Wal-Mart Knocks Off the Girl Scouts

by cv harquail on August 3, 2009

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Just when you think your opinion about Wal-mart might be changing…
Just when you think that maybe, just maybe, Wal-mart was learning to be a better citizen…

Wal-mart turns around and does something really … despicable.

It’s not discriminating against women, strong-arming suppliers, polluting neighborhoods or racing to the bottom of the China Price. No, this time it’s closer to home, and in my case, really close to home. This time…

Wal-Mart is knocking off the Girl Scouts.

img_0744pepOf course, you know the Girl Scouts, those enthusiastic girls organized into local troops, learning about leadership and being resourceful? Those sweet girls raising money selling Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Does and Samoas?

What could Wal-mart possibly do to harm Girl Scouts?

Wal-mart has copied the Girl Scouts’ two best selling cookie types, Thin Mints and Tagalongs.

Wal-mart is selling Fake Girl Scout Cookies.

Wal-mart has fake Girl Scout cookies in ‘beta’ distribution, on their way to a national rollout. Because the cookies are ‘reasonable facsimiles’ of the authentic Girl Scout cookies (I sampled them myself at BlogHer ’09 last week) and are being sold at an everyday low price, these cookies are poised to snatch cookie sales right out of the hands of the Girl Scouts themselves.

200908030215.jpg

Thin Mints Cookies pay for Girl Scouting

Every cookie fan in the US knows that the Girl Scouts in the USA make all of the money to run their organization from their annual cookie sales. You might not know that Thin Mints, the most popular flavor, account for 25% of the Girl Scouts’ sales. Said another way, those Thin Mint cookies account for 25% of the Girl Scouts’ cookie income.

Girl Scout Cookies are a little pricier than your average cookie, but they’re worth it. The Girl Scouts are especially desirable because the cookies are (1) unique and (2) rare.

  • Only the Girl Scouts sell those minty-chocolate-discs-from-heaven known as Thin Mints.
  • The Girl Scouts sell these cookies only for a short time, once each year.

The cookies are so exclusively available, there’s even a website to help you anticipate when you can buy them in your region.200908030223.jpg

The exclusivity of Girl Scout cookies is what makes the cookies really sell. But now, Wal-mart is shoving itself in front of these little girls, and knocking on your door to sell you their almost-as-good fake Thin Mints and Fake Tagalongs, whenever you want them.

There goes the Girl Scouts’ exclusivity. There goes the Girl Scout cookies’ special allure, and there go the profits that fund the Girl Scouts’ programs.

I think it’s interesting that, up until now, no national cookie manufacturer/retailer has seen fit to approximate the Thin Mint or the Tagalong. For whatever reason, they’ve steered clear of the Girl Scouts’ special cookies. But not Wal-mart. [note: As mentioned in comments, there are other thin mint-chocolate wafer cookies on the market. However, no imitation Tagalongs have been spotted. 8.4.09 2:00pm]

The fact that Wal-mart has seen fit to knock off the Girl Scouts and threaten the Girl Scouts’ ability to fund their programs makes me wonder just how much- or how little- Wal-mart really cares about the communities where its stores are located. Am I suggesting that Wal-mart’s brand managers set out to steal the market from the Girl Scouts? No. I’m asking why these Wal-mart managers did not think more about the potential civic impact of their choices.

  • Did anyone at Wal-mart think twice about knocking off the Girl Scouts’ best sellers?
  • Did anyone at Wal-mart think about whether or not it was appropriate to compete against a non-profit, that supports children’s programs?

Personal Disclosure

I take these fake cookies, this threat to the Girl Scouts by Wal-mart, quite personally. For several years, I was the Cookie Mom for my daughters’ troop, teaching the girls how to set goals, budget their time and money, and work together to sell cookies. I’ve seen the girls’ excitement when it’s time to sell, and their pride when they get to deliver the cookies. And, I’ve slept in the damp tent on the camping trips that the cookie proceeds paid for. So yeah, this one really hits home.

Wal-mart can sell all the hunting equipment, cheap plastic gizmos and clothes made in sweatshops that it wants to sell. But why must they encroach upon the market of a non-profit? Why do they have to go after the Girl Scouts?

Authenticity in all directions?

When it comes to assessing whether an organization is authentic, whether it is trying to grow into something more or better, it is important to look at the organization’s actions in that area. We should be looking at Wal-mart’s sustainability efforts and encourage them when these efforts seem to demonstrate that Wal-mart is keeping its promises. But also, we should look at the organization’s behavior around the fringes, because it is this behavior that clues us in to whether Wal-mart’s change effort is real, or whether the change effort is fake.

Funny, the product line of the cookies is called “Great Value.” It begs the question, are Wal-mart’s purportedly improved values any less fake than their pseudoThinMints?

What kind of “Great Value” do these cookies actually represent?

[Follow up: Please note that the Girl Scouts had nothing to do with this post. It is not the Girl Scouts who are "crying wolf" or claiming to be targeted. I, the author, am raising the question of how and to what degree for profit companies like Wal-mart should compete with non-profits in the non-profits' fundraising arena. Please keep this in mind as you comment. Thanks. 8.05.09]

[ I have closed the comments, because they have reached theoretical saturation. Please read the comments here- it's likely you'll find something close to what you'd like to share.]

Comments back open. Please be thoughtful and add to the conversation.

{ 327 comments }

Joseph Logan August 3, 2009 at 6:29 am

I must confess–I’ve occasionally felt that the Girl Scouts were shaking me down with the cookies, but I’ve never regretted the tasty goodness of the product. Would I go to Wal-Mart to save a few cents on their cookies? Hell no. It would feel to me like beating up a little girl. Thoroughly uncouth.

That said, would we feel the same way if Wal-Mart started knocking off the plastic flashlights sold to support Friends for Preservation of Historic Overton Park? T-shirts for the Franklin Park Zoo? Frozen fish sticks for the Ward 8 Drug Prevention Council? At what point is a business morally enjoined from selling a product that a charity uses as its primary source of funding.

I still think it’s a really crappy thing to do. I’m just curious about why I think that.

Stacy August 3, 2009 at 11:23 am

I’m a Girl Scout leader and council trainer. Just wanted to point out the Girl Scouts is not just a “grammar school” organization. We are for all girls to age 18, and the more that word gets out, the better it goes for us. We have a huge dropout in middle school but because of the girls, not because we don’t cater to them.

Also, Keebler has had a fudge mint cookie for years. It’s what we eat in the “off season”! :)

Buying Girl Scout cookies is not about the cookies – I *hope* most people realize that when they buy from us!

CV Harquail August 3, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Hi Stacy–

You’re so right to highlight that GirlScouting goes all the way up to 18– and beyond, if you become a leader/volunteer.

IMHO, the Keebler cookie doesn’t count as a real knock off, mostly because it’s just not that good. It really doesn’t come close to an authentic thin mint, unless you are desperate (as we often are, counting down to the GS cookie sale).

The problem with the Wal-mart cookies is that they are pretty good… nice minty crunch in the cookie, thick layer of chocolate that you can scrape off with your front teeth and that won’t dissolve in your milk… The Wal-mart cookie, unlike the Keebler cookie, is ‘substitutable’ for the authentic Thin Mint, and that’s what makes this a competitive strategy problem for the GS….

True, it isn’t only about the cookies… but research in marketing &strategy suggests that the ‘added value’ of being a fundraising product won’t help the GS for long. Consumers are generally reluctant to continue to pay more for that ‘added value’, esp. when the two products are not together on the shelves, giving them an explicit choice they can act on in that moment.
cv

Kris August 3, 2009 at 1:33 pm

First thing, let’s be honest. You’re trying to make the Girl Scouts Association seem all innocent, but you know good and damn well how to market your product by using those little girls. You’re trying to bring out people’s guilt- if they don’t buy these cookies, then they’re going to disappoint a little girl, and no one wants to do that right? Far different from not giving change to a bum.

Having said that, Wal-Mart needs to be blown off the face of the earth for trying to take money away from a non-profit organization. With the exception of people who couldn’t afford the cookies anyway and low-class people whose propensity for value overweighs their sense of ethics and taste, I don’t think these cookies are going to sell very well. Girl Scout cookies are a tradition, and you don’t f*** with tradition, especially in this country.

CV Harquail August 3, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Hi Kris — I appreciate your cynicism about the Girl Scouts… It can be hard to remember that by far the main folks who benefit from the cookie sales are the Scouts themselves. The bakers make some money, yes, but there are no stockholders behind those girls in uniform. It would be exploitation if other people were using the girls to sell product (see Hooters) but it is not exploitation when they girls sell the cookies themselves, for themselves.

I hope it is the case, as you and other commenters mention, that the value of supporting the Girls Scouts keeps sales strong, and that the Wal-mart brand doesn’t eat in to the Girl Scouts’ fundraising efforts. Let’s keep an eye on it and see what transpires. cv

KLTD January 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I wish it was the girls making the majority of the money from the cookie sales! As it stands now cookies are $4.00 a box and these poor girls get a whole .60 cents a box….. WHO GETS THE REST? The organization… but do they help the troops do anything with that money? NO! Instead they must pay for every individual thing they need or want to do! Its sad for those girls!

Jeff August 3, 2009 at 2:05 pm

False! http://www2.kelloggs.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?product=1124
I’ve had the grasshopper cookies before and they are equivalent to thin mints.

CV Harquail August 3, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Jeff, I’ll have to go try these again (Fun market research!) b/c I remember them as being more waxy than chocolatey.

If it turns out that the Keebler cookies are actually good enough to tempt a Girl Scout cookie mom, then I’ll write a post pitting those dang elves against the Brownies.

We have to watch out for those sprites, faeries and little people. They can totally mess with capitalism.

Mike August 3, 2009 at 2:53 pm

In a society based upon free market capitalism, this might be a good thing for both parties. After all, this will only affect those that buy the cookies because they want cookies – the people who will support the Girl Scouts will do so no matter what Wal Mart chooses to sell. In that case, it positions Girl Scout Cookies to be a premium product that people will pay more for.

From your post:
“The exclusivity of Girl Scout cookies is what makes the cookies really sell. But now, Wal-mart is shoving itself in front of these little girls, and knocking on your door to sell you their almost-as-good fake Thin Mints and Fake Tagalongs, whenever you want them.”

This is where your argument becomes very weak. If you think distribution exclusivity is the only barrier to entry for your competition in the cookie business, I think you’ve oversimplified the organization’s role and brand strength in selling the cookies.

Wal Mart will never be true competition for your local Girl Scout troop by selling these cookies.

CV Harquail August 3, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Mike, I hope you are right that the Wal-mart cookies will not be real competition. I don’t think that the GS are necessarily savvy marketers, and it’s unclear whether their brand strength is enough to service the ‘value pricing’ of a reasonable substitute product.

Still, that doesn’t take away from the problem of Wal-mart crowding the Girl Scouts out of the market that the Girls Scouts built. Note that this is the ‘typical’ Wal-mart strategic dynamic; it is just business as usual for Wal-mart.

Also, there is no reason to expect that ‘free market capitalism’ can or should work well for non-profits. This is something, I think, that Joe Logan was referring to in the first comment about why Wal-mart’s behavior seems wrong. No bunch of volunteers and/or poorly paid non-profit managers can or should focus their energies to beat Wal-mart. Their job is to create and support the Scouting program. The whole cookie thing is an add on in service of the mission, not the mission itself. However, Wal-mart has no such service imperative– yet another reason why it’s not a fair fight.

androstarr August 3, 2009 at 3:21 pm

I guess I will be the only one excited about these new cookies. I can not support the Girl Scouts of America because of the organization’s discriminatory practices, but I love the cookies.

CV Harquail August 3, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Discriminatory practices? Are you confusing the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts? The Girl Scouts are AFAIK, GLBTQ-friendly/inclusive. Tell me more…. cv

Mike August 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Considering we’re talking about the market for people who buy cookies,
“… the problem of Wal-mart crowding the Girl Scouts out of the market that the Girls Scouts built” is not based on fact. The market for those willing to buy a premium product going toward a good cause will never be a target for Wal-Mart.

Again, as a marketer, I don’t even see Wal-Mart as ever being a Girl Scout competitor – it would never make sense to define the market that way.

Wal-Mart certainly has its faults but to portray them as intentionally trying to screw over the Girl Scouts because they’re offering a similar generic cookie seems disingenuous.

emjaybee August 3, 2009 at 5:29 pm

You know, I was a Girl Scout, and I loved it, but I really really hated selling cookies. And it seemed to take up a huge chunk of our year. It was part of the reason I dropped out; I couldn’t face another season of selling a measly 15 boxes and hating every second of knocking on doors or bugging my mom to bug her co-workers. It might be a good idea for the organization to branch out into other ways of fund raising that don’t rely on unpaid child labor (and selling sugar) quite so much.

Rich August 3, 2009 at 7:35 pm

I think the Girl Scouts crossed this line first when they started to license their cookies out to things like Ice Cream. It becomes more than a fund raiser at that point. They went from a product sold by girls as teaching tool to a brand they are willing to license to other businesses.

Tracy M - formerly of Troop 617 August 3, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Androstarr: Don’t mix up the Girl Scouts with the Boy Scouts! Those are two different organizations! Girl Scouts are inclusive in many ways including sexual orientation. They’ve been criticized for allowing troops to include “Allah” or other names for “God” in the pledge or to leave that out entirely. And they reach girls in difficult circumstances: they also have troops in Juvenile Detention centers and special projects for girls and their incarcerated moms.

I’m disappointed to see people talking about cookie sales as if it’s a mean spirited operation trying to bilk people out of money. Sheesh! It’s not like execs get a bonus if Susie in Minneapolis sells more Thin Mints. And the ice cream crossover was a smart one, if you ask me. This is hardly the only nonprofit venturing into cause-related marketing. Fundraising needs and styles are changing, and I’m glad that GSUSA is adjusting to a changing world. The Boy Scouts, unfortunately, are lagging way behind, discrimination and all.

yume August 3, 2009 at 11:36 pm

I was denied admission into the girl scouts because the troop leaders said I “wouldn’t fit in.” My mother an I took this above their heads but we were told it was up to the troop leaders to let me in or not, but they would have a talk with them anyway. I was allowed in on a trial basis and the troop leader stole my pants and underwear while I was changing. All of the girls but my close friends laughed.

