Each year during Girl Scout cookie season, we pass the scouts in their teal and brown uniforms outside our local grocery stores, hawking Thin Mints and Tagalongs with a unique enthusiasm born of youth and sugar. Except this year, one enterprising Girl Scout went one step further to earn her “Cookie CEO” badge: She planted her fold-out table and boxes of Samoas outside of a California weed dispensary, and there, proceeded to sell over 300 boxes in six hours.
Considering that each box of cookies is somewhere around $5, this young innovator made around $250 an hour—which is about how much I make in a day and a half.
Because the world is full of haters, there was backlash to this wonderful story. Anonymous commenters sounded off on Instagram saying that the situation was a product of “bad parenting and bad business ethics,” with some going so far as to ask, “Why in the hell would you put you [sic] little girl out in front of a drug shop?”
The answer, obviously, is because this is an crackerjack business decision that deserves praise and admiration and just the right amount of “smart cookie” compliments. And good on the Girl Scouts for encouraging such ingenuity. In 2014, the Girl Scouts of Colorado attempted to get ahead of the ball by banning scouts from selling cookies outside marijuana shops, liquor stores, or bars. They have since wisely abandoned the policy. “Back then it was a blanket: ‘No, you may not,’” said AnneMarie Harper, a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Colorado, in an interview with the New York Times. “Now, it’s more of: ‘Come to us, tell us where you want to be and what you want to do,’ making sure we’re checking off all of the safety guidelines.”
Back in the Leave it to Beaver days, kids would set up a lemonade stand on the side of their bucolic suburban streets to earn an extra dollar or two, or they’d sell their various fundraising products outside of a church. In venture-capitalist parlance, what this girl did was disrupt these normal channels of fundraising to the tune of $1500. And she’s not the only one. In 2014, a 13-year-old Girl Scout made $117 in two hours by setting up outside of a San Francisco medical marijuana clinic. Similarly, every year during the annual music festival at my alma mater, local kids would sell water, lemonade, and various treats to college kids who were drunk and/or high off their asses. It was a brilliant and admirable pursuit, and one that should be emulated widely.
To that end, my Slate colleagues and I have prepared a few potential business suggestions for the next local enterprising youngster looking to break into the market:
Why not set the cookie stand up next to a blood drive to
take advantage of er, assist the customer with managing her perilously low blood sugar?
Or how about targeting the environmentally conscious yet dehydrated crowd? Just re-package tap water in Mason jars (glass is sustainable right?), label it free-range, free of GMOs, and free of pesticides. For the highest dividends, sell “It’s Just Water” outside of: Dance clubs where everyone is on ecstasy; college parties/frat houses; Coachella.
To break into the fitness sector, station an empanada cart outside of a SoulCyle class.
No cyclist will be able to resist a lively crew that embodies the youth he’s struggling to maintain.
An overpriced yet luxurious sheet mask will allow the perfect escape for the stressed-out New York City commuter when their subway train switches from local to express without warning.
For the aspiring public health official, establish a condom trolley outside of your local neighborhood bar. The fact that you are a child will only enhance your pitch.
Oh, and a final tip: All such efforts must accept Venmo and/or use Square for maximum profit. You gotta meet the people where they are!
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