls themselves are always decked out nicely in their uniforms, full of smiles and in one delightful case this year with a prepared song and dance number. Their mothers or fathers stand back near the excess stock, always ready to help replenish the dwindling piles or help with change or other duties. All in all, it's a grand, adorable microcosm of capitalist society.

The Boy Scouts do not do this.

First of all, they're selling coupon books. Look, I know that they are up against the mother of all competition (Literally) with the Girl Scout's cookies. That's a tough bantha to break, and I don't really have a better suggestion. Dried meat snacks? OK, hey, it looks like I did have a better suggestion after all.

There's nothing wrong with coupon books in general. In fact, they can be both a great way to save money and at the same time get acquainted with local businesses. However, they make for very poor presentation. No big colorful boxes, no stacks, nothing. There's no table involved, and the accompanying parent is usually sprawled dejectedly in a nearby folding chair instead.

Most of the time the Boy Scouts just keep the books in their pockets, and their sales pitch is usually to walk up to you as you exit the store, whip out the book from their pockets, and ask quietly if you want one. That was the actual language I heard on several occasions, by the way. "You want one of these?'.

I grew up in East Houston, OK? This is exactly how drug dealers used to come up to me coming out of convenience stores. It doesn't help that it's been somewhat rainy lately and the Scouts are donning hoodies over their uniforms, sliding the non-descript looking folded paper in a way that completely obscures what it is from their pockets in a manner I can only describe as shady.

Boys? You need to come up with a better plan than this. I have no doubt that you're approaching the whole thing with the absolute best of intentions and pushing a product that you believe in. It's not coming across how you think it is, though. I'm telling you, a table heaped with jerky is the way too go. It's woodsy and manly and the meal of the prepared explorer.

You'll thank me in the end.

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Is it bad I'm laughing at those offended? Lighten up. It was quite funny. Maybe because I'm a Girl Scout mom. Honestly though, this is just ONE of the MANY fundraisers boy scouts do. And from my experience, aside from the Christmas Trees/wreaths they sell around here, the blogger is exactly right, and if it's not the boys whipping out their coupon books with a "want one?"... it's the parent contacting you directly saying "My son is selling...." Don't get me wrong, Girl Scout parents do it too, "My daughter is selling cookies..." ALL parents dread these fundraisers errr "money earning activities".... but it's a fact of life in scouting.


This blog post is offensive. You've obviously done no research other than observe what happens at the grocery stores you frequent. The behavior you describe in is in no way representative of most boy scouts. It sounds like a problem with your local boy scout pack, or maybe just some of the parents in that pack.

There is no mention of coupon books at the boy scout website. Their official fundraiser is popcorn (caramel, chocolate, etc.), though individual packs can raise funds any way they want. My boys in cub scouts sell the boy scout popcorn, in their cub scout uniforms. No hoodies. NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD BEGIN TO IMAGINE THAT THEIR APPEARANCE AND METHODS EVEN REMOTELY RESEMBLED THOSE OF DRUG DEALERS. They get a lot of practice making their sales pitch, a good learning experience even if they're pretty awful at it by adult standards.

If you'd bothered to look beyond the inside of your own ass, you would have known that the idea that most boy scouts go around acting like drug dealers is stupid and absurd. You should be ashamed of yourself for this irresponsible blog post.

Oh -- by the way. Boy Scout popcorn, covered in caramel and/or chocolate, is not only delicious, but HEALTHIER THAN GIRL SCOUT COOKIES.


Oddly, prior to reading the article, I could not get past the fact that the cookies pictured are 3+ years old. 

After reading the article, I feel the need to point out that that primary (supported at the national level) fundraising/sales item for Boy Scouts is popcorn, 70% going to the local program (35% to council 35% to troop). The primary (supported at the national level) sales for Girl Scouts is Magazines/Nuts in the fall (on average 90 cents per nut/candy unit sold goes to troops, $2.50 per paid magazine subscription) and cookies in the spring (National gets royalties from the use of the GSUSA logo and trademarks, The bakers (ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers) get about 26% Councils collect 50-60% and troops get 50-55 cents per box plush junk 'incentives' The national average is between 10% and 20% going to troops).

Also, like popcorn, every cookie sold as a Girl Scout exclusive is available year round under the brand names of the bakeries (Little Brownie Bakers (LBB), is a subsidiary of Keebler (which is owned by Kellogg's); and ABC Bakers, a subsidiary of Interbake Foods, which is owned by George Weston Limited, and makes 'private label' brands).

Other fundraisers out side of those approved at the national level are local only.


@penguin0315  Yes, it's bad that you're laughing; it shows that you're an insensitive clod. My boys, like all the boys in their pack, walk door to door selling their popcorn, and then a couple months later when the popcorn arrives they walk door to door delivering it, often in freezing cold weather, and often making multiple trips until they find people at home. They work many, many times harder than those girls sitting comfortably at those tables. 

My boys don't just say "want one". They work very hard on their sales pitch. And they have to do that using only a brochure of the popcorn choices; the popcorn itself doesn't arrive until months later when it's time to deliver orders. Having the cookies right there makes selling them much easier for the girls.

I can't speak for all the other boys in the pack about their sales pitch because I'm not with them when they're selling, but they wouldn't sell much if they just said "want one". Many of them sell a lot, winning some of the better prizes offered.

What are the girls learning by sitting so cozily at those tables collecting money? Not much compared to what my boys are learning. How hard are those girls working? They're hardly working at all. Usually when I walk by them, they don't say a word. When they say anything at all, it's just a quiet "wanna buy some girl scout cookies?", which is not a significant improvement over the "want one" you and the blogger criticize. No real sales pitch, no real effort. It's pathetic.

I don't know what's wrong with the boy scout parents in your area and the blogger's area, but I've lived in several areas and have never seen what you describe. What you and the blogger describe may indicate a problem in your areas, but are in no way representative of most boy scouts.

Would you be laughing about such an insulting, degrading, and wildly unfair blog post about girl scouts? More likely, yours would be one of thousands of highly critical comments by girl scout mothers railing against such a blog post, starting facebook pages calling for it to be taken down, and much, much more.


I'm a scout Mom: my daughter is a junior girl scout, and my son is a bear cub scout. I get to do this twice! This year, the sale times actually overlapped - fun, fun! LOL. I guess every area does it different, but the way you described how your boys sell popcorn (working on a sales pitch, going door to door, and then delivering much later in sometimes freezing weather) is exactly how the girl scouts do it in my daughters troop! They do plan a couple of "cookie booths" they call it, in order to sell more cookies, but only after the initial sales are over. And I assure you, it is far from pathetic! The girls make handmade signs, commit to a 2-3 hour time slot with other girls from the troop, and enthusiastically sell cookies to people, wearing costumes even. This year we stood in near freezing rain the whole time. :-(

The way my sons pack does the popcorn selling is pretty cool actually. Everyone gets a starter "kit" with several varieties of popcorn. The sales usually go on for 4 weeks. So, every week, you place an order to the pack poocorn "kernel" for more popcorn that you need or think you might need. On the last week, you try to sell any remaining popcorn, but if you can't, simply return it on money turn-in day, and get it subtracted from what you owe.

Basically, both my scouts kick some major ass ;-)

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