Long story short, that troop was broken apart, but the other troops could absorb some of the members. My friends stood up for me and said they wouldn’t be a part of it, but it was still horrible. I’ve had a few other people tell me similar stories. It just shows you that the girl scouts are not above the darker side of human nature. All of the troops in my local area do not allow anyone that does not prey with them, or have any other oddity. One of my friends tried to join before me and was told her leg being misshapen would cause problems. The girl scouts are not perfect.

If you’re surprised that Walmart is doing this, then you’ve had your head in the dirt for a while. I’ve had several thin mint knockoffs and they taste the same. As if the girl scouts are the only ones who ever thought to put chocolate and mint in a crunchy cookie. Yes, you can make the argument that it’s just pure capitalism, but that’s what this country thrives on.

People who buy girl scout cookies will continue to buy them just because they have the name ‘girl scout’ on them. Most of the cause related goods I’ve bought were for the cause, the product is secondary. I’ve done plenty of fund-raising for travel expenses to go to nationals for my sport and the products I sold were actually pretty crappy, but people still bought them.

I will say it is ironic though, the only place in my area that I’ve seen girls selling cookies is in front of the local Walmart.

CV Harquail August 4, 2009 at 9:50 am

Yume, I’m sorry that you had a bad experience with GS. Sounds like you had a crummy group that didn’t really get what Scouting is all about. There’s no love lost between me and Walmart– but I was surprised by this move, since Walmart (imho) should be more careful than the average behemoth in what strategic choices they make.

ana January 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about this happening to you. I totally understand how these events have made Girl Scouts a monster like thing to you and as a leader myself (without a scouting past). I have never turned away any girl, for any reason. I know that it doesn’t help you but while in the area you live/d in it was ok; it’s not ok where I’m at. I would have fought for you and your right to be in a troop. Just like you said it was a “darker side of human nature.” Not of Girl Scouts.

FYI to all… my troop has a booth this year in front of walmart. we didn’t even see to think if it as a competition. We sold out last year of thin mints & tagalongs and will most likely sell out again.

Johnnycakes August 4, 2009 at 2:34 am

There ARE approximations of these cookies out there, and by large and well-known companies. Keebler alone makes two of them, Fudge Shoppe Grasshopper and Peanut Butter Filled, which are basically carbon copies. Reese’s have also had a similar cookie out (in addition to York and other varieties) in the same vein. So where is the outrage against these brands and companies? Wal-Mart is a very convenient scapegoat, but it’s not the right one for this.

CV Harquail August 4, 2009 at 9:56 am

Okay Johnnycakes – Should we assume from both your handle and your comment that you are a cookie connoisseur? You clearly know more about the varieties of packaged cookies than I do– who knew that there were several knockoffs?
I think that what struck me with these cookies (beyond the fact that I was actually made aware that they existed by having been given samples) is that they *look very much like the GS cookies and they *taste very much like the GS cookies- there was no effort to make them distinctive in any way but price. Again, that’s Walmart’s main product strategy.
The big picture that is emerging though, is the question of whether for-profit behemoths like Wal-mart should go after products/markets dominated by non-profits. [It's not like there aren't 10,000 other package goods in your average grocery store that Wal-Mart could knock off instead...]
What do you think the (competitive) relationship should be between non-profits and for-profits, if there should be one at all?

mom101 August 4, 2009 at 9:08 am

Just wanted to raise my fist in support. I think this stinks 100 ways. Knock-offs are destroying small businesses in so many categories, and it’s so disheartening to hear it’s not just threatening designers, but now one of our nation’s greatest not-for-profits.

I had no interest in hitting the Wal-Mart booth at BlogHer myself so I’m glad to hear someone else was in there that hasn’t drunk the everyday low prices Kool-Aid.

CV Harquail August 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

Mom101- I did hear a story at BlogHer about a Tshirt designer (on Etsy maybe) who walked into a Target and came face to face with a Tshirt she’d designed and they’d knocked off… another data point that raises the question of whether business could/should use any other reason besides “hey, we can make a buck” when they consider new products, designs, lines, etc. This conversation is really unfolding some interesting questions… so thanks for your support.

Jen August 4, 2009 at 9:38 am

Your outrage seems completely misplaced. The Girl Scouts hardly invent peanut butter or mint and chocolate cookies, and they are available in many forms. I get so tired of people blaming Walmart when they can’t think of anyone else to blame.

Fail. Try again, please.

Stacy August 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

Yume, sorry, but you cannot blame the organization itself for the lack of morals of a very small number of their volunteers. The organization, as a whole, is solid. Any organization has bad apples. It is unfortunate, but reality. That yume and company did not seek out a different troop is unfortunate also. But you cannot paint the whole organization as bad when you’ve had one experience with one possibly misguided *volunteer* leader. Also remember that the Girl Scout organization is open to all girls – that does not translate to every troop has to take every girl. There are a lot of troops, and a lot of different pathways to be involved with Girl Scouts. There are definitely some not-so-good fits when it comes to troop placement – and ideally, the leaders have good cause for denying a spot to a girl and referring her elsewhere. Remember that these leaders do a lot and take a lot of guff, because they choose to try and do a good thing for girls – and to strong-arm your way into a troop will probably not put you in the best of light with them anyway.

As to the Boy Scouts, it is a good organization too. Many organizations limit their membership to a certain focused group. Girl Scouts if for girls, Job’s Daughters is for girls with masonic lineage, DeMolay is for boys of masonic lineage, American Heritage Girls is a scouting organization for Christian girls, NBCDI for African American children, ASPIRA serves Latino youth, etc. etc. I can Google all day and find examples. *Most* groups discriminate and so what? Not every organization has to be all-inclusive, one size fits all. I would not join a fly-fishing group and expect them to include my love of knitting and say they are discriminating if they do not. That is absurd.

Finally, do not fear – Girl Scouts is in no danger from the Walmart brand. People who buy Girl Scout cookies do so to support the organization, not really because of the cookies. We all know it, and it’s fine by me. The only downside is the commentary we will get from crotchety people at our cookie booths about the price of the cookies vs. Walmart’s – but we get those already.

I do agree that Girl Scouts needs to find more creative ways to earn money other than cookies. It’s been a tough year for councils nationwide due to cookie sales being down everywhere. But Girl Scout cookies were never meant to support councils – they were originally baked by the girls themselves and done as a fundraiser at the troop level for troop functions. I can see why some consider it “child labor” and indeed, I would like to see the girls get a bigger chunk. On the other hand, please know that cookie sales are voluntary for every girl – they are not required to do it. As is the case in my troop of older girls, they can sell cookies and have their events paid for, or the parents can opt to pay cash for the events we attend and nix cookie sales. They do have a choice.

Kate August 4, 2009 at 10:03 am

Just because Walmart decides to sell a knock-off doesn’t mean people with completely switch over and buy them. Have girl scouts thought of selling them exclusively in a few stores? That way they aren’t everywhere and girls can still be benefiting. It would be nice to have them all year round, especially when there aren’t any girl scouts in my neighborhood.

Ray August 4, 2009 at 10:06 am

All for supporting kids activities! Last time I checked, though, only $.25-30 of that box of cookies were going to the local girls. All the rest was going to the Girl Scout organizational “machine.”

While they are delicious, I opt to give the girls a cash donation. That way it stays local.

Anonymous August 4, 2009 at 11:19 am

actually other companies have produced similar cookies to that of the girlscouts such as the thin-mint style.

Andi @udandi August 4, 2009 at 11:27 am

A big grocer out of Cincinnati has (or used to have) private label cookies that taste very much like Girl Scout cookies.

Almost every crafter I know can tell a story of seeing something she’s been handmaking for years (something she learned from another crafter, no doubt) turn up at a mass market retailer.

:| August 4, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Personally, I think all the girl scout cookies are gross and unreasonably priced. I also only see them sell in front of Walmart. And usually, the girls are just sitting there, while the parents try to sell the cookies. And I’m not talking about just one group of them either, I’ve seen groups of them outside of at least four separate Walmarts. No girls come to my house or any house near mine to sell cookies, their parents drive them 30 minutes away to the nearest Walmart. I would have no problem giving a cash donation if I had some extra money and they showed up at my house, but they don’t sell to the people in their own town, so I don’t bother donating to them outside of Walmart.

As several others have pointed out, Walmart is not the first to make “copy-cats” of girl scout cookies so as for them being “rare” and “unique,” I’d have to disagree. The only thing that makes them different from other versions is the price and the girl scout label. Girl scouts didn’t invent the cookies either so I suppose whoever originally crafted the cookies could claim the girl scouts are making knock-offs, if they really wanted to do so.

Perhaps, the girl scouts should lower their prices or sell to their local neighborhood or branch out to other things to sell. My town has several events where they could sell the cookies, there’s an expo in the spring at the civic center and then we have a festival every fall around Labor Day, which draws in people from many of the surrounding counties, there are local football games in the fall and baseball games during the spring and summer, etc. Do the scouts choose to sell at any of these? No. Where do they go? Walmart. Another thing to consider is that more people are becoming aware of what they are eating and how healthy it is, as well as how much things cost.

While it may not be “right” for Walmart to do that in your eyes, you can’t attack them like they’re the only ones with a version of the cookie. If people really want to support their local troop, they’ll do it regardless of the other brands of cookies.

The local academy for performing arts does better to raise money than the local girl scouts. They offer dinner and a show for like 5 or 10 dollars several times throughout the year at the civic center and you know what? That place is packed each time. The local little league baseball and teeball teams sell candy bars for a dollar to raise money for their uniforms and they sell them to people in town, they don’t go 30 miles away to sell. Maybe if the girl scouts tried something more along that line, they wouldn’t have such a problem raising money for all their functions. Why do they need so many functions anyways? Why can’t they just order pizza or whatever and camp in someone’s backyard?

I really don’t think Walmart is personally trying to attack girl scouts, as you make it sound. Perhaps the problem lies more in what and how the girl scouts are selling, than other brands making similar versions of so-called “girl scout” cookies.

Marie August 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Stacy,

To liken knitting to one’s sexual orientation is not comparing apples to apples. One does not have a choice, as research is consistently proving, regarding sexual orientation. To say that it is right and fair for an organization to exclude a boy or leader from participating in the organization and the values that Boy Scouts strives to teach (supposedly) is to say that it would be fair for them to exclude those of other races, religious backgrounds, etc. By taking part in the exclusion, for me at least, the Boy Scouts are doing nothing but perpetuating the legacy of stigma and shame for those of the GLBT community.

Sorry to hijack the post on something unrelated, but I could not let that one pass.

CV Harquail August 4, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Marie & Stacy, you might want to check out some of the other posts here on diversity and organizations, some of which address discrimination and its opposite, inclusion. Marie, I’m clearly proLGBTQ, so your correction is fine by me.
Not to go in a completely different direction, let me mention that several times in the conversation here and on AdAge, etc. folks have confused the Girl Scouts’ membership policies with those of the Boy Scouts. The policies are not the same, not even similar, but the BS & GS as well as Jack&Jill and other kids service-leadership programs often get lumped together for criticism and applause. They differ in important ways, not only by the gender or ethnicity of the communities they serve, but also by the communities they include. Another reason to applaud the Girl Scouts, I think.

Anonymous October 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Lost my vote on the cookies… used to think GS was an upright organization, but I’m not into promoting same-sex relationships. And by the way, there is only one God and only one correct relationship as described in the Bible. Just because enough people rally around to say something is right, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is. God detests homosexuality so I’m sure He wouldn’t create homosexuals. It goes against His nature. I’m not for condemning the individual but not about to support wrong choices either.

Anonymous October 13, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Tolerance and acceptance =/= promotion. If the boxes of cookies each said “YAY for gay!” or some such, that might be a valid argument.

Andrew August 4, 2009 at 2:33 pm

CV,

I am a Capitalist and Free Enterpriser but times are tough enough for Charities and Non Profits in these tough economic times without having the Worlds Largest Retailer “taking candy (in this case cookies) from a baby!

Best of luck (btw, thin mints are my favorite and I promise to not buy them from “the other guy”)

Andrew

Crystal August 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Why should ripping off cookies ever bother Wal-Mart? They rip off the employees that work there by cutting their hours, refusing to make anyone full time, and scheduling part-time workers to work six days straight in a row for 32 hours or less. I know that the economy is bad and if you have a job you should just be grateful but why is Wal-Mart allowed to take advantage of that? Gas prices haven’t got much lower and if you live a fair distance you’re not making any money. Though many people work there with no where else to go because there are NO jobs. They hang the incentive bonus over the employee’s heads like a taunting older child forcing the younger one to jump for it then rips it back just as its in grasp. Cookies–Wal-Mart employees just wish they could afford cookies.

Jenn August 4, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Yume — I’m sad you’ve had this experience with GS. At 23, I’m a lifetime member (an expensive gift given to me for my high school graduation from my troop leader, who had no daughters of her own), and it was not always easy growing up.

There are some mean-spirited volunteers out there, leading the troops. When I hit high school, my best friend and I forced our moms to become “leaders” simply so that we did not have to put up with a real b—-h of a woman any longer. For some reason, she thought we were out to get her and was constantly berating us and accusing us of things we didn’t do…and all our joint cookie money (the stuff you earn from the stands in front of stores is split among those that are there) went into her daughter’s account. The worst part is, there was no way to report her; she was in good with the overseers in our area. I understand why you were blocked from that end. It’s hard being the person complaining about one of THEIR friends.

On paper, our moms led the new troop, but honestly, it was just me and my 3 best friends hanging out and earning badges and gathering information on stuff WE wanted to do. It was the best time of my life. Eventually, my mom heard of this other woman through the GS grapevine who was looking to lead a troop, because her last one had all graduated from high school. We were very lucky that our moms were able to put up with us for a year :P

April was THE best leader I could’ve ever imagined. I was very glad that I didn’t let my bad experience with the other leader keep me from continuing in GS. My only advice to you, should you choose to try again, or have a daughter interested in joining, is to make your own troop. The fit is always better if you’re friends with the people you’re hanging out with all the time. If you don’t personally have time to lead a troop, talk to your friends with daughters, see if you can split up the responsibilities of a leader, the way our moms did.

NEVER let ANYONE tell you what you can and can’t do.

