March 22, 2013

Weird outrage over a woman getting fired for selling Girl Scout cookies at work.

And she worked in a retail store — using its retail space to sell a product and take cash that did not go into the cash register. I do not get the FoxDC presentation of this story: "Imagine being fired for selling Girl Scout Cookies at work. It happened to a woman...." Well, of course! I can't imagine thinking she doesn't deserve to be fired for this.

Quite aside from the obvious conflict with the business interests of her employer, why are adults taking over the cookie-selling that is supposed to be part of the scouts "girl-led, entrepreneurial program" (to quote Girl Scout COO Colleen Cibula)?

The fired woman's troop leader — as FoxDC puts it — is "worried" that the firing "will scare away other potential cookie moms — and end up ultimately hurting  the scouts themselves." Cookie moms?!
"A cookie mom is a self-less person. She doesn't profit from any of this in any way. She's doing it out of the goodness of her heart... I don't think anyone should be terminated for doing such a charitable thing."
Even if it is conceived of as a charity rather than an entrepreneurial program, retail workers aren't free to solicit donations for their favorite charities!

Have people lost their minds? If Girls Scouts is a good charity, it ought to be teaching the girls admirable lessons. It's bad enough that they're guilt-tripping people into eating more cookies (or buying cookies that they don't eat), but making mothers, especially working mothers, feel that they are supposed to do the work for their girls is ridiculous. Something is very wrong here.

From the comments at the link:
EVERYONE sells girl scow [sic] cookies at work! Its not safe to go door to door, and after you exhaust all your family, friends and neighbors that only leaves your co workers!
It's not safe to go door to door? Was it ever a good idea to send little girls out to be door-to-door salespersons? The cookie-selling program seems entirely unprincipled. We shouldn't even be eating cookies in the first place.

***

"Scow" was an interesting Freudian slip for "scout." One definition for "scow" in the OED is: "Orkney and Shetland. ‘A big gaunt woman’... slang (chiefly U.S.). A disparaging term for a woman."
1866   T. Edmondston Etymol. Gloss. Shetland & Orkney Dial. 99   ‘A great scow of a woman’—a tall, thin, bony woman....
1960   H. Wentworth & S. B. Flexner Dict. Amer. Slang 449/2   Scow,..a large, ugly, and/or unpleasant woman.
1970   R. Lowell Notebk. 143   Often the Dutch were sacks, their women a sack, Obstinate, undefeated hull of the old scow.
1970   G. Greer Female Eunuch 265   More familiar terms in current usage refer to women as receptacles for refuse..as..scow.

84 comments:

Hagar said...

"Scow" is a kind of barge, like a garbage scow, and comes from a Dutch word for barge.

EMD said...

Are there lesbian cookie moms in the Girl Scouts?

Greg said...

I get the outrage over what the clueless woman did, but "We shouldn't even be eating cookies in the first place"? Where do you live, on planet Bloomberg?

Sorun said...

Most likely she was really fired for being a shitty employee.

Brew Master said...

I steadfastly refuse all offers from 'cookie moms'. I don't say why unless asked.

I frequently see the actual girl scouts in front of grocery stores (chaperoned by parents), walgreens, etc. I always try to buy directly from them, provided I have cash available.

phx said...

We shouldn't even be eating cookies in the first place.

We should be eating that Asian diet that NPR's pushing on us.

Bob Ellison said...

When I was in high school, various groups (band, teams, etc.) used to buy bagels for, I think, seventeen cents apiece, and then sell them in class for twenty-five cents. I hope a few of my classmates learned a few things about business models and sustainable profit margins.

phx said...

Are there lesbian cookie moms in the Girl Scouts?

Wrong wrong wrong on so many levels EMD. What are we gonna do with you?

jacksonjay said...


Girl Scouts relationship with Planned Parenthood kinda turned me off to supporting the Girl Scouts!

Erika said...

We shouldn't even be eating cookies in the first place.

Oh Lordy, lighten up.

edutcher said...

Anent next to nothing, but GSA has gone very feminazi the last few years. How much that may have to do with anything is up for grabs, but I do think the operative phrase is, "using its retail space to sell a product and take cash that did not go into the cash register.".

