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It's that time of year again: Beware the Girl Scout Cookies

Uploaded: Feb 15, 2015
There they were again. Right outside of Safeway. Not one group of girl scouts, but two. Each with their own competing tables, laden with cookies. Boxes of cookies. As I walked by, the friendly, uniform-clad girls, with watchful mothers nearby, beckoned me with their mantra "Girl Scout cookies, wanna buy some Girl Scout cookies." Dare I say what was on my mind: that they were somehow caught up in this yearly, good-deed ritual that would earn them points, or merit badges, or whatever they get by selling the most cookies, while at the same time pushing a well-known drug that many of them, their friends, parents and fellow Americans were addicted to, namely sugar (in all it's numerous disguised forms.) I just couldn't bring myself to burst their bubble, and ruin a perfectly beautiful sunny day here in Palo Alto outside the neighborhood supermarket, which was an even bigger pusher of sugar and sweeteners (and all those other highly processed, fake foods) than the Girl Scouts could ever be.

So instead of saying anything to the girls, I am presenting some thoughts directed to the parents of those girls, written by journalist Christina Le Beau in Feb 2011 that rings as true today as it did a few years ago when she wrote it:

I was talking to a friend about Brownies. The Girl Scout kind. Her daughter had just joined a troop, and, remembering how much I'd loved camping and earning badges as a Girl Scout myself, I asked for details, thinking my daughter might like to join, too.

I'd kind of forgotten about the cookies.

Years ago, before I got squicky about things like refined sugars and oils, GMOs and chemicals in my food, I thought nothing of buying a few boxes from co-workers and neighborhood kids. Then I learned what's in Girl Scout cookies (including pesticide-laden cottonseed oil and eco-nightmare palm oil), lost my taste and haven't thought about them since. My daughter, Tess, has never had a Girl Scout cookie. We don't have family or friends who pester us to buy them. (I haven't seen a door-to-door Girl Scout in forever.) And when we've walked by the tables local troops set up outside banks and stores, we've just smiled and kept going.

So when my friend mentioned that if my daughter joined, she'd be starting in the midst of our region's cookie sales, I had one of those huh moments. Huh, I'd better look into this. And gee, I wonder if we're allowed to opt out. "I sort of wondered if the cookie thing might be a conflict of interest," my friend joked (sort of), when I said that I needed to think things through.

Turns out you can opt out, though the Girl Scout website makes you feel like a loser for even considering such a thing. But I decided to wait anyway. Tess already has art and sewing classes besides school, and sometimes swimming lessons, too, and that's all plenty. But, really, I just need time to think about the cookies.

Oh, there's no way I'd let her sell them. Our food habits are far from perfect (whatever that means). But I'd feel like a hypocrite. Or a drug dealer. Go on, tell me I'm overreacting. But, seriously, I couldn't in good conscience let my daughter sell something I believe to be patently unhealthy. (Just as I'm not a fan of donating Girl Scout cookies to food pantries.) And not that I've personally tasted one lately, but people tell me the cookies aren't even that good. Maybe that's because of ingredient changes. Or maybe because when you eat more real food, you lose your taste for crap. But, no matter. No selling.

But is that all? Do I just quietly opt out and let Tess enjoy the many great things the Girl Scouts do offer? Or do I talk to the council, the troop, whoever makes these decisions, about some fundraising alternatives? I mean, even if you don't want to consider the ingredients, there's the money thing: While about 70% of cookie proceeds go to the local council, individual girls and troops keep only 10% to 20% of the price of each box. And it's not like the girls gain any values lessons here, as they could with, say, selling seed-starting kits or fair-trade goods. Seems we could do better, yes?

But then what? Do I raise a stink at higher levels? Try to get the Girl Scouts of the whole U.S. of A. to see that forcing little girls to shill nasty, unhealthful cookies hardly upholds the ideals of an organization that published a report called "Weighing in: Helping Girls Be Healthy Today, Healthy Tomorrow"?