Matt August 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Can you explain the 25% profit thing. I’m not grasping it.

Sam August 4, 2009 at 4:18 pm

I posed this question in another discussion thread regarding this blog entry / situation and feel it should be addressed here as well:

Wal-Mart isn’t the first (and won’t be the last) company / retailer to replicate a “thin mint” cookie recipe. Despite this, many seem to direct all anger and hostility towards them. If this was any other company or retailer, would they in turn be attacked with such veracity? To be honest, I don’t think so.

CV, earlier you wrote:

“IMHO, the Keebler cookie doesn’t count as a real knock off, mostly because it’s just not that good..”

OK, so if the Wal-Mart cookie was terrible not only would it not gain as much attention from the Girl Scouting community, in your mind it technically wouldn’t be considered a knock-off due to it simply being “just not that good”.

The thin mint recipe isn’t unique to the Girl Scouts, and unless there is yet to be published advertising material that would suggest Wal-Mart is trying to market their product as a Girl Scout alternative, therefore they should have already predicted at some point down the road the product would find itself in retailers nationwide – oh wait, that already happened.

Let’s face facts here; Wal-Mart is an easy target. Instead of spitting your venom at companies that produce the Keebler cookies – which would garner very little support, attention – you go after a giant retailer that already walks on eggshells with all sorts of advocacy groups for a multitude of reasons.

Take the move by Wal-Mart to sell thin mint cookies as an opportunity, rather than an outrage. It should be an opportunity to distinguish the “brand” away from the cookie itself – the purpose, the mission – and allow people to vote with their wallets. Supporters of the Girl Scouts will continue to support them as they are fiscally able to. People that bought the cookies just to have the cookies will now have a new avenue to purchase them from.

Naj August 4, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Matt,

As a new “cookie mom” I too was not able to quite grasp the low profit margins for the troops. A good portion of the sales profits per box does not go to support the local troop – it does go to support the district or regional Girl Scouts though, and the state and national Girl Scouts as well. My troop really enjoyed the Girl Scouts their first year, but I must say that the people who purchased cookies for us were interested in the COOKIES, not the scouts. However, we sold our cookies in our nieghborhoods, at Goodwill, and at mom and aunties’ jobs – not at Wal-Mart!

Jenn- I second your very well-stated commentary!!!

Anonymous August 4, 2009 at 4:59 pm

So I can get thin mints whenever I want?

Hawt. I’m so going with Wal-Mart on this. And, Sam, well said.

Chris August 4, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Am I to believe that there are people at Walmart who sit in a room and conspire on how they can take over the girl scout cookie business? Do they have a picture of a girl in her girl scout uniform with her cookies in hand and the words “target” above it? Do the discussions at the table sound something like, “Today we are going to take over the girl scout business. They’ve sold too many cookies for too long. It’s time to take them down! muahahahah!”.

The only kind of people that could possibly work at Walmart are souless human beings who want to take over the world by crushing one non profit organization at a time. They couldn’t possibily have children or go to church. There’s no way that they come to work everyday motivated by the idea that they work to save people money so that they can live better…there definitely couldn’t be anybody like that working at walmart right? I mean with almost 2 million people working for Walmart…they have all got to be down right rotten human beings. Forget prisons…let’s just put all Walmart employees in the prison system instead.

C’mon CV Harquail…were you struggling for a blog? Or are you serious about this?

Ed August 4, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Let me try to paraphrase Sam’s thoughtful post:


People already hate Wal-mart, so why are people complaining about Wal-mart, which they already hate, when I don’t think they would complain about other companies which they do not already hate?

So far nobody seems to complain about similar but inferior cookies that are not sold by the largest retailer on earth. Why complain now, when the largest retailer on earth sells the exact same cookie all year round at a discount? Did I mention everyone already hates that retailer? Also, puppies and unicorns.

At least that’s how your post read to me, Sam. Frankly, I don’t care for Thin Mints, but I do buy some “Operation Thin Mint” boxes for our troops when cookie time comes around, so the outrage and the outrage about the outrage is little more than amusement to me.

Mike August 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Ed, thank you for your support of Operation Thin Mint (donations accepted year-round).

I, like many others on this blog, feel that the Girl Scout cookies will still be bought because it’s more about supporting the girls than the actual cookies. I can buy chocolate mint cookies anytime of year at any store for way less, but that doesn’t mean I won’t buy Girl Scout Cookies when the time comes.

There has to be a balance between the price and value received. Girl Scouts, as an earlier posted said, should take this as an opportunity – an opportunity to explain what the higher priced cookies do to support girl in our community, to explain how Girl Scouts help build girls of courage, confidence, and character.

Let Wal-Mart be. You don’t see boy scouts getting enraged that other people sell caramel corn, do you? Fundraising groups sell products at a higher than retail value to make money – that’s the entire concept! There are always cheaper alternatives. Keep people focused on what they’re supporting and you won’t lose the sales – but if you keep pointing attention to the price, sales will drop.

paula August 4, 2009 at 7:16 pm

why does Wal Mart not surprise me. People need to wake up…….. going after the Girl Scouts? They have no morals which is the reason i have not even cut through one of their parking lots in 25 years. They are evil and greedy and they will be the reason this country goes bankrupt!!!

Girl Scout Supporter August 4, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Just so you know…GS troops are getting $.50 – $.70 per box at out GS Council. These girls are not only learning valuable life skills, they are having fun too! Teaching them that they have to earn $$ and save for the goals that they set is a good thing.

Scouter at heart August 4, 2009 at 9:38 pm

It is not uncommon for a marketer or retailer to knock-off a leading brand in a large market like Cookies (Keebler and Nabisco). Or they may private label a product if they can come up with one that has sales potential and not been marketed to stardom.

Wal-Mart rely’s heavily on statistical data like IRI and Nielsen data, as well as recommendations from manufacturers to determine potential market sizes and sales of a PL product. If data dosen’t consider GS cookie consumption, then where did the data come from? I don’t have the market numbers, but it would be interesting. I doubt Keebler or Hershey sell enough Grasshoppers or York cookies to make Wal-Mart stand at attention without someone dangling the GS numbers in front of them as well. Great Value is usually a cheaper version of high volume, mainstream brands. Not Keebler or Hershey niche lines. Target maybe, but not Wal-Mart.

Either way, the Wal-Mart Cookies seem to be in a bag, not a box. They look as if they are made to knock off Keebler and Hershey. If they wanted to go after the GS business, they would have put them in a box. Make no mistake, if they wanted to, they would have them made in China as well and sell them for 96 cents.

The difference between this situation and the BS popcorn thing is that the Caramel Popcorn commodity had already been established before the BS decided to sell them. As for the GS cookies, to my knowledge there was no national brand that had truly developed a market for these types prior to the GS. I wonder if we would even have much of a Thin Mint Cookie market had it not been for the GS. And if it is “ethically” ok to go after it….why did Nabisco not go after it years ago when nothing was as strong as OREO or CHIPS AHOY. The reason is likely that, without the “charity effect” of the Girl Scouts, Mint Cookies wouldn’t sell to the level of a large mainstream National brand.

I am concerned for the GS however. If any one can make a market out these cookies, Wal-Mart can. GS cookie sales are very mature, and taking away the niche that they have enjoyed for so many years, will hurt, even if it’s only 10%, it will hurt. Perhaps……Hershey and Keebler want Wal-Mart to make it a larger mainstream market…..hmmmmm….I wonder.

BTW – In Canada, they changed the name of the Boy Scouts to Scouts Canada quite a few years ago and allow girls and all races. You want to talk about diversity. In Canada, the Girl Scouts are called Girl Guides, and they still sell Cookies door to door as well as in front of high traffic retailers. “High Traffic retailers” = Wal-Mart…..is there anybody else?

mapgirl August 5, 2009 at 10:10 am

I was a Brownie for 2 years and got my Bridge to Juniors. I am still very proud of my tan polyester brownie uniform and matching beanie. I learned so much from my Girl Scout guide book. As a Korean American it really helped me fit in at public school to have friends outside of class and take me to new experiences that my parents didn’t have time for (like camping trips) because they were too busy working.

For people who are appalled at how little money per box goes directly to the troop, let me explain some of the other ways the money is spent. 1. There are Girl Scout campground facilities for troops to use. 2. There are college scholarships for older Girl Scouts.

I knew a middle-class woman from private school who could not afford to go to the college of her choice without her GS scholarship. (Her brother was an Eagle Scout as well and their mom a dedicated working woman and troop leader/scout mom. She was an awesome mentor to me during our carpool rides even though I was long out of scouting by then.)

I never liked selling cookies either, but it didn’t stop me from doing it. It was a good experience for me because everyone needs some sort of ability to sell stuff, whether they are professional salespeople or not. It’s educational to do financial transactions, make change and learn good customer service skills.

I am saddened by the poaching of the GS product by Wal-Mart. But since I try not to shop there anyway, it’s not going to impact my regular $20-30 purchase of cookies every year.

Mike P August 5, 2009 at 10:44 am

I never have been in a Wal-Mart and never will go in one . Why help a company destroy the country it depends on for money.They treat workers unfairly and force small stores out of business.

Sam August 5, 2009 at 10:53 am

@ Mike P

Oh boy, let’s turn this into yet another “Wal-Mart is the most evil corporation on the planet” debate.

The point of this blog entry was that the author believe Wal-Mart was knocking off the Girl Scout’s Thin Mint cookies, which honestly amounts to nothing more than a half-baked conspiracy theory which is only gains some ground due to the fact almost no one likes Wal-Mart yet people continue to shop there.

How workers there are treated, at least in this discussion, is irrelevant. How vendors are treated is irrelevant. Wal-Mart saw a market for the cookies, formulated an apparently decently tasting version and is now beta-testing the cookie with select stores ahead of a national roll-out. This isn’t news, it’s business.

Amos August 5, 2009 at 11:05 am

Just curious, is a civic organization entitled to a multi-million dollar annual cookie fortune? Or should they have to learn about the competitive marketplace? Come up with a new flavor or process – a secret ingredient, perhaps – and stop relying on legacy product, guilt-ridden customers and whining when you don’t get your way. [Amos, please note, the GS are not the ones raising the issue.]

Adriennevh August 5, 2009 at 11:59 am

Good grief, (FIrst personal disclosure, I am a Life Member of GirlScouts, and was for 8 years the COokie Chair for our entire city of Glendale, Ca.), grow up!

The Girl Scouts do not have an exclusivity patent on the cookies, anyone can try to duplicate them.

Unfortunately, we live in a Capitalistic country where all are free to make a buck in any way they can. If Walmart (or anyone else) can make the same cookie for a cheaper price, more power to them.

The price of the Girl Scouts cookies has risen dramatically over the years. It also is not the sole fundraiser (albeit the most profitable), they also sell the nuts in the fall and some even still sell calendars.

If the Girl Scouts had a spot on Marketing Crew (preferably volunteer parents, you know you are out there), they would do a better job with perhaps getting exclusivity, perhaps selling more often, perhaps even selling the use of their cookies to more entities. Such as the agreement they have with Breyers (it’s either Breyers or Dreyers I get the two mixed up often) ice cream, which again is only sold at cookie season, sell that all year long to draw out the profit margin.

And how did I miss getting a taste of the wannabe Tagalong while at BlogHer? I feel totally slighted!

John Spinuzzi August 5, 2009 at 12:32 pm

First of all, our family used to buy “thin mint” type cookies from grocery stores when I was growing up (I’m 52), so Girls Scouts haven’t had a lock on this type of cookie in the first place.
Second – people DON’T buy GS cookines because of their uniqueness, they do so out of a desire to help the girls and because it is hard to say no to a little girl.
Third – what do you have against a free-market?
Fourth – We no longer buy GS cookies

Jordi August 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm

I added you to Digg, just to nudge the virality a bit.

I have always wondered how so many cookies can be produced and not repackaged by same private label manufacturers. There must be gazillions of cookies produced. Has it been a “gentleman’s agreement” up to this point? (pun intended).

Diva1959 August 5, 2009 at 1:01 pm

I was a girl scout, a girl scout mom and I give back to the organization by purchasing around $75 worth of cookies a year. I don’t need the cookies and I can buy more affordable cookies and I usually end up giving them away or taking them to meetings. I buy them as a charitable contribution and to reward the girls for their hard work. I will only buy from GIRLS who ask me personally, not their moms or troop leaders (or any other adult).

Let me make a “comparison”…I work in public radio. Most of our funding comes from listener donations…(less than a penny a year comes from your taxes – so don’t go there – it’s not my point anyway). Why would anyone give money to support a radio station or public TV when there are plenty of radio/TV stations that never ask for a contribution? The answer is that people feel it has value to them and thus worthy of their financial support. If you feel that the girl scouts has value and is worthy of your support then the least you can do is buy a stinking box of cookies! If you don’t feel that way then take a pass and support something else.

People will buy cookies regardless of what Wal Mart or any other retailer does, just like people tune into public radio and public television and pledge their support although they have plenty of other choices.

The girl scouts also need to localize their fund raising efforts. We have found that the more we are involved with local events/news etc the better our ability to fund raise. Relying on the national organization for support is not a good idea in this giving climate.

Former GS, current GS cookie buyer August 5, 2009 at 1:32 pm

My problem with the GS cookie program is that as people have stated above, the money that actually goes to the troops are pennies compared with the $3.50 (is it more now?) that is charged. I never agreed with that, someone is profitting big time off of those cookies and it’s not the girls. Another issue is that although I buy the cookies to support the GS as much as I can, I have NEVER bought them from a GS herself. It is always from the poor parents who have to bring the form to work, to their families and to other social events to get people to buy the cookies. When I was young, I went door to door for orders (with my mother or father of course, never alone). If I was selling to my family, I gave them the form and asked for their donation. My parents never brought the form to work. If I didn’t personally get the order, then I didn’t get the credit for it. Not only do the parents have to bow their head to ask for money for GS cookies or BS peanuts/popcorn but then they have the candy, wrapping paper and calendars from the schools. Where does it end? Why can’t we come up with a better fundraiser where the kids are actually doing something to earn what they are given? What happened to car washes, bakes sales (where you actually made the stuff and sold them)? That’s what I did when I was young and in GS. The council never gave us enough money from the cookie and calendar sales so we fended for ourselves.

