Girl scout cookie sales ended tonight here in St. Louis. I have 16 girls in my troop; 15 sold cookies, which means, my estimate, that the troop should expect sales of, say, 1200 cookies. We get 55 cents per box, so probably around 600 or 700 dollars to the troop--this defrays costs for field trips, badges, supplies for meetings. Last year the troop earned about $500 and we had a nice time. If we get a little more or less, no big deal.
My cookie manager, whom I've known since before our daughters were born, called me last night. We had a problem.
She called to tell me that one of the girls in the troop, I'll call her Cassie, was the problem. What now, I wondered. This troop I run--the girls come from my parish, Sophia's school, and our block, which means I try to balance, not very successfully, 5 different schools, parents from each school, getting communication out in a timely fashion, planning the actual meetings and field trips, and communicating with the mother ship, aka, Girl Scout Council of Eastern Missouri. Last year's cookie sales were not without their problems, although in the end all was well.
Cassie, she told me on the phone, sold about 100 boxes. All fine and good. But her mother decided she deserved the I-Pod, which was one of the incentive prizes for the girls. Now, Sophia looked at that prize list and set her goal reasonably--110. She surpassed it and, on her own, sold over 160. This means she gets a patch,a bandana, a coin purse, and a stuffed elephant. She's thrilled. But you can imagine--if 160 boxes gets you a stuffed animal, it's not likely that 200 or 250 boxes merits an I-Pod. No, you get an I-Pod if you sell a thousand boxes.
So Cassie's mom wrote herself down for 900 boxes of cookies. There. Cassie "earns" an I-Pod and she gets to roof her garage with thin mints.
You know, I don't have an I-Pod at this point, and that's fine because I'm happy with my CDs...so I didn't know for sure until I did a quick search...Target seems to sell them for between $50 and $400. I don't know what a $50 I-Pod can do, versus one that costs 8 times as much, but the way I figure, Cassie's mom could go to Target and buy her daughter one of those expensive ones, and each of the other 15 girls in the troop one of the cheap ones, and still spend about a third of what she will owe for 900 boxes of cookies.
So I called Council, and a very reasonable person there, the cookie guru, told me that the troop is responsible for the funds--they won't go after Cassie, but after all of us. She suggested I put Cassie down for, say, 250 boxes (a number that the troop could handle at a booth sale if need be), and if she came through with the money, let her have 250 more, until she finally earns all 1000 (100 legit and 900 crazy). Sounded reasonable to me, frankly (we can pick up an infinite number of boxes, it seems, after the sale itself).
Cookie manager called Cassie's mom, who wasn't keen on this plan. In fact, she went a little apeshit on the phone. She could handle it. She could sell that many--she used to be a leader, she knew how. She wanted all 1000 at one time. My cookie manager thinks she's going to go ahead and cave, and really, I can't blame her. Council put a red flag on our troop, whatever that means, and I guess we hold our collective breath until the cookies get here.
I envision myself in small claims court with a bunch of cute little girls earning a citizenship badge while we sue for $3500. The alternative is that we divide up the unsold boxes--about 60 boxes apiece, assuming she can't pay for any of the 900, which seems unlikely, frankly. Still, I'm bracing myself.
Or maybe it will work out and she'll earn our troop $550 on top of the $600 or so the other girls will probably bring in. What we will DO with a thousand dollars, I don't know yet....but I'm not going to burn that bridge till I come to it. I feel I've done what I can--alerted Council, gave my cookie manager alternatives, and tomorrow I will call her and see what she decided to do.