If she did it among employees in the break room, that would be something else entirely, but, yeah, I can see the store's point.

If she did it for 3 years, that would seem to create an exception, but is this a new policy for the company?

caplight45 said...

Gee Professor, did we get up on the wrong side of the bed today? I remember when Girl Scouts went door to door. They were our neighbors. We would buy them in school too. Thin Mints hidden in your desk! I still keep them in my office and share them with my assistant.

alan markus said...

Most likely she was really fired for being a shitty employee

It took 28 years for the employer to figure that out? When I had employees, it took me about 28 days to figure that out.

Bob Boyd said...

We could solve this crisis with common sense legislation mandating the purchase of Girl Scout Veggies.

AllenS said...

The woman used very poor judgment. However, couldn't the owner asked the woman not to sell the cookies at the store?

SGT Ted said...

Hey, if she is on the clock, she does as her employer wishes. If that doens't include fund-raising for the Girls Scouts, so be it. Find other work if this temporary cookie selling season is more important than your employment rules.

I loves me some Girl Scout Cookies, especially the coconut ones.

tim maguire said...

I've gotten my girl scout cookies at the office for most of my adult life and I don't appreciate you or anybody else getting between me and my Samoas. They're rare enough as it is.

TMink said...

American Heritage Girls is in.

Girl Scouts are out.

Trey

Renee said...

I only buy from girls as well, I don't care for the PP connection but the girl isn't there for PP. I ask her about what she does in scouts and what she likes about it.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Freudian slips have fallen on hard times. Anything of the sort that you read nowadays is likelier to be an autocomplete error.

Ann Althouse said...

"However, couldn't the owner asked the woman not to sell the cookies at the store?"

If you owned a store, and you found out that for years one of the cashiers has been selling a product that she brought in from the outside and pocketing money from the customers that came into your shop and leaving the store time and again with that money, would you just say please don't do that anymore?

MrCharlie2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark S said...

I always felt uncomfortable when my daughter asked me to sell the cookies at work. I didn't want anyone to feel that they were compelled to buy the cookies and didn't want to get into issues using company resources to do this. I usually just left the signup sheet on my desk and the few people who knew about it would come by to purchase them.

MrCharlie2 said...

She probably isn't a shitty employee. Just tell her it's not appropriate. Sounds like a tone-deaf low level manager flexing arbitrary muscle, and will probably rebound on said dweeb.

That said, I hate this "cookie mom" crap, in all it's permutations: booster clubs, Mother's Day plant sales for soccer teams, private school megafund raising, on and on. It all makes me puke. Kid raising fixations have been over the top for years.

Ann Althouse said...

"Freudian slips have fallen on hard times. Anything of the sort that you read nowadays is likelier to be an autocomplete error."

The robots have taken over. Odd things used to come from inside human minds and to entice us as evidence of a hidden world inside. Now, it's random stuff. Maybe funny, but not actually revealing of anything. The humor of silliness.

Henry said...

I wonder if selling crap at work for your kids is an unintended result of the women's movement. You don't see the guys in Mad Men pushing cookies on their despicable colleagues.

Ann Althouse said...

"That said, I hate this "cookie mom" crap, in all it's permutations: booster clubs, Mother's Day plant sales for soccer teams, private school megafund raising, on and on. It all makes me puke. Kid raising fixations have been over the top for years."

The Girl Scouts are supposed to be advancing the interests of women, but this cookie mom crap is dragging down the adult women who are (perversely enough) hoping for the advancement of their daughters.

It's so corrupt.

The organization is hooked on its cookie program, even as no one thinks eating cookies is an activity that needs to be promoted.

What do you learn about real business here? What does it do to advance women?

Eric said...

Do you think the cookie moms are doing their kids homework for them too?

AllenS said...

would you just say please don't do that anymore?

Yes.

Methadras said...

When you do things from the goodness of your heart, you are a kind and compassionate, and selfless human being, aka a liberal. However, if you think you are doing good then you are an evil, angry white male, conservative and most likely a republican.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Around here, a box of the peanut butter sandwich cookies goes for $4.50.

I've bought many, many boxes and I throw them the extra 50 cents.

The girls are really cute so how can I say no?

And besides, they have their table set up right in front of the booze store so they've got my guilty conscience locked in a Vulcan Death Grip.