So is Walmart going to cause problems for the GS? No. Because the people that buy GS cookies buy them not only because they are good but because they know they are helping to fund (little as it is) a worth while cause. However, if they charged even $2.50 instead, you might get people to buy more than one or two boxes. But when there are sales, coupons and Walmart, it doesn’t make feasible sense for families to spend a whole lot on cookies, no matter how good they are.

Catz August 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm

I personally think wal mart is an evil bastard, knocking off the cookies, but I’d like to explain my girl scout experience…

I joined when I was 5(daisies) and I had a lovely time(not enough people say lovely) . When I rejoined when I moved to a suburb of Pittsburgh,Pa(not rilly a suburb, somewhere beyond that,(Washington if you live in the area). It was redneck-ish kinda place. When we would sell cookies I would sit out with sit out and try to sell cookies while the other girls(besides my friend Emily, she would actually go to do what she was supposed to do) would “go to the bathroom”and make prank calls on one girls cell phone.(this was in brownies) I would come up with creative ways to sell the cookies and the leaders would just tell me to set them up the way they were supposed to be. When the cookie selling was done, we would get 1 of 2 options, Chuckie Cheese’s or Camping Trip. It was almost always Chuckie Cheese’s. They didn’t really respect what girl scouts should be, that’s why I quit. I would have rejoined another group, but there were none.

CV Harquail August 5, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Hi all-
Thank you so much for commenting and for participating in the conversation. For obvious reasons, I can’t keep up with all the comments. Please note the correction I made yesterday, once others told me how many minty-chocolate cookies exist. Also, please note the addendum that the Girl Scouts are not involved in this situation. I am not a spokesperson for the Girl Scouts.

The important question to address, behind all the talk about the details of the GS cookie program, the availability of various cookies, and so on, is the real question that I’d like us to address:

The real question is whether WalMart should *choose* to compete w/ the Girl Scouts by producing and selling 2 cookie types that are so much like the iconic Girl Scout Thin Mints & Tagalongs. As an expert on corporate reputation, identity and authenticity, it does not look to me like Wal-mart is behaving as the corporate citizen it wants us to think it is. Were they really concerned about the community, they might choose not to imitate Girl Scout cookies, and would choose instead to produce other flavors just as marketable, but unlike GS cookies.

Back to you all …..
cvh

Scouter at heart August 5, 2009 at 2:57 pm

bravo CV.

I think you are correct. In times when funding for charities is under intense pressure, perhaps we should all (including Wal-Mart, Hershey & Keebler) be a little more aware of our communities. Wal-Mart product developers likely didn’t look past the profits that Keebler and Hershey were making and jumped into something blindly. Like that would happen….LOL.

Scouter at heart August 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Let’s not forget that GS can’t compete in an open market. They are completely run by volunteers. No one can do that in their spare time to compete with the marketing prowess of a national brand or the world’s largest retailer. They should all show a sense of pride and not just talk about.

Troop Leader August 5, 2009 at 4:07 pm

I’m not worried about the competition. Those cute little girls are the best sales force in the world. My older girls always complain that they can’t compete with the little ones. It really keeps them on their toes and trying harder, selling at places that the younger girls can’t get to and at times that they can’t be selling. I used to think the $0.50 a box the girls got to keep was a rip off too. Then I learned that the money goes to help the council, which provides a lot of training for girls and leaders, and summer camp facilities as well as scholarships for poor girls who want to join scouts and for other scholastic opportunities as well. The profit from the cookies may not go directly to the girl you buy the cookies from but they will go to help some girl. The pooled resources of the council enable them to offer a lot of things to the girls that they might not be able to get otherwise. And there are also a lot of other fund raisers the girls can do. Ours raised a lot of money for travel and camping with garage sales and recycling.

Anonymous August 5, 2009 at 4:16 pm

AS YOU KNOW WALLMART IS AN EVIL CORPORATION THAT DOES NOT CARE WHAT AMERICAN TRADITIONS IT STOMPS ON. ALL THEY SELL IS CHEAP CHINESE MADE JUNK FOR BILLIONS EACH YEAR. tHE PRICE OF GIRLSCOUT COOKIES IS TO SUPPORT A GOOD AMERICAN TRADITION. i DONATE TO BOYSCOUTS EVER YEAR AND BY GIRLSCOUT COOKIES KNOWING THAT IT IS FOR GOOD YOUTH CAUSE. bY THE WAY i HAVE ALWAYS REFUSED TO SHOP WALLMART!

Adam August 5, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Taking money away from Girl Scouts is awful, but I question the assumption that competition from Walmart would actually hurt Girl Scout Cookie sales. The beauty of buying Girl Scout Cookies is, you make the commitment before you pay and before you get the cookies.

Girl shows up at my door and asks me, “Some time in the future, would you like some cookies?” The answer is always yes.

If I have no cookies at the moment, the answer is yes. If I have no thin mint cookies at the moment, be they knockoff or original, the answer is still yes. If my pantry and my mouth are both stuffed with Thin Mints when the doorbell rings and a Girl Scout asks if I’ll want more Thin Mints later, the answer is once again, Heck yeah! The answer is always yes!

Now, if they asked me to pay right at that moment, the answer might be no. But they don’t. Walmart does. Walmart also provides the cookie up front. Regardless of the kind of cookie, it’s a different business model. Will there be some people who will not say “Yes” to the prospect of future cookies at a future price just because Walmart also sells cookies? Maybe. But I would guess that plenty of people, their Thin Mint addictions raging out of control thanks to unrestricted Walmart availability, might say yes with greater frequency.

They might also order extra Samoas. Or Caramel De-Lites, or whatever they’re called. Just give me that caramel/coconut/chocolate cookie, and make it snappy.

Seriously, though, competition very often helps business more than it hurts. That’s not usually the case for Walmart’s competitors, but I think the uniqueness of the Girl Scouts business model (coupled with that feeling that you really are helping your community by pigging out on Tagalongs) is more than enough to sustain and thrive in a competitive environment.

And whoever besmirches the good name of Tagalong Blizzards at DQ should be punished for libel. Holy Heaven those are good.

Ranger August 5, 2009 at 5:52 pm

First, to those who had bad experiences with GS: I am sorry you were put through that. As others have noted: GS troops are run by volunteers. As with anything volunteer-driven, some are good, some are bad. If it makes you feel any better, we often discuss on our own boards the troubles that the bad apples create for all of us. Most GS volunteers are truly in it for the girls, and care very much about doing the best they possibly can.
As for the council/baker/troop profit scheme: it varies by council. Some councils (like my own) have a decent profit for the girls, and do a good job supporting the girls through scouterships for activities and camp, others not so much. I do agree that a more direct way to support the girls is donate to the troop. Even better: offer to share your skills and hobbies with the troop. Leaders are always looking for people who can share their knowledge with the girls. Believe me, it will be appreciated.
I’m not surprised that Wal-mart has come out with the cookies. Truth be told, they have been selling a version through Sam’s Club for a while. As others have said, I hope that those who love the cookies will realize the sales are about more than making $$, and that they *do* in fact help the girls who are selling them. Thank you to all who have supported their local GS through cookie sales or other ways.

mike August 6, 2009 at 3:12 am

i have no problem with Walmart selling cookies. Last year I went to a Walmart in Edgewood New Mexico. Out front in the entrance area to the store were a group of young girls hocking a faith based drug rehab program by selling home made crucifixes with barbwire glued on them. I am sorry but I was rude I laughed at them – they were young and inspired. it still offends me that i was subjected to this violation of my space but the religious right. If I had wanted to be preached to I would have gone to a church not a Walmart. I have though about this a lot over the last year – I went to war 40 years ago to protect these young peoples rights to speak out for what they believed in. as a substance abuse counselor I also release the that AA could be considered a faith based program. So what irritated me – have someones else belief system thrown in my face against my will, This violates my freedom and I will hold Walmart accountable for allowing this to happen. Since august 5 2008 i have been to Walmart once and that was because they had a item that no one else had. so if Walmart wants to alienate the supporters of the girl scouts then go for it – it will cost you money.

sapphire August 6, 2009 at 6:46 am

Not stepping on anybody’s toes here…just asking…can somebody tell me who benefits from the profits the gs foundation gets from the girls who gets I believe only a quarter from each sale of the cookies? These girls sell these cookies no matter what the weather is fearing their mothers will pay for unsold cookies? The gs foundation uses these little girls to entice people to buy these cookies and the foundation profits big time. Did anybody question this yet? Where does the money go? As with walmart? And other retailers? Aren’t they only helping us consumers to get our money’s worth to save us on our grocery bills? They are not forcing you not to buy the cookies from this poor little girls. It is still anybody’s option. Doesn’t anybody here buy generic medicines to save money? Aren’t they considered knock offs too? THIS IS A FREE COUNTRY EVERYBODY HAS A CHOICE. Girls…if you think selling these cookies help you in raising money and being a scout help you to be a better person then go for it. Just to let you know…we have a very competetive world…change is good and who knows this step of walmart might make the gs foundation reduce the net price of your cookies in return give your troop more profit.. Let us all think possitive here. Something good could come out of this.

Ralph August 6, 2009 at 7:29 am

You would think that the girl scouts have cornered the market on cookies? Groups have been selling candy and cookies to raise funds for a 100 years. Where is the out cry when this happens to other brands. You leftest can’t stop bashing American business.

heather August 6, 2009 at 7:43 am

Local troops get about 10-15 percent of the price paid, the council takes more than 50 percent, and the manufacturer gets the remainder. I won’t feel so guilty for buying the walmart brand cookies seeing as the council takes half of the money and probably uses it for themselves. the little girls only get 40 cents a box? you people make them stand outside rain or shine for 40 cents? yeah that shows real value for hard work!!!!! mind you this is AMERICA land of the free so if walmart wants to make cookies they can. i hope they make some Samoas those are my favorites. I will still buy some from the cute 5 year old that is working her bum off for 40 cents though. In 1933, 44 Girl Scout cookies cost a mere 23 cents today a box of cookies are 4.00 that is a 1639% price increase in 76 years that is a 22% price increase every year. crazy if you ask me and now you make the boxes smaller and less cookies to offset cost. its quite the rip off. if more money went to the girls it would be worth it.

twentysomething August 6, 2009 at 9:44 am

To all of you out there questioning the percentage of cookie money the girls actually receive-yes they only get about $0.50 out of the $3.50 per box. The rest of the money goes to the manmufacturer, facilities maintenance, salary for staff at local councils and GSUSA, etc. However, there is NO profit! Girl Scouts is a Non-profit, so duh, no one is making a profit off these cookies! All money taken in is spent. No employees get bonuses, and they’re not paid like private company executives (please keep that in mind). Please remember that yes there is some paid staff and yes there are overhead costs that are partially paid from cookie sales. Girl Scouts depend on donations! Just like any other NON PROFIT. So let me reiterate-by definition of being a NON Profit organization, NO ONE makes a profit off cookie sales!! (SAPPHIRE-get a dictionary, look up NON PROFIT!)

Michael Weiss August 6, 2009 at 10:53 am

Ms. Harquail says it is OK for WalMart to sell other knock off products, but when her ox is gored (cookies), it is not OK. What kind of research methodology does she use in her work? Certainly consistancy is not one of them.
You can like Walmart or not like Walmart. All of the products that they sell are at the expense of someone else selling that product. That’s competition!

Dan August 6, 2009 at 11:02 am

Last I checked it was a free country. I am suprised it didn’t happen sooner. If GS Cookies weren’t so expiensive I may have more sympathy.

Keith August 6, 2009 at 11:04 am

Hey I read your story about Wal-mart and the Girl Scout cookies. Hey look, I love Girl Scout cookies. Honestly I don’t care who I buy them from. I don’t buy 20 boxes of cookies just because I want to support a dying organization like the Girl Scouts, I buy them because they taste good.

If Wal-mart is willing to sell them year round then I think that’s a wonderful idea and I’m going to organize others who feel the same way and send Wal-mart letters of support. If the Girl Scouts decided to sell them year round, then I’ll buy from them too, it doesn’t matter to me.

Keith

Poptall August 6, 2009 at 11:16 am

Thats awesome!, will they have them available in all stores soon? HURRY for WALMART!

You give way to much credit to Wal Mart, but Wal Mart should not be your worry, your worry should really be that folks would stop buying from the Girls Scouts, this is still kind of America and people have a choice for now and your afraid that people will exercise the wrong choice for the Girls Scouts.

Wal Mart sells Christmas paper and candy bars to, as well as light bulbs and trash bags.
I’m guessing Wal Mart will put all schools and non-profits out of business before to long if they keep going.

So maybe the Girls Scouts should try being different than the masses and stop blaming others for its problems and take responsibility for itself. Try building your organization up verses tearing others down.

Anonymous August 6, 2009 at 11:21 am

Sign me up for cheapter cookies, if you can’t stand a little competition then find another way to make money.

Anonymous August 6, 2009 at 11:22 am

Sign me up for cheaper cookies, if you can’t stand a little competition then find another way to make money.

Sue August 6, 2009 at 11:25 am

I would like to reiterate what twentysomething said. Individual troops get about $0.50 per box of cookies. In addition to that individual girls earn prizes and “Cookie Dough” which are dollars that can be used to pay for Girl Scout activities, uniforms, books and other merchandise. Girl Scout Councils get a significant amount of money from the cookie sale. This pays for the paid staff that recruit (and screen) potential leaders, manage the camps and other facilities year round, provide financial aid for camps and events and pay for all the other things necessary to operate an organization that relies on volunteers to provide most of the services. Those dollars that go to Girl Scout Councils are one of the primary reasons that my daughter could attend a week at a well run camp for 1/2 the cost of sending my son to an equally well run camp managed by a different non-profit organization. She could also apply her Cookie Dough and further lower the cost. Those “Council Dollars” are why my daughter could attend a 2 1/2 week program across the country for $1200 including air fare when she was 14. That cost was further reduced by “Cookie Dough” and Financial Aid paid for by cookie sales. And dollars raised for the sponsoring Council through their Cookie sales is why I knew it would be safe to send her..because their paid staff was also investigating their adults and followed the same set of safety rules we had.