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote a 2006 op-ed called "Killer Girl Scouts" that set the Nanny State complainers abuzz. My favorite part:

"Maybe it's unfair to pick on the Girl Scouts, because trans fats are all around us. But that's the problem we have in risk assessments. There are certain kinds of risks – say, fears of Saddam Hussein – that galvanize us to mobilize an army and devote $1 trillion to confront the challenge. Meanwhile, we do nothing about threats that are much more likely to kill us – like trans fats peddled by cute little girls."

This was before the Girl Scouts toned down the trans fats in their cookies. But trans fats are still in there. Along with all the other unhealthy oils, refined sugars, and artificial colors and flavors. A sampling:

Thin Mints: enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), sugar, vegetable shortening (palm and/or partially hydrogenated palm kernel oils), cocoa (processed with alkali), caramel color, contains less than 2% of: high fructose corn syrup, whey, salt, leavening (sodium bicarbonate), soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, peppermint oil. (This version is from ABC Bakers, one of two bakeries authorized to make Girl Scout cookies.)

Dulce de Leche: enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate [vitaminB1, riboflavin [vitamin B2, folic acid), soybean and palm oil, dulce de leche flavored drops (sugar, palm kernel and palm oil, anhydrous dextrose, nonfat dry milk solids, reduced mineral whey powder, cocoa butter, yellow #5 lake, yellow #6 lake, blue #2 lake, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, salt), sugar, brown sugar, contains two percent or less of high fructose corn syrup, natural and artificial caramel flavor, salt, natural and artificial flavor, cinnamon, baking soda, whey protein concentrate.

Yet these are the same cookies the Girl Scouts use as a foundation for cookie badges that ask girls to, among other things, analyze cookie ingredients (for realz) and consider farmers' roles (as if).

The Scouts should be careful what they ask for, or they might end up with whole troops like these two savvy 12-year-olds, who created an alternative fundraiser and education campaign after learning that the cookies contain rainforest-destroying palm oil. Maybe it's time the rest of us cast a critical eye, too.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Another Max, a resident of Mountain View,
on Feb 15, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Great stuff! The clash with the Girl Scouts' report title "Weighing in: Helping Girls Be Healthy Today, Healthy Tomorrow" is priceless.

No doubt in a little while, the whole scheme (I'd call it pimping rather than "shilling" for the hokey mass-market pastry firms that make that junk) will have had its day. Like all those advertisements 60 or so years ago where doctors endorsed cigarette brands.

Posted by Johnny, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 16, 2015 at 5:43 am

Obsessing over the ingredients in Girl Scout cookies while people are being burned alive.

I don't think it can any more sterilized than this.

The softheadedness of this article makes me cringe. You should definitely petition City Council to ban the cookies and force the girls to sell raisins instead.

How about you eat all the cookies you want, and go get some exercise?

I'm gonna go patronize the Girl Scouts now just because of.this ludicrous article. How low can we sink???

Posted by GS Leader in Midtown, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 16, 2015 at 6:34 am

GS Cookies fund the many programs that benefit girls. I agree that cookies could be improved from a health perspective but please consider supporting troops with a donation and let them keep the cookies.

GS is a well proven way for girls to participate in outdoor activities including camping and develop leadership skills that are needed in our work places and communities.

Girl Scouts are more than just cookie sales. Please take this time as a reminder to support this valued program.

Posted by TroopLeader, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 16, 2015 at 6:51 am

If you don't want to buy them, politely say so to the next girl who approaches you. She will accept your "no" gracefully and move on to the next customer who will willingly support her sales effort.

But please, be honest - don't give her vague reasons like "I am on a diet" or if she rings the door bell either (a) not open the door or (b) slam the door on her face. Just be honest and say you don't want to buy the cookies.

Cookies are a lot more than dissecting the ingredients. They support various programs and mainly teach girls a thing or two about sales / approaching people / taking "no" for an answer / setting goals / managing money. Yes, even in Palo Alto, where tech families reign, these are the basic skills that each child needs to develop.