The little bastards.

William said...

There must have been a way short of dismmissal in bringing the lesson home to this woman. She went over the line in selling the cookies, but the employer went way, way over the line in firing her......Smart retailers hoping for maximum market penetration don't post Girl Scouts Suck signs in their windows.

AllenS said...

I used to sell ground beef from cattle that I butchered to friends at work in the parking lot. They said: "Don't do that anymore", and I didn't.

K in Colorado said...

I agree 100% that she should have been fired. It's one thing to post something on the lunch bulletin board that you are taking orders for Girl Scout cookies, it's another to use your employer's shelf space. Would the retail employer be liable for sale's tax since these were products that were on their shelf and sold out of their store (regardless if the money went into the cash register)?

Methadras said...

Ann Althouse said...

"That said, I hate this "cookie mom" crap, in all it's permutations: booster clubs, Mother's Day plant sales for soccer teams, private school megafund raising, on and on. It all makes me puke. Kid raising fixations have been over the top for years."

The Girl Scouts are supposed to be advancing the interests of women, but this cookie mom crap is dragging down the adult women who are (perversely enough) hoping for the advancement of their daughters.

It's so corrupt.

The organization is hooked on its cookie program, even as no one thinks eating cookies is an activity that needs to be promoted.

What do you learn about real business here? What does it do to advance women?


This is nothing compared to the little league parents or pop warner parents who spend massive amounts of money to pretend to insure that their child will become the next Jeter or Brady. I see the daughters and mothers who set up shop outside of supermarkets to sell the cookies or the ones who bring in the order forms at work for people to order from and I think to myself that maybe I shouldn't order another box of thin mints because I'm contributing to an evil anti-womens interest culture within the girl scouts. Then I chuckle and order one anyway.

The girl scouts is basically the anti-thesis of the boy scouts. It's a feminazi organization that is maturation site to create other feminists and what's funny is that many conservative mothers who have daughters in this organizations don't know that, but they should and it isn't pretty either.

traditionalguy said...

Girl scouts are to selling cookies as AARP is to selling insurance. That is all either one exists to do, that and paying its officers the mega salaries.

Mitchell the Bat said...

In Cub Scouts I won a bronze medal for selling the third most fruitcakes in the pack.

My father sold them all at work.

At the awards ceremony, I stood in front of maybe 50 or 75 people and the Cubmaster pinned it on me and made a fuss about how someone so small could have so much determination.

My father was there, beaming with pride.

For that, and a bunch of other, I hate him to this very day.

We haven't spoken for 30 years.

I hope he's dead.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Wow. That was kind of cathartic.

Sorry about that.

As you were.

MayBee said...

How did it get to be called cookie mom? I know plenty of dads who sell their kids' crap.

Having said that, I'd kill for a Samoa right now.

Julie C said...

I only buy Girl Scout cookies from albinos

MayBee said...

I want to ban the term "single mom". Or at least really tighten up how it can be used

I'm tired of it being used to confer some sort of specialness on mothers What does whether or not she's married have to do with her selling her daughter's cookies?

Baron Zemo said...

This is just part of the continuing attack on the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts by the forces of liberal progressive political correctness.

Plus liberals hate cookies and donuts and other good things to eat.

Commie fucks.

Baron Zemo said...

Listen if you want to ban cookies than ban soliciting contributions for Breast Cancer or the Aids Walk or any of the other things that people always want you to contribute to when it doesn't have anything to do with you.

At least with the Girls Scouts you get a cookie.

CyndiF said...

I sold cookies as a child. I hated it. My father absolutely refused to let me solicit at his workplace, which I appreciate now. My mother was district cookie coordinator so every cookie for the area came through our house. She still didn't care that I sold the minimum. My parents are awesome.

The worst were the calendars. Who wants a crappy Girl Scout calendar? And yes, I went door to door. Apparently that was safe in the 70's but is some sort of huge danger now. Whatever.

jacksonjay said...


BatMan sez:

I hope he's dead.

Father or Cubmaster?

Alan said...

"Cookie Mom" is a role in the troop. Not every girl's mom who sells cookies for her daugher is a "Cookie Mom".