Ken August 6, 2009 at 11:35 am

Does this not surprise any one that Walmart is once again stepping on the little guy!
It is bad enough they do not appreciate their employees, as well as have no appreciation for the communities they ruin with the “Supercenters” and finally their total disregard for national history by trying to build a “Supercenter” across the road from a hallowed battlefield “The Wilderness” in Virginia? Truly disgusting and the fact that people continue to support this organization explains why our economy is in the dumper right now. Greed is all it is and ‘nuf said! For the record I will always support the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts as these organizations are a must in this day and age.

Ken August 6, 2009 at 11:38 am

Anonymous: If you are too afraid to put your name down, then your comments are pointless! Go away—>

Robert August 6, 2009 at 11:38 am

Keebler has the same cookies and has been selling them in grocery stores for years. For all of you bashing Walmart … I’ll bet you never shop there. Idiots.

Anonymous August 6, 2009 at 11:39 am

If your going to call out Walmart and their knockoff of the Thin Mint cookie, then why not Keebler too? They make a cookie that I buy every week for my kids called Grasshoppers and yes they taste just like the Thin Mints. I don’t think that these companies motives were to go after the Girl Scouts. Give me Break.

Ken August 6, 2009 at 11:40 am

Robert;
You are the idiot for going there. Poor service and minimal customer support is Walmarts’ pride!

Erik Bagby August 6, 2009 at 11:44 am

I just lost all respect for the Girl Scouts of America. I am sorry but this is ludicrous. Wal-Mart nor any other retailer who sells a similar product is doing nothing more than competing in the good old fashioned American capitalist way. So long as they are not violating any trademarks, they are free to do so (unless Obama and friends make it a Federal crime which they probably will).

Girl Scout cookies are overpriced and what percentage of the funds actually go toward the mission of the GSA? My point exactly. If someone wants to support the GSA, make a charitable contribution, if you want to buy cookies or any other consumer product, price and quality are the key factors. Quit hating on WalMart because they offer a like/kind/quality product at a substantially lower price. If these “knock offs” are so bad, WalMart won’t keep making and selling them.

Anonymous August 6, 2009 at 11:48 am

Seriously this article is a waste of time! There are already cookies out mint cookies that happen to be thin out there, Walmart is not hurting Girl Scouts at all. Get over the drama!

eric August 6, 2009 at 11:51 am

seriously? i’m no fan of walmart, but to think the fact that they make cookies that (much like Keebler’s Grasshoppers) resemble GS Cookies is completely ridiculous

working dad August 6, 2009 at 11:56 am

I agree that gs cookies are awesome but when the price hit $4.50 a box, that’s when I stopped buying. I understand costs rise for everything and the girls need every penny they can get. But come on now, $4.50 for that little box of cookies that used to sell for 3 bucks? Maybe it’s time for a little competition.

Anonymous August 6, 2009 at 11:56 am

BiLo sells a thin mint cooke under southern home.I’ve bought them before there.They are real close to the girl scout brand I think.They are cheaper to.

Jhared August 6, 2009 at 11:58 am

So Wal-Mart has been creating knockoffs of everything from clothes to shoes to tools for years now. You really don’t get to be surprised when they start creating knockoffs of other popular-selling items. Unless you have a patent (and this is a food item, so you can’t), they are legally allowed to do so. Naturally, when legality isn’t on your side, you apparently decide to hop on the ‘morality’ bandwagon. Nice!

Let’s break down your argument by the numbers, shall we?

1) Girl Scout cookies pay for Girl Scouts

I don’t think there is any argument here – this is a fact. Buy cookies = help girls. I’m fine with this. It’s a charity that tastes good both emotionally and literally.

2) Girl Scout cookies are more expensive than normal cookies.

So we’ve established that since we have a charity, we can expect that standard expectation of prices are out the window. We’re buying these cookies not because they are a good value, but because we are helping little girls. Again, that is fine.

3) Girl Scout cookies are not sold year round

So the charitable goods we are purchasing are limited-time offers. This is also fine – the organization prides itself on having its troops responsible for selling the goods. This also means that you can’t have the poor little ones running around year round hawking goods instead of doing things GS’s should be doing (which, honestly, I really don’t know, but all parties involved seem to enjoy it, so any argument I’d care to make against is moot!). Regardless, this means that for a significant portion of the year, these goods are unavailable.

So… Wal-Mart is now selling a knockoff cookie that is available year round. So if suddenly decide I want a thin-mint, I can run to WM at 2:00 AM and find a box of knockoffs. Not as good, but good enough – right? But your argument is that WM is now directly competing with the GS for their only stable source of income. Capitalism at its best – provide a product cheaper and more available than the competition. There isn’t anything wrong with that. There CAN’T be anything wrong with that, or else our entire system of economics would be in shambles (er… moreso). You, however, are taking the moral approach – how *dare* they offer such items for sale?

Let’s take a quick step back. We’ve already determined that the cookies are basically a charity event – you’re having consumers pay more for your items simply for the knowledge that it helps out the scouts. You also acknowledge that you don’t offer the product year-round, so anyone who may want a cookie in December is out of luck if the scouts aren’t selling in December. So… does Wal-Mart really hurt you at all? If you are relying on people to help you because you are a charity, does it really have a profound effect on who sells anything at all? It’s the same idea as the neighborhood bake sale. I could go down to my local patisserie and acquire a wonderful muffin. Or I could go down to the local elementary school and acquire the same muffin for a higher price. For my personal interests, I’ll take the patisserie muffin. But for the desire to help out a local school, I’ll pay the premium. The GS model is even better than this example – I don’t have to drive out of my way to acquire a GS cookie. Those little darlings are everywhere! They’re cookie fairies! I don’t have to LEAVE MY HOUSE to acquire my charitable treat.

So really, let’s just lump the people who would buy the cheaper cookie when the charity one is available in two categories: those who are in financial danger, and jerks. The former would like to, but cannot support your charity. As a charitable organization, you should understand this – not everyone can afford $4 for cookies today. That’s fine. You move on and hope next year they are doing well – for their own sake as well as the sake of the organization. The latter category… well, seriously, do you really care about catering to jerks?

I kid, of course, but I hope you are starting to see how this isn’t so bad. Wal-Mart isn’t trying to screw the GS org – they’re trying to make money off a popular product that isn’t available year round. My advice? Have the GS approach Wal-Mart and see if the stores are willing to not stock the items during the various times when cookies are available. They don’t have to do this, of course, but it can’t hurt to ask. This is how capitalism works! If you start to throw the ‘morality’ wrench around, soon NO business will be able to do business, and that won’t help anyone.

As a side note, I don’t understand how Thin Mints and Tagalongs are the most popular when the greatest GS cookie in the world – the Somoa – is available. Do you know count the Somoa amongst your list of popular cookies simply because it will skew the results for all the cookies into negligible graph results? Or are the numbers of Somoas (again, the greatest cookie on Earth) so high that they actually reach into complex irrational numbers, thus not being able to be tallied for fear of endangering the very fabric of the world?

DaveL August 6, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Get over it. The Boy Scouts sell popcorn, do you hear anybody whining about the fact that you can buy popcorn at 1/10 -1/4 the price at Walmart, KMart, Target or your local grocer. Nobody would ever buy a box of Girl Scout cookies or Boy Scout popcorn if they were looking strictly for product value. Fund raiser products are by their very nature overpriced and are purchased by people who wish to support an organization and it’s mission. The value to the customer has never been in the product, the value is in supporting an organization that has a positive social impact. Getting a box of cookies or popcorn is just a bonus.

Theresa August 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm

There was a lot of GS mom’s and former GS commenting, but none mentioned their “Hometown Hero” program, which happens during cookie sales time. It is intended to teach the girls to think about helping others (one of the girl scouts “core values”); not just sales for sales sake or for themselves.

So, if people say that they don’t eat GS cookies, the girls are taught to ask, will you buy a box of cookies for “a hero” (firefighter, teacher, military, or whatever group they are supporting.) Sadly, this well intentioned program has turned into a sales pitch for the GS and, during sales in front of our local WalMarts, many people buy GS cookies even if they don’t eat any. Wallah, sales for GS cookies…..

So, the cute little girls don’t have too much to worry about. The big corporate giant shouldn’t hurt their sales if people believe and support their cause.

BTW, are you shopping at WalMart? In a free capitalistic society, you have the choice to boycott WalMart completely if you disagree with their ethics. There are plenty of other choices to shop at….

Scouter at heart August 6, 2009 at 12:20 pm

This is getting heated. I love it.
Scouting is a great program with great purpose. It needs money to support those programs. There is no question that the mark up is high on the GS cookies; it has evolved because they need to generate an increasing amount of money each year to cover increases in expenses and overheads. I’m sure Wal-Mart, Hershey or Keebler have similar issues. I doubt the GS of America would consider (nor have the clout) the option of US manufacturer mulistation or having them made in Mexico or China in order to “roll-back” or maintain pricing strategies (for the better ment of Americans everywhere) in order to keep the same dollars per box for their “inside programs” like buyer and executive bonuses. Would they? I read somewhere that the Manufacturer of the GS cookies gets between 70 and 80 cents per box. This doesn’t sound unreasonable. We all have been reminded that the other $2.70 or $2.80 goes to support the program (either at council or troop level). Since the flow wrapped versions at Wal-Mart or from Keebler for that matter should cost less than 70 or 80 cents (for many reasons – supply chain, buying power, packaging….) it would be logical that Wal-Mart should be selling these for less than 99 cents…..if they are not, where are their profits going? Perhaps they should donate 50 cents of every box sold during the month September to Girl Scouts…..a small dip into a few executives pockets.
Let’s not go down that road. This was an ethical question from the start…should Wal-Mart knowingly enter into a market that potentially could hurt a cornerstone community charity like Scouting in the first place?

dk August 6, 2009 at 12:30 pm

How about another issue, like how much cash really gets back to the local club from the sale of those cookies. Now that is something the Girl Scouts could do something about, and should!

dk August 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Clarification… from the sale of their own cookies

Jon August 6, 2009 at 12:34 pm

You know there are many coookies that are very similar to Girl Scouts not just wal-mart.. so I don’t know why your getting so upset over wal-marts version. Technically speaking, if the recipe is different it doesn’t matter anyway.

Silent August 6, 2009 at 12:53 pm

In this economy I don’t think anyone would want to spend the high price for Girl Scout cookies. This ladies girl scout troop must be feeling the pressure of the economy so she is trying to make a quick buck. You know you can even get the recipe online and make them at home. Even cheaper than buying them at wal-mart! Many companies make cookies similar to other brands or even Girl Scouts its not the same recipe its not exact and who cares really.. Get over it, your not getting paid.

Chris August 6, 2009 at 1:02 pm

A search of the Wal-Mart web site for “mint cookies” returns 5 results, of which the “Great Valu” product is one. Keebler and Newman’s Own, among others, have also combined the flavors of Mint and Chocolate in a cookie. Now, if you buy the Girl Scout cookes, are you stealing from Newman’s Own? All profits go to charity! Really good charities.

I’m no Wal-Mart defender (I refuse to ever go there, as it is a horrible place to BE let alone support), but I don’t think this is a direct competition, as people who buy Girl Scout cookies will continue to do so.

Also, what’s a mint chocolate cookie craver to do during the 11/12 of the year you can’t buy Thin Mints!?!

Ad August 6, 2009 at 1:02 pm

You are an idiot and pretty self absorbed. People will buy Girl Scout cookies to help the girl scouts, pure and simple. These are generic cookies, low quality like most of Walmart’s products. That being said Im glad you are ok with sweatshops as long as YOUR child isnt working in one and has her precious camping trips. Maybe the Girl Scout organization could open up a cookie sweatshop in Mexico to maximize profit so your daughter can go to the waterpark next summer. Thatd be AWESOME!!!

Jlake August 6, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Saw this news yesterday and was appauled. Went to Wally World and saw the knock offs. Tried the Thin Mints. Totally dispicable that Wally World is taking on the Girl Scouts. Shameful. I am going to write them and put up a stink. They have put enough of Small business out of business. It is time for them to be responsible on this matter.

Robin Lead August 6, 2009 at 1:21 pm

There are many cookies out there that could be a replication of the Girl Scout cookies. And Wal-Mart isn’t the only one to sell them. I am trying to understand why everyone thinks walmart is so evil. There were many other types of stores like these long before Walmart came in to the picture…And if you think Walmart is the only store that sells things made in China, you had better look at the labels again. For that matter, look to see where things that used to be made in the USA are now made….. Good ol’ Amercan brand names now have their stuff made in China…..

Cyndi August 6, 2009 at 1:22 pm

I have been a Girl Scout Leader for the past several years and lead 2 troops. Girl Scouts has SO much to offer these girls and it’s adult volunteers. And, speaking for my troops the cookie sale is a huge part of it. The girls really get pumped up about learning how to make money, save it for a special, educational activity, helping their community, setting goals and the list goes on. The cookie sale was difficult for us this year as we sold far less than we have in the past and I hope this Wal-mart thing doesn’t make it even harder next year. The girls are very grateful to anyone that supports them and I agree that it’s not about the cookies. For us, it’s about the life skills and sense of accomplishment these girls gain from the sale. Both of my troops set goals and agree on three things when we earn our cookie profit, which in recent years has been close to $1,200. They choose a local cause and use a portion of their profit to perform a community service, a fun, educational trip/activity and the remainder is split between annual registration fees, uniform, badge, and other supplies. The girls also send several boxes to local shelters and to our soldiers overseas, in which they are responsible for the cost. These girls have gained valuable life skills and a sense of community.

from Bentonville,AR August 6, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Wal-Mart has an entire department of food development, who are directed to duplicate successful recipes for the Wal-Mart cheap brand with the direct purpose of gaining more profits for the corporation, ultimately cutting out as many people, companies, industries and products as possible. Wal-Mart also employs outsource companies to gain as many other company secrets, recipes, etc., to find ways to cut out as many jobs as possible to reduce cost which will increase their immediate profit. What they don’t see is that their business plan works for the moment but not in the long term. As they cut out American jobs and other American companies, more people can’t even afford to shop at Wal-Mart, which is good for Dollar General but ultimately bad for the people of America.

My friend worked as a food developer. Between the unethical requirements and the pressure from corporate game-playing, she hasn’t been the same, even though she left the company over a year ago.

