How to Survive Girl Scout Cookie Season
Christmas is over, the tree is down, and I can't quite quit on my resolutions just yet, so this makes it the perfect time of year for the fates to say, "Oh you just ate an entire coconut cake by yourself? Awesome. Because it's Girl Scout cookie time, sweetie. So pony up and prepare to pound some calories."
Don't be fooled. This girl is dangerous. ©2015 Hero Images Inc. All rights reserved.
January is suppose to be a time of new year, new me. In reality, it's the time that I'm still cleaning out Christmas leftovers from my fridge, digging in my freezer for realistic dinner options ("Who wants dumplings and... tater-tots for dinner?"), and debating the merits of braving the germs in the fast food play place in exchange for a few hours of energy expended on other people's spaces. New year, same me. Just trying to keep everyone alive over here.
Then, the cookie forms arrive.
Now I'm a huge fan of all things Girl Scouts. I was a sash-sporting member all the way up into Juniors, that's middle school for the uninitiated, when I thought for sure I'd be going for a Gold award in the near future (the photo below is me, circa one lifetime ago).
Me. See? Told you.
Then sports happened, boys got cute, yada yada and the lure of Girl Scout swag in exchange for cookie sales lost its allure. Plus, you could no longer buy two boxes for $5, which made the transactions far messier. It's one thing to throw a $5 bill at a cute kid in exchange for two kinds of awesome cookies; it's another to look for $8, or hope that she has $2 change to give back.
"Did you pay for that box, Linda? It's coming out of your cut."
That said, I am your go-to girl, the office sucker, the neighborhood cheerleader who buys cookies from everyone. If your kiddo takes the time to knock on my door (or, let's be real, ask her mom to post her personalized cookie-pushing website on her Facebook page), you're guaranteed I'm going to buy a few boxes.
"See? I told you she's good for a dozen." ©2015 Hero Images Inc. All rights reserved.
It used to be that I could at least avoid the cookie gangs. You know the ones, they set up tables outside your local grocery store with cookies they ordered themselves to ensure a top prize. "I'm so sorry," I'd say, thinking of the dozen boxes already sitting on my counter at home. "I don't have any cash." But guess what? Now they take credit cards. And I'm screwed.
See, the downside of my altruistic habit is that I quickly lose track of how many boxes I've purchased and, judging from the mid-March cookie box rainbow that will show up on the office conference table, I'm not alone. When I was single, keeping a stash in the pantry and another in the freezer was no problem. There was no one to share my secret shame of cookie hoarding.
When I got married, my husband was thrilled when I'd unearth a box of frozen Thin Mints mid-October, which is obviously when you crave them. "My mom always froze boxes of Thin Mints!" he said happily, munching his way through the sleeve. She did, did she? That was my first clue I wasn't alone.
Now I have kids. Every time they open the pantry or the freezer and see the cookie boxes, bright and shiny, it's like Christmas morning. The glee in their eyes is quickly squashed, however, when I inform them that Cookie Monster says cookies are a sometimes food, and "sometime" is not 7 AM when Mommy hasn't had enough caffeine to deal with the oncoming sugar crash.
I thought the Girl Scouts had solved this problem by offering the option to ship the cookies to the troops. What a great idea! I can order cookies, pay for them, and they vanish into thin air, ideally appearing at whatever base for whatever soldier at the most opportune time. In reality, when actually presented with the order form, I actually think I want the cookies. Sure, I'll buy a few to donate, but don't I need cookies, too?
"Here they are, Mrs. Kappel, wrapped in plain brown paper like you asked." ©2015 Hero Images Inc. All rights reserved.
Then they arrive, box after box, delivered by tired parents toting sashed scouts. There are a few from my husband's office, one from mine, two college friends' kiddos, and definitely a few from the neighborhood. Soon enough, my dining room table is littered with boxes, my checkbook is devoid of checks, and it's March, so I'm no longer dealing with the sugar-shakes of post-Christmas. In fact, what I really want is strawberries, not prepackaged cookies.
I tuck them in gift bags, drop them off as surprise coworker gifts (Secret Easter Bunny's a thing, right?), and hand them out to friends, until I can't, because I realize the front seat of their car is also sporting a cardboard box of cookie shame. The Girl Scouts need a layaway plan that allows you to get cookies on the spot at any moment that is not March. The flooding of the market at a single time of year spurs sales, of course, but it also makes the beloved Girl Scout cookies into the fruitcake of the spring: You can't give them away.
This year, I've already screwed up. I've ordered an unknown number of boxes from various sources, which is the sober equivalent of drunk-shopping Amazon two days before Christmas... only my shame will show up three months later delivered by innocent people in brown vests. And I'll do what I've always done: look up ways to make boxes of Thin Mints into pie crusts and other desserts that I don't need (but might be more successful in sharing), plan to drop boxes off at my local nursing home, then actually freeze all of them and sneak-eat them after bedtime until January rolls around again next year.
I'd like to say that next year I'll know better. I won't be swayed by the memories, the sashes, or the draw of the cookies, but that's not true. I'll order too many boxes, again, and eat most of them myself, again. But hey, someone's going to camp, or getting some sweet owl swag, so I'm at peace with my conscience. And that's how you survive.