It’s So Much More Than a Cookie

Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek
3 min readMar 13, 2023

Do you have a favorite Girl Scout cookie? And If so, what is it? I promise to tell you mine in a moment.

But before I do, pull up a sleeve of Thin Mints and let’s ruminate together on these sweet treats. Now, I won’t go into the full 100+ year history of Girl Scouts cookies in this post, but you can learn about these legends here.

And legends they are.

Did you know that Girl Scout cookies outsell OREOS? That’s right. The Girl Scouts sell roughly 200 million boxes or $800 MILLION every year. And approximately 22% of net proceeds goes to the individual troops and scout rewards, like merit badges, Girl Scout merchandise, and troop activities.

You see, what’s so special about these cookies has nothing to do with the secret recipe — and everything to do with the sale.

Each spring, girls (and some boys too) aged kindergarten through twelfth grade grab a long colorful form with dozens of lines and mouth-watering photos and use it to sell Girl Scout cookies. They reach out to their networks (and those of their parents!), hang out a shingle at every grocery store and major mall in America, and go door-to-door (figuratively now, thanks to social media) to promote their wares.

And in doing so, they gain something far beyond a badge, they learn financial literacy.

Girl Scouts set goals (like going to horseback riding camp!). They learn about and practice communication, negotiation, and people skills. They learn the art of the pitch. They practice goal setting and money management and explore business ethics. And then they take those valuable life skills with them — wherever they go — all thanks to the Girl Scouts.

In other words, it’s not just about the cookies. It’s about what the girls learn by selling them.

I will never forget my time as a Girl Scout; nor will I forget how I hounded my mother into letting me visit her at work so that I could go desk-to-desk and sell enough cookies to go to camp. I recall in vivid detail how I had to count and sort cookie cartons, handle money, and deliver — by hand — hundreds of boxes.

But mostly, I recall the pride I felt when I achieved my goal.

Despite my years as a Girl Scout, I was not at all prepared for the emotions I would feel watching my own daughters — Petra and Raya — participate in the annual cookie ritual. Somehow, they knew just whom to call … and specifically, that Aunt Leslie was good for 20 boxes alone. It brought me back to my youth and gave me an amazing connection with my girls that I will carry with me.

I’m forever grateful to the humble Girl Scout cookie for that.

Now, I’m know you’ve been waiting patiently to hear my favorite cookie. Well, I hope I don’t disappoint, but I’m a traditionalist and will always go for the classic Thin Mint.

That said, I won’t say “no” to a Tagalong or Samoa. Or a Trefoil. Or a Do-si-do. Or … you get the idea.

I wish you a delicious Girl Scout cookie season. And, Happy Women’s History Month!