If money is involved, Wal-Mart has demonstrated once again, they are willing to slash anyone to get a lower price, even in this case, Girl Scouts.

Ar August 6, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Get off your high horse or soap box lady and get a life. If the qualtiy and taste of these cookies are not there, people are not going to buy them. However, if you continue to shout from the rooftops about these cookies, you are just driving people to WalMart to try them.

I shop there once in a while and never to buy cookies but now that you screaming the sky is falling and the Girl Scouts will be put out of business by these cookies, I just have to go and buy some.

You just lost a sale for the Girl Scouts by raising the issue..

Wally August 6, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Contrary too what the whining Girl Scout moms think, this isn’t a communist country. They don’t have exclusive rights to sell cookies. Besides they do a terrible job since they are so grossly overpriced and only sold once a year. It’s nice to see that Wal-mart was sharp enough to see a market nitch that was being overlooked and took care of it.

Mary August 6, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I was a girl scout and believe this is truely a great organization. I have to profess however that I agree with some of the other post. Keebler has similar products as well as Dollar General has a wonderful thin mint cookie that they sell and I actually buy and stock up on those when I see them. It gets me through the lonely months before the Girls Scouts come knocking!

Jennifer A August 6, 2009 at 1:37 pm

As a Lifetime Scout and current Cookie mom/Troop Historian, I totally disagree with this article and most of the comments. Mint Chocolate cookies have been around since I sold Girl Scout Cookies in the 80′s and 90′s. Did not harm our sales that I could see. Don’t like it don’t buy them. The packaging is not even similar to Girl Scout cookies.
For all who say Girl Scouts should not sell cookies, what do you propose? My kids schools sell wrapping paper, Entertainment books, candles, candy, popcorn and cookie dough. We’re not getting rich off this as troops. Our sales this year of 600 boxes help offset the costs of Brownie Uniform Vests and patches for 22 girls. Wow, that $.60 a box really went far. Our troop does not participate in Fall Product sales because it coinsides with Innisbrook sales for the school.
Inclusion? Do the Boy Scouts allow you to substitue Allah, Great Spirit, Creator or be silent when God is said in the Promise? Not the last time I checked.
So please, to many who commented, go read the Girl Scout and Boy Scout USA sites BEFORE spouting off incorrect facts about what we stand for, believe in and our fundraising efforts.

Christopher August 6, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Nice. I love tagalongs.
It will be awesome to be able to get them for less than $4 a box….a box with a small amount of cookies in it no less.
Cry me a river Girl Scouts.
And this blogs cheap jabs at Walmart aren’t going to change anyone’s minds. How many paying jobs do the Girl Scouts create in a community everytime a new troop starts up? As Penn and Teller so awesomely proved on their show, Walmart hate is BS.

Laura August 6, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Lady, Are you crazy????? Keebler has been making “thin Mints” and “tagalongs” for years!!! What do you have aganist Walmart? DId they tell you that you couldn’t sell in front of thier stores anymore????? Because Lord only knows how many boxes of girl scout cookies have sold in WALMART parking lots. Get a life lady!!! I’m going to go buy a dozen boxes of keebler and freeze them until girl scout season then sell em next to girl scout cookie boothes BECAUSE OF YOUR STUPIDITY!

Rosemary August 6, 2009 at 1:56 pm

I was a girl scout, mostly because I loved camping. But I hated, loathed, despised and dreaded cookie season. It was a time when our troop leaders harassed and humiliated us, set quotas and berated anyone who didn’t sell enough. Not just one troop, but two. Cookie season was hell. It made me quit scouting. So if Wal-Mart can help spare some future girl scouts the hell of selling cookies, good for them. The Boy Scouts are able to raise money without selling cookies, and the girl scouts should do so as well.

FreeThinker August 6, 2009 at 1:59 pm

I’m no apologist for capitalism, and don’t shop at Wal-Mart even though there are three of them within 10 miles of my house. That said, I don’t see a problem with *anyone* selling *anything* they can make or have made for them. It’s the way the market works. Get over it.

As for the non-profit versus for-profit issue, the government already gives non-profits a big break. Why ask for some sort of exclusivity on top of that?

Finally, to those who mention how terrible Wal-Mart treats its employees, read this: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1486380/posts
It shows who the real scoundrels are.

Honest August 6, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I’m sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, Girls Scouts deserves this. They have continually reduced the size of their packages of cookies, while simultaneously chaging MORE for them. Paying MORE for LESS!!??? When you start to do things like this, expect consumers to turn away form you, and towards someone else. I for one will be looking forward to these being on shelf.

Fred Chapman August 6, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I don’t know how Girl Scout cookies are marketed in the world C.V. Harquail inhabits, but here in North Carolina, the scouts sell most of their cookies from tables set up in front of the entrances to Walmart Stores. There is no law requiring Walmart to help the Scouts…….they just do it.
Similar “knock-off” chocolate mint cookies have been sold for years at grocery stores. People have continued to buy Girl Scout cookies at Walmart entrances or from neighborhood girls because they a) wish to support the scouts, or b) the authentic cookies just taste better than the knock-offs sold at grocery stores. The only thing which is possibly changing is that if Walmart joins the other groceries in selling this type of product, you can bet that they will sell it…… at the lowest price. As the only ones who will be hurt by Walmart’s sale of the cookies will be the high-priced grocery stores and their union employees. Considering Ms. Harquail’s crack about “clothes made in sweatshops,” it seems clear that her real concern is for the all union members that have priced themselves out of the labor market.
Until such time as the American socialists bring us the workers’ paradises currently enjoyed by the happy citizens of Cuba and North Korea, the free market afords Ms. Harquail the opportunity to buy products of her choice from the stores of her choice. Meanwhile, during the 95% of the year in which the “real” Girl Scout cookies are not available, I’ll be cheering outfits like Walmart that improve our standard of living by bringing products to market at the lowest possible price.

Rhonda August 6, 2009 at 2:07 pm

As someone who doesn’t order yearly Girl Scout cookies because I don’t need all the junk food in my home, maybe the Girl Scouts should take this incident as a sign to reflect on the fact that they are supplying way too much junk food to an already obese society. Maybe a healthier subsitute would be in order.

TOO BAD August 6, 2009 at 2:11 pm

The picture of the angry-looking girl scout brings back memories…When my daughter was 7 she wanted to join the girl scouts, she went to a brownie meeting, but didn’t feel comfortable participating in their group prayer. Since we are atheists, she felt that would be like telling a fib. The nice mother in charge of the troop grabbed my baby girl by her arm so hard she had purple marks, dragged her our to her car where she (the adult here) told my daughter that she was evil and would burn in hell and “her kind” was not welcome, then drove her home immediately. She cried for days. It took years to repair her self esteem.

I taught her “empowerment” myself, by teaching the lessons of love, honesty, acceptance and compassion. So you will excuse me if I don’t cry for your loss of funding for programs that taught my daughter hate, exclusion and shame.

Footnote: Girl Scout mom probably won’t leave this post up for long….

Tom August 6, 2009 at 2:12 pm

So, competition is great for America and our country has fought to keep the right for it for centuries. But wait! It might affect me and my little girl? No, we can’t have that, can we? Hypocrites, all of you.

Amy August 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Really? You’re serious about this? Wow…. Do you honestly believe/think that Wal Mart and Girl Scouts are the ONLY ones that sale mint flavored and peanut butter chocolate coated cookies????? Are you REALLY serious???? Get a life and volunteer at places like homeless shelters, local womens shelters, cancer hospitals for children, etc. and worry more about the umemployment rates and the economy…. Now THAT is something to occupy your time because apparently you live in a bubble and need to get out and work on something that is worth while….

P.S, I WILL buy those ‘knock-off” cookies from Wal Mart because the Girl Scout cookies are waaaay overpriced!

Honest August 6, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Right on Amy!!

StephV August 6, 2009 at 2:15 pm

What’s the difference between Great Value knock off’s of the Thin Mint and Keebler’s Grasshoppers?!?!?! I buy grasshoppers all the time, and will probably try the GV brand as well!

Anonymous August 6, 2009 at 2:20 pm

The girls don’t sell the cookies any ways. It’s the parents. That is why my kids are not in the girl scouts and every one in my neighbor hood boy cots girl scouts.

B.J. August 6, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I work for a girl scout council and I’m really, seriously annoyed that this issue is being stirred up. So what if Wal-mart has mint cookies and peanut butter cookies? SO WHAT? As mentioned previously, Keebler and other companies have had similar varieties for years. Again, I say SO WHAT??? Ask most people and they’ll tell you that while they love our cookies, they buy them to support the girls. Good grief, Wal-mart sells microwave popcorn too. Does that mean that they’re crowding the Boy Scouts fundraising too? Everyone loves to pick on Wal-mart, and this is just another way of doing it. You are NOT helping the Girl Scouts in ANY WAY by raising this issue. Rather, you’re telling people about cookies that they probably wouldn’t have thought twice about, and now they’re going to take a closer look at them and go buy them because now they’re in the “news.” And to top it off, the Girl Scout Organization has to take time out of our already insanely busy schedule to address yet another PR “issue,” one that in my book is totally a NON-ISSUE. Thanks SO much for your “help.”

Daniel Boone August 6, 2009 at 2:43 pm

I’m with Joseph on almost all counts, except I don’t quite like Girl Scout cookies. I buy them out of a sense of duty, because the organization is a worthwhile one, but I generally give them to my neighbor to give to her kids.

I also have to question whether or not this is as big a deal as it’s being portrayed here? Granted it seems slimy on the surface, but I can recal seeing several different retailers selling variations on the thin-mint cookie over the years. It would seem that the only point of contention is that it’s Wal-Mart that’s doing it.

I would think that even if this does stand to cut into Girl Scout sales, it might be time to develop a new cookie to combat it. Perhaps a new spin on the thin-mint is in order? Besides, I’m sure that there are plenty of other folks out there like myself, who will continue to buy them to support the Girl Scouts even if they can get a cheap knock-off from Wal-Mart year around. To my mind, it’s less about the cookies than it is the cause.

Shandra Ree August 6, 2009 at 2:51 pm

I think this whole article is ridiculously blown out of proportion. I think the author needs to do some research before blaming Wal-Mart for knocking off cookies that Keebler has been making for years. Just because Wal-Mart is a large corporation, every time it adds to it’s inventory, someone things they need to bash down the company. This is a free capitalistic society. If you don’t like it so much- don’t shop there. Vote with your dollars. But please do your research before bashing a company that donates more to local communities, does more volunteer work, and has the largest recycling program of any corporation not soley devoted to those services. Those who buy Girl Scout cookies will still buy girl scout cookies. If the Keebler “Grasshopper” hasn’t hurt the cookie sales by now I am sure the GV brand won’t hurt the Girl Scout sales either. And by the way- Wal-Mart allows girl scouts to sell their cookies on their property without asking for any share of the money made or collected. And if the Girl Scouts need extra money- maybe they need to apply with the charity officer of their local Wal-Mart for one of the Thousands of yearly grants that EACH Wal-Mart gives out each year.

Lois August 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm

I believe this is a good thing. I like the grasshopper cookies and any type of cookie that will give me the thin mint quality and flavor with out having to take out a personal loan for a skimpy box of cookies will be nice. Oh, by the way yes GS discriminates. My sister had problems in school and they would not allow her in GS. She was not even allowed to stay in Brownies because of a learning disorder. We also had several ethnic families in the area but, unless the leaders liked the families they were totally shunned. This is why I dropped out of GS and never allowed my daughter to participate. Also, in defense of Walmart’s in our area they allow troops of GS to sell their cookies for the cookie season at all the locations.

Janelle August 6, 2009 at 2:59 pm

So, to steal your thunder…..

Keebler has been making similar cookies for years. You can buy cookies that are almost identical to Girl Scout cookies on any grocery store shelf. This is nothing new. It just sounds anti-Walmart, and a little bit of an attention grab.

And another thing… Either my taste buds are more refined, or the Girl Scout cookies recipes have changed, but actually believe that the quality of the cookies have gone down since my own Girl Scout days. They do not taste the same. I do buy a box of Samoas every year to support the girls, but just one box. The thin mints taste waxy.

Lois August 6, 2009 at 3:04 pm

CV Harquail——see you gave up trying to defend herself. Totally agree economy and war should be more news worthy.

alan August 6, 2009 at 3:05 pm

The “Girl Scout Organization” has been taking advantage of those young girls for years. And taking advantage of employess trying to sell cookies, i.e.Nabisco, Keebler, there is a noticable drop in regular sales when the “Girl Scouts” hit the streets. I hope Walmart makes it un profitable for those girls to be on corners, in front of every kind of retail establishment, and going door to door like Jaehova (?) witnesses.

LJ August 6, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Talk about doublespeak! You proclaim it is the “exclusivity” that sells the cookies, while there are similar cookies all over the place. Then you tout the fact that the GS are “AFAIK, GLBTQ-friendly/inclusive” (enough reason for me to refuse to support them), and almost in the next breath say that it is perfectly fine for a troop to refuse to accept a girl. Lady, You. Have. No. Argument.

jk August 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Get over it. Girl Scouts can raise money many ways. People will buy their cookies because they want to help- not because they have a monopoly on them. Stop whining about Wal-Mart. Everyone wants low prices- and you can’t pick and choose. If you don’t like it- don’t shop there. Stop trying to tell us how to run our lives and get your fat family back in the minivan.

Andrew August 6, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Finally,
I can get some freaking tagalongs year round. Perhaps the girscouts should wise up and let a national food store sell their cookies year round. The girlscouts could even partner with wallmart to sell official cookies. I can guarantee you that this would raise a whole lot more money. But no, the girlscouts want to teach the girls something about life by making their parents sell cookies for them at work. It’s completely rediculous.

Annette Schofield August 6, 2009 at 3:31 pm

I think there’s one aspect you might be overlooking. Girl Scout cookies, while tasty, are not necessarily purchased because they’re people’s favorite treat, and certainly not because they’re a bargain or even competitively priced (they never have been, even as long ago as when I started selling Girl Scout cookies 45 years ago).

