Saturday, March 25, 2017

Girl Scout Cookies: The Dark Side

Going for the Bondage Badge
Girl Scout Cookie Time is upon us. Today my husband brought home two boxes of his favorite, Thin Mints. I've never liked those so I'm happy, especially since I just bought a new pair of jeans that actually zip up. Besides, the Thin Mints of today are only a distant cousin to the Thin Mints of yesteryear, back when the cookies were actually thin. Today's version is a lot thicker and way less minty, if you ask me.

The copy on the box describes the cookies as "Crispy chocolate wafers dipped in a mint chocolaty coating." I find that word chocolaty mildly disturbing, being quite distinct from chocolate, although to be fair, cocoa is listed as an ingredient, after enriched flour, sugar and vegetable oil shortening with those controversial palm oils. (Unsustainable palm oil development is said to fuel widespread rain forest destruction, human rights abuses, illegal wildlife smuggling, climate change and some other horrible things.) Peppermint oil, almost the last ingredient, supplies the mint flavor. The box also states that "Selling Girl Scout Cookies helps girls develop 5 skills that they use throughout their lives: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics."

 Oddly enough, neither baking nor selling are on the list. That's because the girls do neither. The cookies are baked by adults at ABC Bakers/Interbake Foods LLC in Richmond, Virginia, with nary a Scout on the premises. They are then "sold" at card tables set up in front of supermarkets. "It was quite an operation," my husband recounted, with several Dads-of-Scouts handling the cash. "It was much more efficient and so much more lucrative than going door-to-door," according to Mitch. "I'd say they were selling four boxes a minute." Another way the Girl Scouts "sell" is through their parents, who take orders from co-workers at their places of business. The higher their position, the more they sell, as I recall from my working days.

Each Thin Mint has 40 calories, and the going price today is $4.00 per box, or 12-and-a-half cents per cookie.

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