The "Cookie Mom" is the one responsible for handling all of the bulk orders for cookies for the troop, for distributing the cookies to the girls to sell, for making reorders, coordinating trading of excess cookies among the girls, for dealing with the payment to the service unit, and, most thanklessly, having to deal with the leftover boxes. Of course the article never bothers to explain this.

But, hey, don't let me stop you from disparaging all of those who take on what is usually a pretty thankless job for her girl's troop. My wife is a troop leader--finding someone to take on the "Cookie Mom" role is probably one of the most difficult tasks she has to perform.

MrCharlie2 said...

"Girl scouts are to selling cookies as AARP is to selling insurance. That is all either one exists to do, that and paying its officers the mega salaries."

Yes, my wife was a GS troop leader: ALL the money went to the "council", it's all the council cared about, and was the only interaction between troop and council (as of 15 years ago anyway.)

sydney said...

Maybee,
You can buy Samoas at the grocery store. Keebler sells them as "Caramel Delights." Keebler was one of the official Girl Scout bakeries, so they are the same. They sell all the other Girl Scout cookies with different names, too. They were $2.50 a package at my grocery store last weekend.

The organization is hooked on its cookie program..

That's the problem I had with Girl Scouts when my daughter was one. Everything revolved around the cookie sale. The organization itself was more focused on maximizing cookie profits than on sponsoring good programs for girls. She became a Scout Explorer instead and reaped the benefits of the Boy Scout organization.

MayBee said...

Sydney- I'm not currently in the US, so I can't even buy the wannabes

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

The Girl Scouts are supposed to be advancing the interests of women

They are?

When my sister was one, back in the Dim Time, they taught you stuff similar to the Boy Scouts about Nature. They also did craftsy things.

but this cookie mom crap is dragging down the adult women who are (perversely enough) hoping for the advancement of their daughters.

The little girls are supposed to sell the cookies, not the mothers. Maybe feminism turned it into cutthroat competition and so the mothers wanted the kids to look good.

It was a way for the Troop to have some self-sufficiency (I figure many were like my sister's, sponsored by the local parish, using the church facilities). As I say, I've seen pieces that the Girl Scouts have gone very NOW. so all the money may go to Fem Central.

Erika said...

We shouldn't even be eating cookies in the first place.

Oh Lordy, lighten up.


Schoolmarm mode.

Some guys here like it, apparently.

MayBee said...

Alan- that's what I thought the cookie mom was. It is a lot of work.
And CyndiF, I think we had the same childhood.

Pianoman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
virgil xenophon said...

@SGT TED & tim macguire/

YUM!! Me too! Give me "somemoa" samoas..

GrandpaMark said...

Selling alot of cookies has much to do with peer pressure and recognition for the younger girls.

My gripe is that the troop gets a very small percentage of the"take", kinda like buying something through the Amazon Portal.

Some of the overpriced cookies are not too bad, unlike the junk that grammar school kids have to sell to offset the cost of "supplies" or "field trips".

And, if your kid sells anything, you must reciprocate when the neighbors or co-workers kids hit you up.

Pogo said...

Given their association with Planned Parenthood and the profit margin involved, the Girl Scouts should be selling abortion vouchers, condoms, and dental dams.

50% Off your next abortion, (less than 13 weeks gestation, limit one per customer).

MadisonMan said...

I will never buy from a parent selling stuff for their kid.

I will always buy from the kid if they ask me.

In my neighborhood, the kids will go door to door selling. The parent usually walks with them, but the kid comes to the door.

Some of you seem to have malfunctioning sarcasm detectors, by the way. (Looks at Erika and Pianoman)

furious_a said...

"Cookie moms"...between them and the Boyscout "Popcorn dads"...

...going to Kroger anymore is like running the gauntlet of taxi drivers and souvenir hawkers outside a Greek tourist attraction.

GET OFF MY LAWN!

Pianoman said...

Looks like everyone beat me to it on the "we shouldn't be eating cookies in the first place" part ...

vza said...

"We shouldn't even be eating cookies in the first place."

Absolutist silliness.

"But she was legendary not only for bringing French cooking to American homes but also for proclaiming the virtues of enjoying, rather than fearing, food. Her recipes - heavy with butter, cream and sugar - offered the common household a taste of the good life."