I buy GS cookies every year, from neighborhood girls and from girls camped outside Wal Mart (!!) because I want to support the Girl Scouts. I seldom buy from other groups, but Girl Scouts always have my support. There have been years when several neighborhood girls sold cookies, and I was happy to buy a box from every one of them. Personally, my favorites are the Thin Mints and the shortbread cookies (replacements to the very similar Scott Teas I sold when I was a girl, though I thought the Scott Teas were better and was sorry when they changed them). If Girl Scouts sold cookies more often than once a year, I would undoubtedly buy them more often. But if knockoffs were available (I haven’t checked my local Wal Mart to see) I doubt if I would buy them. I’m just as happy buying Oreos (or knockoffs if they’re really well priced, but they aren’t QUITE as good as the real thing) the rest of the year (when I get cookies).

I doubt if the Wal Mart knockoffs will be as popular as they imagine. I also doubt they’ll cut significantly into the Girl Scout cookie sales. In fact, they might find they’re something of a PR mistake. People will always buy cookies from Girl Scouts, because they want to support the girls, not because they’ve been enduring Thin Mint withdrawal for 11 months.

Diane August 6, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Well…in reading some of these comments, I have to agree with the people who believe that the girls are used (exploited) to sell the cookies. I myself believe the Keebler cookie is just as good as the thin mints and more affordable. I also think Keebler makes a cookie similiar to the Tagalong as well, and if it’s not Keebler, someone does because I have had it.

I am by far a Wal-Mart fan, trust me, but if Target was doing it, would there be such a big deal made? Probably not. Because it’s Wal-Mart, it will make the news. The negativity will actually get more people to buy and try them.

All said, The Girl Scouts will not lose any money over this….People will still spend way too much money on their cookies once a year.

Yancy Wagner August 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Maybe the girl scouts will think twice about badmouthing Wally world when they give the girl scouts the boot from their properties. I cant imagine finally walking into and out of the store without getting belittled because I don’t buy a box of cookies from every girl scout every time I walk into or out of any Wal-Mart.

How many cookies will you sell if you don’t have access to Wal-Mart’s doors and patrons there ladies? I wonder if the Girl Scouts give out a “Don’t poo where you eat” badge?

Yancy

GS Forever August 6, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I hate to tell you this, but Wal-Mart isn’t the only one selling knock offs. I discovered Lemonades, PB Patty, Thin Mints & Samoas “wanna be’s” at Dollar General sold by Cloverdale. I am a girl scout leader and discovered these back in April just after cookie sales ended. They were being displayed as “new” items on the shelves. Although their brand of Peanut Butter Patty, Mint Thins and Caramel Fudge Rounds aren’t anything close to the GS version…the lemonade ones are pretty damn close!!!

Just like knock-offs of Oreo…they may look the same, but they just can’t beat the original recipe!

Lee August 6, 2009 at 3:54 pm

The Wal-Mart cookies are a lot better than what the author states in the article, and at half the price I don’t have to smash open my brothers change bank (like a junkie) to get them! Plus, I don’t have to deal with the annoying mothers (author) or their annoying daughters pushing their cookies at me anymore. Sounds like a win for Wal-Mart and America!

Frank Cranford August 6, 2009 at 3:57 pm

I think Walmart can without approval sell Girl Scout cookies . . . . . .but should give all profits to the Girl Scouts. Nothing wrong with that . . . . is it???

MrsMom August 6, 2009 at 4:07 pm

I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who buy cookies each year, especially those of you who aren’t related to a Girl Scout! I also want to thank all of you who are ready to defend the GS Thin Mint and the honor and purpose of Girl Scouts. Thank you!
And, just to validate the fakers on this blog, no Girl Scout Council Member would ever be offended by having to do a little PR because of the great support shown here. I think both the GS and Walmart should be thankful for the few PR from this blog.
Hope to see all of you this fall when our little girls are out selling their fall product! We know you’ll all be watching for us in the spring when we have the real deal cookies to sell to you! And, yes, my troop does hope to get one of those time slots in front of walmart’s doors!

james miller August 6, 2009 at 4:13 pm

i totally agree. walmart is a abusive company. they will destroy any hope of the girl scouts or your community of ever achieving any goals. just try to sell your cookies in front of walmart now, you’ll get a nice little, no thanks, we sell those now. chinamart needs to be put out of business, and the only way thats going to happen is to shop elsewhere in your community, dollar store, target, kmart. any place but chinamart. quit supporting china and buy american. who cares if it cost 25 cents more.

MW August 6, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Blah Blah Blah Target sells the same cookies, dont we have more pressing issues in this country right now

Gc August 6, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Awesome! Are they cheaper than girl scout cookies? I’m gonna have to go buy some

Samantha August 6, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Stores have been selling thin mint cookie forever!! This lady is just being silly!! Go to the dollar store they sell thin mints!! This is just too funny!!!

MM August 6, 2009 at 4:26 pm

In this day and age don’t you have better things to complain about? While I agree it sucks for the Girl Scouts at the same time there are far more important issues in this world! There are millions of impoverished children all over the world that will never even get the chance to be in Girl Scouts, and you’re worried about Wal-Mart ripping off the cookies!?! Or how about the starving kids who don’t even have clean drinking water nevermind a stupid cookie!! If everyone cried this much outrage over all the poor children and families in this world we’d have alot less starving kids. Get a life and get over it.

Sam Walton August 6, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Free enterprise is what it is. You shop at Wal Mart to get all your other stuff cheap, and now you are complaining about the cookies.

Gene August 6, 2009 at 4:31 pm

I’m just going to put it out there…

Why should the Girl Scouts be allowed to have a monopoly on any particular type of cookie? Why should they be exempt from competition in the marketplace?

I dislike Wal-Mart as much as anybody, but just because they made cookies similar to those the Girl Scouts sell, well that’s not a huge deal. How many Oreo knock-offs can you think of? There are a lot, right? Well – people still buy Oreos.

Kimerly Metcalf August 6, 2009 at 4:32 pm

I thought I would also mention Dollar General is also doing this!!! They are manufacturing cookies that resemble the lemonade, carmel and mint varities under their private label.

Lee August 6, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Kimerly Metcalf’s message brought to you by Dollar General.

james miller August 6, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Lee has been added to my communist list.

d August 6, 2009 at 4:36 pm

I once walked by the girl scouts harassing customers at the grocery store to buy their overpriced cookies in order to go in and buy Mint Oreos which in addition to being better than “Thin Mints” are also vegan, an option the Girl Scouts don’t offer.

Andy August 6, 2009 at 4:42 pm

There’s one paragraph in this entry that strikes me more than any other:
“Wal-mart can sell all the hunting equipment, cheap plastic gizmos and clothes made in sweatshops that it wants to sell. But why must they encroach upon the market of a non-profit? Why do they have to go after the Girl Scouts?”

I love this. Excellent propaganda, CV, just beautiful. Let’s examine this thoroughly.
“Wal-mart can sell all the hunting equipment, cheap plastic gizmos and clothes made in sweatshops that it wants to sell.” A good start. Connect Wal-mart to guns and killing with hunting equipment, imply that their products are shoddy and cheap*, and flat-out call the company evil with that sweatshop comment. Moving on, we read “But why must they encroach upon the market of a non-profit? Why do they have to go after the Girl Scouts?” That is, “Why must they be evil and specifically try to undercut us.” I believe this is the strongest piece of writing you had in this entire entry. And, now that I’ve torn it apart, I’d like to put it back together and analyze it as a whole. To paraphrase the paragraph: “I don’t mind if Wal-mart tries to undercut anyone else, but they’re being mean to me and people I like. Why must Wal-mart be evil and bad against me?” Funny how the paragraph loses its punch when read like that. It kinda makes you seem a bit petty and whiny.

I also find it funny that this is used to defend the Girl Scouts against Yume’s accusations: “Yume, sorry, but you cannot blame the organization itself for the lack of morals of a very small number of their volunteers.” Why is that funny? Well, do we have any atheists here? There must be one or two somewhere. Atheists, tell me how often you’ve heard this: “Whatever-your-name-is, you cannot blame the religion itself for the actions of a very small number of their members.” Why is this a valid defense for a non-profit non-religious organization when very few of us would take it as a defense for a non-profit religious organization?

Jotman August 6, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Great work, CV.

I can’t believe how many people leaving comments are defending Wal-Mart. Who could be bothered to defend them? It’s a bit suspicious, actually. Causes me to wonder if Wal-Mart might have encouraged its managers to spam some positive commentary…

Carol Ann August 6, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Ms. Harquail,
I think you have too much free time on your hands. Your claims against Wal-Mart are outrageous.
For many, many years, Keebler Co. has been selling grasshopper cookies that are almost an exact copy of thin mints except that the grasshopper cookies taste better and cost less.
Last week I bought some fudge-striped cookies at Wal-Mart; they were inexpensive, excellent tasting and I plan on buying them again.
Wal-Marts Peanut butter sandwich cookies were also excellent and only $1 a pkg.
The last time I bought girl scout cookies they were terrible. My husband used to love the plain shortbread cookies but they have changed for the worse and no longer taste the same. Actually, I thought the taste and texture were similar to animal crackers which I can buy for $1 a pkg if I want. I will no longer buy girl scout cookies.
Thank goodness for Wal-Mart. The cost of packaged cookies is getting out of hand. Wal-Mart is making cookies affordable for all of us. And, they are not nearly the first co. to make something similar to the girl scouts.

Apolinaras "Apollo" Sinkevicius | LeanStartups.com August 6, 2009 at 4:45 pm

My wife was a Girl Scout and I would credit (partially) that organization for how successful of a researcher, scientist, and overall a great woman she is. I don’t eat cookies or refined sugar stuff, but every year we loyally buy those cookies, because we want to support an inclusive great organization for women. I am willing to bet many successful business women could trace their selling skills to selling those cookies.

Do I see Wal-Mart as a threat to Girl Scouts… yes and no. Sure as heck we are not going to that store (ever), so $50-$100 our family send GS way is safe. But some people may not stock up on those cookies for the rest of the year, if they know there is a cheaper alternative. And if GS loose even 10% of sales, that will not be good for the troops, especially in the underprivileged areas.

barbara August 6, 2009 at 4:45 pm

You are so full of it…thin mints have been around for a long time.
You just want people to come to your blog.
Besides the Girl Scout mostly goes to corporate, so what’s the point.
Child Slave Labor, perhaps for corporate America?

Zeke August 6, 2009 at 4:46 pm

You are safe with me because I have never, ever bought anything at Wal-Mart and never will. I did go to the bathroom in one once (we met in the parking lot before we went camping and it seemed like the best place to do that before caravaning out into the wilderness). But I wouldn’t spend a penny in Wal-Mart, which i view as the most evil corporation on the planet.

Matt August 6, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Cry me a river, now build a bridge and get over it! It’s called free enterprise!

Lori August 6, 2009 at 4:49 pm

I love girl scout cookies and order dozen of boxes every year. Last year I ordered 200 box’s and sent them to the troops deployed.

MY only issue with the Girl Scout Organization.. Hey please sell them more then once a year. We look for other substitutes when yours aren’t available. So instead of looking at Wal mart as ripping you off, why not look at it as a business challenge and offer the real thing, more then once a year. Hate waiting a whole year for my box of thin mints.

Carolyn August 6, 2009 at 4:55 pm

I was a Girl Scout for more years than I can remember (though I’d guess around 11). I sold cookies every year; my mother was even a regional cookie mom. I remember well the stacks of boxes shoved into our little living room – I wanted to make a fort out of them.

But I think it says something when the retail market has caught up to incredibly high-grossing trends in fundraising. It means that something has gone mainstream, and if the fundraisers want to stay ahead, they need to change. When was the last time the Girl Scouts had a new type of cookie? Or sold something other than a cookie? They’re stuck in a rut, and it’s time for them to force themselves out of it.

Trix August 6, 2009 at 5:00 pm

GS cookies are ridiculously over priced and really don’t taste that good. I am currently a Girl Scout of seven years, soon to be eight, and the only reason I buy them is because I feel I should.

Besides, Girl Scouts aren’t all angels. One of my troop leaders once took at least one thousand dollars for uniforms and ran away with her husband who had just got out of the army. Another stole money when it was given to the girl scouts by a man who both had a granddaughter in Girl Scouts and was on some board of the county. Last years leader stole the money from the cookie sales, wouldn’t give a little girl, who sold around nine hundred dollars worth of cookies, the fifty dollars she was promised, and took all the cans that the girls scouts and teachers at our local school gave that was supposed to go to the food drive for herself. She also forced another Girl Scout leader out along with her daughter who had to change to a different school because of her.

I myself have been conned into participating in a talent show as the announcer. This I normally wouldn’t mind, but it was after I had refused ten times and the leader baited me into it. She started crying and saying how no one would help her with anything, be it in her house or with Girl Scouts. I ended up doing it had had a horrible time.

So in short I really despise the girl scouts even though I’m in them. They do have their moments, especially when you have friends with you, though.

Brooke August 6, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Maybe Walmart is not “ripping off” the girl scouts, maybe they are “ripping off” Keebler or one of the other thin mint type cookies. Ever think of that? Seems like the more likely scenario.

They have been known to make comparable store brand products. This is not an unusual practice for store brands to mimic the premium brands.

Target has it’s own store brands, as do meijer etc. Like everyone else said if another company did this would there be an out rage? Probably not.

FYI:
Little Debbie makes a cookie called ‘German Chocolate Cookie Rings’, which are pretty much the same as ‘Samoas’.

Keebler makes ‘Grasshoppers’ which are pretty much the same as ‘Thin mints’.
As well as the ‘Fudge Shoppe Peanut Butter Cookies’ that as quite similar to ‘Tagalongs’.

FAIL GS, Walmart wins on this one.

Brooke August 6, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Also, at $4 a box it is disgraceful that the troop selling the cookies will only get around 25 cents of that $4. I will not support that.

Anna August 6, 2009 at 5:28 pm

I don’t think that ya’ll understand that the money from cookie sales goes towards girl scout programs all year round. they practically fund girl scout camps to make them affordable for the girls to attend. i have worked as a horseback riding instructor at a gs camp for the last 10 years, and we would not be able to stay afloat with this economy if the cookie sales didnt help out. who knows what kind of a impact “knock-off” cookies will have, all i know is that everyone looks forward to girl scout cookie time…there’s just nothing quite like a gs cookie!