Take a break, eat a cookie !

Posted by Max Greenberg, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 16, 2015 at 9:30 am

Max Greenberg is a registered user.

Dear TroopLeader from Midtown: Thank you for taking the time to comment. I can tell that your intentions, and those of others who have commented, are noble. But you kind of contradict yourself. On the one hand you say " honest..." if you are going to turn down a Girl Scout trying to sell you cookies. Then you go on to suggest that we don't give vague answers like "I am on a diet," but nowhere suggest actual honesty be practiced.

No one disputes the value of the Girl Scouts program and how the cookie sale teaches the girls "a thing or two about sales." But how about teaching the girls a thing or two about telling the truth, and encourage those who are not inclined to purchase the cookies because of health reasons or because they are aware that though the boxes of cookies look they are made by cute little companies like ABC Smart Cookies and Little Brownie Bakers, those bakers are owned by major consumer goods companies like Keebler and Kellogg who make a lot of money selling these cookies, and have placed good ?ole Girlscout cookies alongside their illustrious lineup of fake-food products.

I propose a ?Just don?t say no thankyou? program which encourages folks to politely explain to the girls (and their mom?s if in the vicinity) the reasons they are not going to buy their cookies. And please let them know (if you do) that you support girl scouts and what they stand for, but not in this way. Ask if there is another way you can be supportive if you like.

That?ll take care of your desire for being honest and polite, as well as being supportive. And the girls can learn about honesty as well as planning,inventory, budgeting etc. I?ll bet if Girl Scouts USA puts out a call for suggestions for a new fundraising vehicle, some awesome suggestions would start flowing in.

Posted by anon, a resident of Barron Park,
on Feb 16, 2015 at 10:17 am

Please do not approach young children and start explaining the various reasons for rejecting their fundraiser. A "no thank you" is enough. I don't buy the GS Cookies and I have my reasons, but they are private. Saying "no thank you" is entirely honest and an appropriate way for a stranger to speak to another person's child. I think your blog was the right place to share your honesty. Encouraging to adults to share their opinions face to face with 5-10 year old children is just, to be honest, creepy.

Posted by Max Greenberg, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 16, 2015 at 11:18 am

Max Greenberg is a registered user.

Anon - I am not encouraging that level of honesty with other people's young children, but your reminding folks not to do that is well taken. Unless there is a sign up at the table that says "Please share your reasons for not buying" I agree, a simple "No thank you" is enough. On the other hand, if those dialogues started happening on a regular basis, before long the cookie fundraiser would probably be replaced with something more reflective of the healthy, wholesome lifestyle the Girl Scouts are otherwise promoting. But boy, those cookie monster mega cookie makers wouldn't be all too happy would they.

Posted by palo alto resident, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Feb 16, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Max - While I wish the Girl Scouts would come up with a healthier version of their cookies, in this case it is all about raising money. I view buying a couple boxes of Girl Scout cookies once a year like having birthday cake - its not healthy and I shouldn't have it every day, but once a year is not harmful.

Posted by Sir Bobbie, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Feb 16, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Sir Bobbie is a registered user.

An occasional chemical-laden cookie or ten is not harmful? An occasional cigarette? An occasional snort? The cookies are health bombs. No child should be eating them or selling them for corporate profits. No amount of excuses or justifying is acceptable. The ingredients need to be changed immediately so the fundraising can be continued in a healthy way for all. Until then, no Girl Scout cookies for me or mine.

Posted by History Buff, a resident of another community,
on Feb 16, 2015 at 3:32 pm

So, if the Girl Scouts went go door-to-door selling liquor or cigarettes it would be OK because the money supports "programs that benefit the girls"?

The Girl Scouts could certainly find better ways of fundraising. Then they could educate the girls as to why they stopped selling cookies.

It would be good for the girls to understand why the cookies are not healthy and to learn that a salesperson should be proud of the product she's selling. Never too early to learn that lesson.