"They would also offend the nation's growing class of government worrywarts."

"Throughout her life, Child stood against neo-puritans who demanded universal adherence to one view of the perfect diet. Whether she was arguing against organic evangelists with their "endless talk of pollutants and toxins" that played on "the country's ingrained fear of pleasure," or telling The Associated Press that scolds and nags "see no beauty in food," Child had no time for overblown hype in the kitchen."

"When she passed, Child was two days short of 92 years old. Not bad for a woman who wrote, "With enough butter, everything is good." Moderation served her well, and it could serve us all well if we give it the chance."

http://www.reviewjournal.com/opinion/julia-child-and-food-nags

furious_a said...

My father sold them all at work.

F'ers like you always won the sales prize for my elem school's Fall Festival raffle ticket sales, while I worked my neighborhood door-to-door and block-by-block like a sucker.

Pianoman said...

@MM: That was sarcasm?

Sure didn't look like that to me. It looked like scolding.

Peter said...

I'd give "cookie mom" credit for not actively soliciting the store's customers (supposedly the cookies were just sitting on a nearby tray).

I've been hit up for charities by store cashiers; invariably they do this while holding your credit card or change hostage- you're not going to get your card back until you answer. It's an unpleasant experience, and I an see why a store might terminate an employee who does it.

But in this case, if it's true that the solicitation was entirely passive, then I'd expect a warning would be sufficient.

PatHMV said...

We had a knock on our door a few weeks back. It was a little girl, 7 or 8 years old, shyly asking if we wanted to order some Girl Scout cookies. Her mom was standing about 10 feet down our driveway with another child in a stroller. We ordered 8 boxes.

Last week, the phone rang and a small little girl voice asked me what day would be good to deliver the cookies. When she stopped by, mom again stood 10 feet back from our door, and let her daughter handle the entire interaction.

This is how it's supposed to be done, people.

prairie wind said...

It's not safe to go door to door? Was it ever a good idea to send little girls out to be door-to-door salespersons?

It is safe to go door to door. As safe as it ever was. Don't raise your kids to be pansies.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Agree with Prairie Wind. @12:51

AllenS said...

PatHMV, I agree. I live in the country, so small children walking inbetween houses is impossible. I appreciate children coming to the door with parent/s in the car. I buy every time.

EMD said...

And besides, they have their table set up right in front of the booze store so they've got my guilty conscience locked in a Vulcan Death Grip.

Location, location, location.

The only thing better would to set up in the milk aisle at the local grocery.

EMD said...

It is safe to go door to door. As safe as it ever was. Don't raise your kids to be pansies.

I don't know, they might get shot by one of them "gun nuts."

RonF said...

My son sold Christmas wreaths for his Scout Troop door to door. I walked down the street and waited for him on the curb while he went to the front door. Put a little time in on the weekends, Mom.

In Scouts I like to say "Everything's program." A kid will be Thrifty if he had to earn the money himself. He'll be Brave if he has to walk up to the front door himself and sell - and get told "No", and do it again and again until someone says "Yes". You're not doing your kid any favor by selling for him or her.

rcommal said...

I think the Girl Scout Cookie sales project was at one time a good idea and really did teach the scouts some good skills and values, but the project long ago became stale. Some traditions, even originally fine ones, do need expiration dates.

rcommal said...

That said, if an actual kid makes a pitch and agrees to be present when whatever is fundraising item is being pitched, I'll not only buy every time, but give a donation on top in most (though not all) cases.

rcommal said...

I was amazed at how many of those Boy Scout popcorn tins had accumulated in our basement back in Iowa over the years, by the way. When we went to get rid of them as part of getting rid of stuff, I sort of wished we'd paid a deposit on them or something, LOL.

Freeman Hunt said...

I will never buy from a parent selling stuff for their kid.

I will always buy from the kid if they ask me.


This.

Even though all these fundraisers are usually total ripoffs. My dad used to tell kids that he would't buy anything, but he'd give them a $20 donation for their group. I wish kids would just come around and ask for donations.

I also get annoyed by places that charge expensive tuition and do these fundraisers. People are already paying to use the service, so why do they have to sell things?

My parents never sold anything for me. I had to hoof it all over the neighborhood knocking on doors. The school had us selling wrapping paper every year.

