Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Girl Scout Cookies February 23, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

It’s Girl Scout Cookie Season, when aunts and uncles around the world break out their checkbooks and overspend on “treats” that taste like cardboard.

I am more than happy to support the Girl Scouts, an organization that broadened the horizons of my childhood and that I think has done a great job of growing with the times. (Girls now work for badges that encourage them to learn about stress management and career options, leaps forward from the housewifery badges I earned back in the day.) But, oy, between my husband and me, we have seven nieces of Girl Scouting age, plus the daughters of friends and colleagues, plus those sweet little things who hang out in front of the grocery store. At $4 a box, for cookies I don’t even eat (they go straight to the break room at my husband’s office), that adds up!

So I have to give a shout out to my brilliant sister-in-law who came up with a new plan this year. Instead of getting sales pitches from each of the four girls in her family, they’re on a rotation plan. This year the oldest niece is hitting us up; next year, niece #3 gets her shot at sweet-talking us into contributing, and so on. I love it! I’ve already placed my order and mailed my check.

As always, I cheerfully support the fund-raising efforts of the kids in our lives, from the walk-a-thons to the wrapping paper drives to the raffles. And I am especially grateful that the parents in our family are opening their eyes and not taking undue advantage of us. Wouldn’t it be nice if all parents could be more sensitive to their childfree friends and family members when asking us to contribute to the rearing of their children?

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’ll be baking real shortbread cookies this weekend.

Editor’s Note: Did you know that the founder of the Girl Scouts never had children of her own? More about her tomorrow. 

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5 Responses to “It Got Me Thinking…About Girl Scout Cookies”

  1. Kate B Says:

    I don’t mind being hit up for the Girl Scout cookies because I just love the cookies and it’s always been done by co-workers kids or neighbor’s kids – people we know and interact with. However, when I got hit up for magazines from the daughter of my husband’s mother’s cousin’s kid who I have never even met – and she addressed the mailer to “Aunt Kate” – that annoyed me. Hmmm, maybe I can repost this in Whiny Wednesday?
    I honestly have never thought that anyone comes to us with the various fundraisers thinking we would buy more because we have no kids. But then, I also have no trouble saying no if I don’t want to support the kid or the cause.

  2. Colleen Says:

    We usually end up with about 10-12 boxes and many do end up on the break table at work. It is a good place for them as I work in the evening and noting brightens up a Friday night better than a box of girl scout cookies. Funny though when the boy scouts come around, I dislike the popcorn sale. For some reason it seems so expensive to me!

    There is one coworker I have that sells wrapping paper once a year and I am all over that. It is the best wrapping paper around and one roll of birthday paper generally gets me through one year. I’m always looking for that one.

    In general though it is great when parents divide up the kids so you just have to buy or support one of them. She balances out the money for the kids on her own. Thank goodness!

  3. Mali Says:

    It’s not something I get hit with – except for the occasional visit for Girl Guide biscuits every couple of years or so. I kind of wish I could be part of their lives in this way. All my nieces and nephews live a long way away – though I suspect I’ll be more likely to help my youngest niece once she starts school.

    I do think your solution is clever. After all, when parents hit up other parents, they know they’ll do it in return. But it is different for those of us without kids. A similar approach to gift-giving would be helpful.

  4. jeopardygirl Says:

    I don’t get “hit up” for GS (Girl Guides, here in Canada) anymore. Despite the fact that Esso and I have always bought something or pledged money for ‘-a-thons’ (dance-a-thons, skip-a-thons, and my favourite, read-a-thons), since declaring we’re not going to try for kids anymore, no one asks us to support their kids’ efforts. I don’t know what’s sadder: having too many cookies lying around, or no cookies at all.

  5. loribeth Says:

    We don’t get hit up as often as we used to, since most of our nephews, cousins’ & neighbours’ & coworkers’ kids, etc., are getting older. But yes, I’ve bought raffle tickets, Girl Guides cookies, cookie dough, candy, & shelled out pledge money for walkathons, jump rope for heart, etc. etc. As Mali said, & as I’ve actually heard, most people shell out with the understanding that you’ll do the same for them when you have kids. But when you don’t have kids…

    And yes, the same goes for gift-giving. We have gone to lots of baptisms, first birthdays, first communions, confirmations, bridal showers, stag parties & baby showers for the children of friends & of dh’s cousins over the years. Some we are close to, some not. That’s a lot of money spent on gifts over the years that has rarely been reciprocated (sometimes not even with a thank you note, which probably bothers me more than the money spent).


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