Posted by Neal, a resident of Community Center,
on Feb 16, 2015 at 4:49 pm

When I was a Boy Scout and was compelled to do door to door sales of Scout-O-Rama tickets. I hated every minute of it. I support the Girl Scouts and would like to suggest a better way to support your local troop. Instead of spending several dollars on cookies which are of questionable value, just make a cash donation which will go directly to your local troop and bypass the area council. If someone can give me the name and address of our local troop I'll send a check ASAP.

Posted by OPar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Feb 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Hi Max,

Yes, you're over-reacting. Do you think the rest of us can't read labels? Or that you're somehow more enlightened and health-conscious that everyone reading this?

I get that food is minefield for you--but keep in mind that that's your damage. As someone who's never been fat and knows the ins and outs of the produce section of the farmer's market, I don't need someone who's seen the light after years of bad eating to tell me what I should buy or eat. I bought two boxes of GS cookies this year from a neighbor's kid. My family finished them in a week. Now we're done. It wasn't the healthiest thing we'd ever done, but we enjoyed them as little treats--which is what sweets should be.

Moderation--it's a beautiful thing, particularly when it comes to food. I know that moderating isn't always possible for everyone, but keep in mind that many of us are capable of it and would enjoy our little pleasures without a lecture.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Feb 17, 2015 at 6:12 am

There they were, bright-eyed in front of Starbucks at the California Avenue Farmers Market last Sunday morning, extolling the variety of flavors and warning about which had peanut content. Parents hovered unobtrusively in the background. A box of Thin Mints was mine for five dollars.

Posted by PA Neighbor, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 17, 2015 at 8:42 am

The Cookies are an option to the Boy Scout Trails End Popcorn if anyone is watching their sodium levels.

Posted by Max Greenberg, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 17, 2015 at 10:47 am

Max Greenberg is a registered user.

Opar: Thanks for your comment on this interesting subject. I do assume the rest of you can read labels. I certainly don?t believe I am ?...more enlightened and health-conscious than everyone reading this.? As far as food being a minefield for me, rather than my ?damage?, that realization that that is true has been my saving grace. It made me become conscious of all that I eat, as well as the food-industrial complex behind the rapidly advancing obesity epidemic that cuts across all age and ethnic groups. Why would the Girl Scouts want to be a part of that? That?s what?s prompting me to bring up the subject of Girl Scout cookies and see if there might be a healthy alternative that will not dent their fund-raising goals or their desire to learn some things about selling, talking to people, taking no for an answer etc. It is not a campaign against the girl scouts by any means, but actually for them and their customers/donors. And I certainly am not trying to tell you what you should or should not eat. Ironically ?...someone who's seen the light after years of bad eating...? is someone who very likely has gained some keen insights into food, food habits etc. Like we see amongst drug and alcohol treatment counselors, former addicts often are most effective. Someone doesn?t need to be ?fat? to be eating a poor diet that can come back to get them down the road. Enjoy your two boxes of Girl Scout cookies ? they may soon be a thing of the past... along with the popcorn the boys sell...

Posted by Will , a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 17, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Goodness folks - Max raises a good point, yet gets hammered by multiple posters because, well, because we are talking about sweet little girl scouts? Come on - he is not pontificating or announcing his superior knowledge. He is not down on girl scouts. He is raising a subject that more people need to be sensitive to. It took years before schools began to ban soft drinks. Why should cookies with partially hydrogenated oils and food coloring get a pass? Just because of the cute little ones that are peddling them for a worthy cause? Uh uh. They can surely sell cookies all they want - there are plenty of healthier cookies out there (though some sugar is necessarily going to be a part of those). Resell healthier cookies and I will be right there contributing to the cause. Until then, I will keep walking past those tables like the scrooge I guess I would be labeled as by some on this thread.

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford,
on Feb 17, 2015 at 4:57 pm

You've certainly touched a nerve with this one, Max!

To the poster who brought up the heinous acts of terrorists, I'm pretty sure Max isn't saying cookie ingredients are on the same level. He is simply bringing up another issue. Sheesh!