Freeman Hunt said...

I once came across a Boy Scout fundraiser where they were barbecuing chicken in a parking lot and you could drive through and buy it. That was a great fundraiser. Who doesn't want barbecued chicken? Plus, they were selling it at a normal price, so it was real selling, not take-pity-on-me selling.

Beach Brutus said...

RE: PatHMV at 12:48 -- ... and in the process the shy little girl will have experienced a little disappointment at those who say no, and satisfaction when those like you buy 8 boxes. She will learned on balance that the disappointment does not kill and the risk of disappointment can be overcome by success. She will have learned that she can do something significant and that she can do it herself. If done right as you point out - she will enjoy a heightened self confidence -- not from some false esteem building project -- but from real experience.

BaltoHvar said...

Besides The Holidays and the 4th of July - I hear Andy Williams singing "Its the most wonderful time of the year...!"

THIN MINTS!

Around here they ususally set-up a card table outside a Supermarket.

I was a Cub and Boy Scout, and parental involvement is often critical for a given project to succeed so I have no problem with parental involvement. Even when they do the selling at work. But not over the counter at a Retail establishment WITHOUT prior management approval. It is the passing of money that is the problem.

One day I was headed into my local Market, and they were there greeting the customers. I was in a particularly foul mood, having had a rough day at work and other problems; feeling quite sorry for myself. I exchanged pleasantries with the girls there as I passed.

As I exited I heard the sweetest little voice - "Hey Mister, wan’na buy some Girl Scout Cookies?"

I turned, and the little one's shiny little face had a big sunny grin on it. She looked at me, and my mood melted away into shame. She was in a wheelchair, and it was obvious it was permanent. I tried to mumble something in the affirmative, and she whipped the chair around and scooted over to the table as I emptied my wallet onto it. Nobody helped her, although one of the parents was watching with pride as she completed the sale and handed me my cookies in a bag.

My problems? Big Deal.

phx said...

She looked at me, and my mood melted away into shame. She was in a wheelchair, and it was obvious it was permanent.

Great story. I started off today in a bad mood and it occurred to me that should never, ever, ever happen.

I believe people can live their lives without getting angry, and I'm determined to prove it.

SOJO said...

I sold them in the door-to-door days. I loved it.

There were always some asshole moms that sold their kids cookies. They are the girl scout version of stage mothers - pushy, will do anything to see their kid come out on top.

Still, I don't think she should be fired for it. Just take her aside and tell her it's against company policy. Firing her is over the top.

SOJO said...

Oh, and about the "lessons" that the girls learn - nepotism is one of them and it will prepare them for real life.

But you know the real lesson? That the Girls Scouts of America pimps the faces of its adorable little girls to make its money for a huge, successful corporation. It doesn't all go to the girls, not by a long shot. It goes to the administration. That's the real lesson - and again it prepares you for real life.

DADvocate said...

I've never heard of a woman described as a scow, a cow, but not a scow. That would be an insult to barges.

From Dictionary.com - scow
noun
1. any of various vessels having a flat-bottomed rectangular hull with sloping ends, built in various sizes with or without means of propulsion, as barges, punts, rowboats, or sailboats.
2. Eastern U.S. a barge carrying bulk material in an open hold.
3. an old or clumsy boat; hulk; tub.
verb (used with object)
4. to transport by scow.

Pianoman said...

@phx: Nothing wrong with getting angry now and then ... just try not to go to bed angry, because then you'll wake up angry. And that makes for a sucky day.

THIN MINTS!

jacksonjay said...


Schoolmarm mode.

Some guys here like it, apparently.


Pissin off the schoolmarm was the funniest thing about being a schoolkid!

phx said...

Thin mints are the best.

PianoLessons said...

Facts of this case should matter: This 28 year employee has been selling GS cookies for three years. Why this year? I suspect more to this case will unfold - new management? Who knows.

The employer has the right to fire in this state. This matters. But why now and why no warning? I say she will win a bunch of money if she scores a lawyer in need of good PR - as if there aren't like a hundred thousand lawyers in need of a job now.

Anne - keep us posted on the outcomes of this case. Megyn Kelly covered it Thursday, March 21 on her noon show.