Too much of a good thing: Girl Scouts stuck with over 15 million boxes of unsold cookies

June 17, 2021

The Girl Scouts are struggling to sell a heaping pile of extra cookies: 15 million boxes of them, to be exact, according to a report by The New York Times.

Troops with armfuls of cookies used to be a fixture outside grocery stores and on people’s doorsteps. But this year, those cookies are stuck in warehouses after Girl Scouts of the USA was confronted with two major obstacles during the pandemic: membership has declined, and the scouts had to abandon their usual in-person selling methods.

Those problems left the national organization with millions of extra Thin Mints, Samoas and other signature treats. Around 12 million of the 15 million surplus cookies never left the bakery warehouses in Kentucky and Indiana, the Girl Scouts said in a statement on Tuesday, June 15.

“Given that a majority of cookies are sold in person by girls at booths or other face-to-face methods, a decrease in sales was to be expected,” Kelly Parisi, a Girl Scouts spokesperson, said in the statement.

The organization sells around 200 million boxes per year at about $5 a box. The Girl Scouts have been selling cookies for over a century.

“It’s exceedingly rare to have significant excess inventory, but the pandemic greatly impacted our cookie program,” Parisi said.

Confronting declining sales, the Girl Scouts announced in January that they were teaming with Grubhub to sell and deliver cookies. The delivery service agreed to waive the fees that it usually charges.

While this year’s surplus is much larger than usual, Parisi said the organization had dealt with previous cookie gluts by donating extra boxes to the military or to emergency medical workers.

And of course, Girl Scout cookies are available to civilians on the organization’s website. The organization debuted a new variety of cookies this year: Called Toast-Yay!, they’re shaped like slices of toast and dipped in icing.

Research contact: @nytimes

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