Anyway, thanks for the cookie warning. I will not be shamed into buying them this year!

Posted by You are what you eat, a resident of Stanford,
on Feb 18, 2015 at 1:24 am

Great piece, and I appreciated your sharing the well-expressed article by Christina Le Beau. Unfortunately, most people don't understand or care about the direct connection between diet and health--until it's too late. My customary response to GS cookie peddlers is "No thanks, we don't eat GS cookies." (Besides, we prefer to support socially-responsible organizations.)

Here's a link to a troubling article about last year's GS-Nestle partnership for sugar-laden drinks. A California GS mom petitioned against the alliance; not sure how that turned out.
Web Link

Posted by History Buff, a resident of another community,
on Feb 18, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Cookie FAQ:
Web Link

Posted by Marnie, a resident of Community Center,
on Feb 19, 2015 at 5:25 pm

I have a question for "You are what you eat":(Besides, we prefer to support socially-responsible organizations. Why do you think that Girl Scouts is socially irresponsible.
I remember wonderful experiences as a Girl Scout: volunteering regularly at the CAR dances, and other events, back in the 1960s, volunteering as a counselor at a summer camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains which was aimed as kids who had a parent incarcerated, etc, etc.
I believe those were very much "socially responsible" activities.

When I have a neighbor child coming door to door selling Girl Scout cookies, I ask, "what amount of the cookie sale per box goes to your troop?"
This year it is $1.05 per box. So I donate that amount directly to the troop.
I don't end up with cookies I don't want, and I still support my neighbor and her troop.

Another way to approach the problem.

Posted by Healthful Eater, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Feb 19, 2015 at 6:04 pm

Max, I'm with you and the other GS cookie opponents. Having Scouts sell them legitimizes an unhealthy food by trading on the wholesome image of Scouts and our sympathy for young children.

Posted by Max Greenberg, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 19, 2015 at 8:24 pm

Max Greenberg is a registered user.

From the various comments I think we can agree that most people do support the Girl Scouts but are split on whether they think the GS selling cookies as a fundraiser is a good idea. For me, I think HEALTHFUL EATER puts it best: "Having Scouts sell them (cookies)legitimizes an unhealthy food by trading on the wholesome image of Scouts and our sympathy for young children." HISTORY BUFF's link Cookie FAQ: is interesting reading. A couple comments on that: the two bakeries, innocently named, that bake most of the cookies do not have their industrial-food-complex owners identified. It's easy to understand why: 1)folks are becoming more and more skeptical of industrial-food-complex products and would surely cut down on cookie sales, and 2)It would make it harder to "swallow" the double-talk the GS' website dishes out about why it's OK that some of their cookies have high fructose corn syrup in them. Here is their answer re. HFCS: "We trust our bakers, who are industry leaders, to develop recipes using ingredients that will produce the best-tasting and highest-quality cookies while simultaneously addressing industry trends, scientific trends, and of course, consumer preference."

Posted by Old Steve, a resident of St. Claire Gardens,
on Feb 20, 2015 at 9:04 am

Mr. Greenberg, As a long-time Boy Scout leader, let me assure you the quest for alternative fundraisers is never ending. Cookies and Popcorn happen to be very effective all over the country, so they are national programs. Shelf life is important in how the programs operate, so the producers consider ways to improve that trait of the products. I'm sure the national organizations would be happy to consider a cost-effective, healthier alternative. Certainly, no such producer has ever offered either national organization any such alternative.

Posted by Max Greenberg, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 20, 2015 at 10:25 am

Max Greenberg is a registered user.

