Pandemic Doesn’t Stop the Girl Scout Cookie Tradition

The most wonderful time of the year.

It’s that time of year again.

Sort of.

For more than 100 years, mid-January has announced the beginning of a season like no other, where young women from kindergarten through twelfth grade take to the streets, grocery stores, and the local Wawas armed with one of the world’s most precious commodities, Girl Scout Cookies.

In years past, it seemed  you could not turn a corner without encountering a smiling young girl in a variety of colored vest that had one thing in common, the GSEP (Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania) patch. All of that changed for the 2021 cookie sales season. 

           As the COVID-19 pandemic spirals on, the Girl Scouts, much like millions of people around the globe have had to make changes to everyday life. The Girl Scouts have also had to adapt and find new ways to keep their projected sales goals alive. 

As many people know, 2020 was the last year for the Thanks-A-Lot cookie, this year is the last year for the Smores cookie with a new type taking the spotlight. Toast-yay! A french toast inspired cookie, that holds the shape of a small piece of toast.  

            “I was so disappointed to hear that they stopped Thanks-A-Lots” said David, Sales Manager of Hitch RV. “They were my favorite cookie for years, I hope they come back in some fashion some day.”

Due to the sanitation and safety concerns for the scouts, there have been severe alterations in how sales will be conducted this year, including changes to the accepted payment methods. Cash has pretty much been eliminated from the mix as online payment methods such as ABC Smart Cookies have been established in 2021 and may be the norm heading into the future. 

           How it works is each scout is given a link and a relative or friends can click the link and be taken to the site, where customers can browse the cookie variety, put basic card information, and select how they want them delivered. The two options include in-person drop-off or virtual booth, where customers pay online and curbside pick-up. “Of course I would rather do booths in cash, but since we have to do it online ABC Smart Cookies is an effective way for sales,” stated Shannon Conard, troop leader of troop 71089. 

             With the way to pay for cookies established, it was then the task of troops and service units nationwide to come up with a game plan on how to keep the highly sought after staple of American life in front of the buying public. With the option of a normal public cookie booth taken off the table (pardon the pun), it was time to get creative, hence the virtual cookie booths.

               A virtual booth is where a link is created in Smart Cookies to allow people to place orders and have them dropped at a specific location and time for pick up. 

              There are also two delivery options for the tasty treats that have been ordered online to compliment that “Hey Iĺl stop by the house later to drop them off” for family members of scouts. 

               Officially, the cookies can be shipped directly to anywhere in the USA, which includes Hawaii and Alaska with typical shipping charges, which is a small price to pay for the chance to support such a vital organization that helps build character and confidence in America’s young women.

               You can also arrange to have your scout deliver the cookies directly to your residence or business, through Smart Cookies. There is a growing trend of co-workers gathering together one big order then flocking to the delivery to claim their part of the prize when it arrives at the business.

                No one knows what will happen next year, or even tomorrow for that matter in today’s ever changing COVID-19 landscape, but it is certain that if needed the Girls Scouts of America will find a way to respond to whatever turn the road takes.

                The mail must go through as they say and GSA will continue to insure that their precious commodity thrives in distribution, as they have since 1917, the first year Girl Scout cookies were sold.