OLD STEVE: Thanks for your comment, and I should add your years of service. I'm wondering if the organizations have considered replacing the sweet-tooth hook (because that's what it all seems to be predicated on) with a non-food item that eliminates the shelf-life issue, as well as nutritional component concern. As far as " such producer has ever offered either national organization any such alternative", unless you are on the national board and a high level insider, you might never know if that's true or not. And if they do want to stick with a food item, hard to believe no capable producer was able to come up with a new item, considering the volume sales opportunity. What if the boys and girls orgs had a nation-wide contest to come up with alternatives to cookies and popcorn? I would think if an individual troop or town or region announced they were dropping selling cookies or popcorn on their own, in favor of a healthier or non-food item, the national boards would have a tizzy-fit. I could just see the CEO?s of Kelloggs and Keebler convening a national confab on how to deal with the insurrection. Most likely will have to be a grass-roots, bottom-up effort to turn the tide. Or possibly a consumer-revolt?

Posted by Old Steve, a resident of St. Claire Gardens,
on Feb 20, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Mr. Greenberg, I've lived on the Peninsula for 50 years, but I've been around the country enough to know we are way ahead in "foodieness". We also don't have nearly enough leaders to do well by the youth we serve as is. Therefore it seems unlikely that anybody around here will lead such a grassroots movement. In other parts of the country these products are so popular that they are very successful fundraisers for youth units. I'd appreciate you not dissing whether I know enough national information, unless of course you'd care to go on the record and contradict me. I am mostly concerned about our neighbors' refusal to support local units. It sounds like some folks will only support community organizations with which they perfectly agree. In general I find such purity counterproductive and worth a challenge. Boy Scouts typically offer popcorn by saying something like "would you like to support Scouting today?" For folks to just say NO, as protest because units offer cookies or popcorn for sale, makes me wonder what kind of community groups those folks choose to support.

Posted by Max Greenberg, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 20, 2015 at 2:30 pm

Max Greenberg is a registered user.

OLD STEVE (you can call me Max): I totally agree we lack enough good leaders and I know scouting is a great source for producing them. So I loudly go on record as supporting scouting. It's just the selling of the sugar that rubs me the wrong way. As I think I said before, and others have suggested, make a donation directly to the troop selling the cookies rather than have much of the purchase price siphoned out of town. I am encouraging readers to support scouting however they see fit. Just wondering, rather than selling cookies or flavored popcorn, what would happen if the boy scouts would set up a table with some of the very impressive projects they've worked on on display, and simply ask folks "would you like to support Scouting today?" I think that would also help to attract young boys who don't really know what the scouts do these days to possibly join up. What do you think?

Posted by anon, a resident of Barron Park,
on Feb 20, 2015 at 4:03 pm

I didn't want to elaborate on my own rejection of the cookie sales, but perhaps I can shed some light as a former GS troop leader who tried to challenge this program from within. I will warn you Max, it is going to be a steep uphill battle. Cookies are as ingrained in the GS culture as s'mores and sit-upons.

To be fair, no troop or individual girl scout is required to sell cookies to be a part of the organization, but most troops opt in at some level because it is a lucrative and well-oiled fundraising vehicle. It's simply an easy option for busy Moms who don't have the time, know-how, or seed money to start a fundraiser from scratch. Also, the local council has to approve alternate fundraisers, and will reject them if they conflict with cookie sales or the fall candy and nut sales. People should be aware that the cookie campaign also has a tiered reward system for the girls, which is based on individual sales. The prizes run from cheap plastic trinkets to a trip to Disneyland. This actually sends more mixed messages to girls than the sugar issue.

As said, the Girl Scouts aren't the only youth group peddling sugar out there. Sports teams sell candy bars door to door and all forms of junk food at their games and meets. Talk about a mixed message! The bake sale is still widely used as a fundraiser for youth programs, and even by youth groups trying to raise money for worthy charities. I agree, change is needed, but it is going to take more than a blog, our comments, and a handful of boycotters to rid our culture from the cookie/bake sale tradition. It is a start.

Posted by Johnny, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 20, 2015 at 7:13 pm



"They tempt them with trips to Disneyland." Max stood in front of the rabid crowd, speaking into a megaphone. "They use our little girls as peddlers. As SHILLS! Brainwashed by malign corporate puppetmasters!"

A mother stepped forth from the rabble and pulled an opened box of Girl Scout cookies out of her reusable cloth bag.

"Never again! Never again will I allow MY child to be poisoned!" She screamed, with tears streaming down her face, before tossing the box of Caramel deLites onto the mountain-sized pile of cookies and other sweets.

Max lowered the torch down towards the massive heap of accursed sugar products. Reflected flames gleamed in his eyes as the conflagration rapidly grew.

"And now, we will march!" Said Max. "We will snuff unhealthy foods from the cafeterias; off of store shelves; and out of cupboards! We shall join together to become a 100 PERCENT HEALTHY GREEN CLEAN AIR SOCIETY.
We will bring Corporate Sugar to its knees! We will put the evil greedy businessmen behind bars, and the BILL on the PRESIDENT's desk to criminalize the consumption of sweets... forever!!!"

The crowd exploded and raised their torches and banners.
They rampaged through town to begin the Purge.

***Next on the agenda: The Halloween Candy Scourge. We must urge our kids to STOP trick-or-treating and stay indoors where they are SAFE!!!
No night exposes our vulnerable youth to such ungodly amounts of candy cane, Snickers bars and M&M's! They are destroying their fragile tender bodies and shortening their lifespan! Our youth are being exploited! It is time to put an end to Halloween!***

Posted by TroopLeader, a resident of Midtown,
on Feb 20, 2015 at 8:05 pm

That is precisely what I meant by "be honest" - say "no thank you" to the girls and move on. Don't offer any explanations as to why you don't want to buy. Its a personal decision.

Like with any other food item, be judicious .. practice moderation.

Posted by Max Greenberg, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 20, 2015 at 9:03 pm

Max Greenberg is a registered user.

JOHNNY: Thanks for the tip on the motivating trip to Disneyland prize. And ANON, for the heads up on the Fall candy and nut sales which I wasn't aware of either. Johnny, your prose was very humorous and hit on many of the points I was trying to make and we have all been discussing, so thanks for your work there. And TroopLeader, I still can't seem to grasp what you have been precisely trying to say. This is what it sounds like to me: Rather than being honest (as you suggest we be), you are promoting Harmony over Truth. By saying "no thank you" we keep the peace. By offering our explanation (a little bit of truth) we would break the false harmony. So if that's your point, just say it: Be polite, don't say what the real reason is for not buying the cookies, and just move on. I'm fine with that. Each person approach it in their own way. And please don't scare the kids or make them feel bad. They are only trying to raise money for the scouts, and maybe win some trinkets or for one lucky salesperson, the ultimate trip. I didn't plan to be the leader of the anti-cookie movement, so someone please take it over.

Posted by Jojo, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Feb 20, 2015 at 10:20 pm

I'm sure if the girl scouts just asked for plain money donations they would get more sales. And more money :-)

Posted by parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School,
on Feb 22, 2015 at 1:10 am

There might be an important experience missed if we don't tell the girls why we are not buying. Sugar behaves a lot like alcohol in our bodies.
It might be a good experience for them to speak up to their corporate masters. Many of us who work in the corporate world know the problem of speaking up when improper or bad things are done.
The girls might learn from speaking up when they believe their overlords are doing wrong. At least they can convey the public response.

Posted by Joseph Argenio, a resident of Stanford,
on Feb 18, 2016 at 11:02 am

Communist! How dare you dampen the effort to teach girls about the benefits of good old fashioned capitalism, marketing and FDA loopholes! These girls are learning how to navigate on the consumer culture, suspend pesky morality arguments and bend the truth -- all valuable skills in our land of plenty.

Posted by Girl Scout, a resident of Palo Alto High School,
on Feb 3, 2017 at 5:03 pm

"Turns out you can opt out, though the Girl Scout website makes you feel like a loser for even considering such a thing."

I just want to point out that although "opting out" is possible, in order to fundraise by any other means, troops must sell a minimum number of products (either cookies or fall nut/candy sales) per girl - any troop that wants to do any projects involving money coming from anywhere but the pockets of its members and their parents are, in fact, required to sell.

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Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 30 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away almost $10 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.