Beating the dead horse August 6, 2009 at 5:30 pm

I know others have mentioned it but Keebler makes both Thin Mint and Tagalong knock-offs and have for years. They also make one that is like a Tagalong but has caramel inside instead of peanut butter. I love those. So Walmart was already selling those cookies and so does Target and Albertsons and Kroger. Kebbler is not some small start up company either. It’s also a major corporation. So why get so upset at Walmart now? They have already been selling GS knock-offs. I just really don’t get the argument here. It was ok when Walmart sold GS knock-offs that were made by Kebbler but now that they’re making GS knock-offs (in plain packaging that mirrors that of the Kebbler cookie rather than GS packaging btw) it’s a major infraction? It makes no sense logically.

Beating the dead horse August 6, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Oh and my little girl is a Daisy Scout and last year I bought Kebbler knockoffs and GS cookies. I fully expect to do the same this year.

Coalfire August 6, 2009 at 5:34 pm

I would agree with the Goliath intruding upon a non-profit as being capitalist and greedy. However, any money taken away from an organization built on the support of innocent girls that directs it’s money to support abortion is not something I feel simpathy toward. Granted that this is a personal opinion, but if this is the arena the Girl Scouts want to get involved with then I guess all the other areas are fair play also.

mim August 8, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I have no lack of reasons to hate Wal-Mart, but are Girl Scout cookies really that exclusive? I love Thin Mints, but Girl Scout cookie sales are hard to find in my neighborhood, for someone with no Scouts in the family. If I can find Thin Mints I buy them; otherwise I buy Keebler Grasshoppers. I can’t tell the difference between them and Thin Mints.

Why haven’t people been blasting the owner of Keebler cookies (currently Kellogg) for undermining the work of the Girl Scouts?

wil August 9, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Are the girl scout cookies or the girl scouts a registered trade mark?
That is the most disturbing thing I’ve heard in a long time.
SUE THE BAS—-S.

HOW UN AMERICAN CAN YOU GET—SHAME ON WALMART
SHAME ON YOU IF YOU BUY THEM-I’M SORRY THAT IS OVER THE LINE

Eun Mei August 9, 2009 at 6:09 pm

While I am definitely no fan of Wal-Mart, I feel that you are taking this a little out of proportion. As I am a former Girl Scout, I remember lugging all those boxes of cookies with me door-to-door (until I got smart and only took the form with ;) ) being instructed to never take no for answer and do everything humanly possible to make a sale – even cry (I realize that my troop leader must have definitely been corrupted). Anyway, in my area Girl Scout cookies are only sold during March. After that, good luck finding them. They have also been very pricy, and while you don’t want to let a little girl down, down-sized cookies worth $3.50 a box is asking too much. Many people are a fan of Girl Scout cookies but like I said, they are too pricy, so I don’t understand what the big deal is. Many people have family members who are Girl Scouts so I gather they will always buy from then and I doubt Wal-Mart’s scheme will triple sales charts because while they may come close to a Thin Mint or a Tag-A-Long, they won’t be the same.
Every store has knock-offs, not just Wal-Mart. Nobody mentions Fruit Hoops compared to Fruit Loops or Tasty O’s to Cheerios or Marshmallow Charms to Lucky Charms. In the end it really does not matter because many people will stay true to name brands.

Saffy Ling Mackenzie August 9, 2009 at 6:13 pm

i would appreciate if you did not use “china price” on your blog.
as for wal-mart good for them! those girl scouts are always cyring and throwing useless tantrums for me to buy them!

Anonymous August 9, 2009 at 8:37 pm

You know what is the sad thing about this. Its that the GS will be asking WMT if they can sell cookies outside there doors and for donations. Thats what I call a hypocriyt. WAWAWAWA

JJ August 9, 2009 at 8:55 pm

A couple of the dollar stores (Dollar General and at least one other) have been selling knockoff Samoas for over a year now. Did I miss the outrage over that? I didn’t even check to see if they had any other cookie flavors that the Girl Scouts sell too.

Frankly, I think people who buy Girl Scout cookies every year will continue to buy them every year, Walmart or not. People who are feeling more and more that they are overpriced, even for charity, will continue to not buy them. I used to buy several boxes every year when they were $3/box. As the price has risen, I have purchased less and less. Last year I didn’t even bother.

Nobody made a stink about Keebler Fudge Shoppe emulating Girl Scout cookies. Everybody has missed Dollar General selling “Samoas”. So why start now on Walmart for emulating Fudge Shoppe?

Anonymous August 9, 2009 at 9:36 pm

it’s called a market place and thank god there are othe options. i was afraid i would have to bake my own tag-a-longs. *hugs her local wallmart*

l.buzbee August 9, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Now I REALLY have the best ever reason for NEVER shopping at wallyworld. What would old father walton think of this? Wait til my daughters hear of this, and all my cookie chairmen, all the little girls who work so hard, the leaders who volunteer to help girls, the Dad’s who have helped. I will never ever shop there, for sure.

Haley Gray August 10, 2009 at 12:08 am

I just finished a two year stint as an Area cookie manager- 750 girls, and 65 troops. My own daughters sell cookies. (This year they sold 2234 boxes between them)
The sale of the cookies is split roughly as follows in our council: ~1.00 to the baker to pay for the cookies (interbake foods makes abc cookies- there are two licensed bakers). ~ 1.00 to council for overhead (staff salaries, etc). ~1.00 for campgrounds, program, etc. ~.50 to the troop.

Incidentally, most of our absolute best cookie booths are in front of Wal-Marts, and I bless them every day for letting us have as many cookie booths as we did last year!

No. I did NOT set that goal for my girls to sell, and neither did I push them. In fact I tried to talk them out of it a few times! It did, however teach them a LOT of life skills: counting money, marketing your product, being polite, and _sticking with it_ even in the rain, cold, heat, and scorching sun.

As far as inclusivity goes.. I have 2 troops. Between them, I have had: 1 girl in a wheelchair, several with Autism, several with other learning disabilities, adhd, and you name it. Incidentally that girl in a wheelchair is one of our best cookie sellers, and she gets a huge kick out of doing it. (booths- not door to door)

George August 10, 2009 at 1:19 am

so i guess just because walmart sells a good tasting cookie that is why the uproar as I read it Get a life…..as I read other companys sell knock offs and it doesnt affect The Girl Scouts.. I am a male and became a GS leader just because I had a daughter and no troop for her now that was years ago but I see no problem with it as I buy them because they help the GS’s and not for the cookie ( not enough for the cost but for the support) Just support the GS and be happy

Scott Stratten August 10, 2009 at 10:42 am

Oh please…

How dare Wal-mart sell something people like??

WONT SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN???

If you want to support girl guides, buy the cookies.

Our cub scout troops here sell out apples during “apple day” but no one screams at the farmers who sell them roadside.

Victoria August 10, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Okay, FIRST of all, this is a free-market, capitalistic society. Wal-Mart is well within its rights as a corporation to make any kind of cookie it wants to. Second of all, it isn’t even REMOTELY marketed as a Girl Scout Cookie knock off and if it wasn’t for this “blogger” mom with [apparently] too much time on her hands running off at the mouth, I would have never even given these cookies a second glance. Now I’ve not only purchased them, I’ve informed friends, family and neighbors. I’m a single mom, one income home, disabled child. I have to wait, and wait, and wait, AND WAIT for the Girl Scout Cookie sales once a year to get my favorite cookies and if it wasn’t for income tax time, I wouldn’t be able to afford them THEN either. I shouldn’t fail to mention that the last time I checked, the Girl Scouts only make about twenty-five cents a box from their cookies – it’s a sham and a rip off for those girls to have to bust their buts for so little any way. If you want to put shame on anyone, why don’t they go back to the manufacturer of THE Girl Scout Cookies. Shame on THEM!!! THEY’RE the ones that are stealing from these children.

But I digress. If cookie mom would have just SHUT UP, I’m willing to bet that absolutely no attention or press would have been given to these cookies. When kids see a description like “peanut butter filled cookie”, or they see: Nutter Butter or OREO, which freaking cookie do you think they’re going to want???????

This dumb@$$ woman just gave Wal-Mart all the press and publicity it needed. The first night I went to check it out at my local Wal-Mart, there was a full shelf of these cookies. Last night when I went back to get some for one of my friends? I bought the last four packages that were on the shelf. Congratulations, Miss-Malcontent-I’m-Not-Happy-Unless-I’m-Complaining-About-Something – you’ve just done more harm than good. Too bad ignorance isn’t painful.

Jennifer August 11, 2009 at 5:10 pm

First, to those who offer GS troops use other forms of earning money – we do! We sell candy/nuts/magazines in the fall, have car washes, bake sales, tag sales, etc. However, our troop’s biggest money earner is always cookies sales. Why? People crave GS cookies, they want them and they are only around for a short time in each area (which is why we can’t sell them at every fair and festival year round). As a leader I would rather not sit outside a large chain store in the cold winter weather to offer a booth sale, but I do because it is for the girls. As a leader, I would rather not have my house over-run with cookies waiting to be delivered, but I do because it is for the girls. As a parent I would rather not call everyone I know and say enthusiastically, “The Cookies Are Here!”, but I do because it is for the girls. Yes, my daughters also go door-to-door every year in our neighborhood, but sales are really dropping from door-to-door sales for us. Last year we sold 7 boxes in a four hour span doing door-to-door while we sell an average of 50-100 boxes an hour at a booth sale. This is why less girls do the door-to-door and more do the booths. Wal-Mart may be mass producing a cookie similar to what GS offers, but I hope in the big scheme of things people will realize that the money they are spending on those cookies goes to help support an awesome program for the girls all over the USA, not to line the pockets of big business.

Jay Godse August 13, 2009 at 10:54 pm

If you want folks to link your site (as I did), you should remove all the stuff in the body tag that speaks of online casinos, debt consolidation, and pharmaceuticals. That was really offensive for an otherwise good post.
.-= Jay Godse´s last blog ..The Closet Environmentalist updated Tue Jun 30 2009 11:44 pm CDT =-.

CV Harquail August 14, 2009 at 8:41 am

Jay, thanks so much for the heads up. I have been plagued by link spam for a week now, and none of the fixes has held the spam at bay. I’ll get my WeFixWP friends back on the job. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness in letting me know.

DD August 14, 2009 at 8:59 am

OK, did all of you know that one of the companies that makes GS cookies is Little Brownie Baker and they are owned by Keebler? Interesting??????
Also, in Michigan GS troops earn .52 of each box of cookies sold. Yes, a part goes to suport our council too. Yes, a part goes to support GSUSA. Yes, a part goes to the baker. Yes, they are $3.50 a box here. Is that expensive, yes. BUT, so is the wrapping paper, popcorn, candy, nuts, cookie batter and everything else that is sold (yes by kids) as fundraisers for their schools, sport groups, dance groups, etc.
I have been a leader for 12 years. An area manager for 9 years. I believe in the PROGRAM. Selling cookies is one of the ways we fundraise. It is a very small part of the PROGRAM (i.e. 1 of the badges a girl can earn).
Is it a perfect program, heck no. But PLEASE show me any other program in the USA that is “perfect”. There will always be issues with any group because every person is different. Don’t hold GS program responsible for a volunteer that makes poor choices. People steal money (PTC, Sports groups, politics, etc.), people behaving badly is the world of which we live. But the GS PROGRAM, is in place for GIRLS. In all of my years, the problems and issues have been 99% from adults.

Adam W August 14, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I really do not see the issue here. Why is your current cause going after Wal-Mart when other cookie mfgs have had similar cookies all this time?

Thin Mint -> Keebler Grasshopper
Tag-A-Longs -> Keebler Fudge Shoppe PB Filled
Thanks-A-Lot -> Keebler Fudge Shoppe Fudge Stripes
Do-Si-Dos -> Nutte Butter Cookies

Wal-mart’s Great Value brand also makes Shortbread cookies, lemon and peanut butter sandwich cookies, and a lot of other similar cookies….yet you seem to a negative opinion whereas other mfgs such as Keebler, Nabisco, etc are not complaining. PEOPLE WILL STILL BUY GIRL SCOUT COOKIES, just as some people will still buy “name brand” over the “generic” Great Value brand on items.

You get my point but the list goes on. even though these are still readily available all year long, I do still buy Girl Scout cookies. I get that you and your organization sell them as a means of funding, but the competition has always been there with other cookie companies.

it seem you or your organization have “beef” with Wal-mart, and it seems as if this might not be the battle to choose. The reason I say this is that EVERY one of my local Wal-Marts has Girl Scouts selling cookies outside of their doors when they are “in season”. How much lost revenue would you incur if Wal-Mart suddenly banned the sales of those cookies outside of their doors as a result of this? They are just providing another cookie as all of the others I listed are doing.

Please explain further why you think this is/will be so harmful to you and your organization.

Lee August 14, 2009 at 2:48 pm

My freedom of speech has been violated! Half my post have been deleted and all the funny ones I might add. I think the author of this article is against fair market capitlism… and extremly funny comments.

crazysox August 14, 2009 at 3:38 pm

You are all so worried about the cookies… what about the girls, all they want to do is have fun, yes the cookie money helps but, you do what you can with what you have!!!! Our troop is all about Community Service!!!!

Traci August 19, 2009 at 11:16 pm

The dollar store around here has been selling Thin Mint knockoffs for years. I swear they even come out of the same bakery. But, lets jump on Walmart. I despise Walmart personally (which is why I shop at the dollar store), but to jump on them for doing something other stores have been doing for quite some time is ridiculous. The dollar store even has OTHER girl scout cookie knockoffs, too.

mark August 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Finally- I can buy my favorites all YAER ROUND

Ruth August 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Shoping WalMart is like shopping for at any local store. All stores want to be your one stop store. But start looking at the stores with Dollar in the name and your local grocery too. You will find some other knock-offs in the cookie isle.
Today the corporate greed is growing so fast that they all want a piece of anyones sales.
Its too bad that fund raising has ended.

B August 20, 2009 at 6:50 pm

It is interesting that the lesson from this article is one of protectionism. That for some reason the GS should have a monopoly on particular cookies. While it is a valuable business lesson for the USA, where many companies compete in the political arena instead of the marketplace, it is IMO the wrong lesson. It says that product isn’t what is important, that what is important is shaping the use of political power to protect your market from competition. It’s what the big banks and big oil do. They buy influence and soon restrictive laws block competition and bailouts come when they screw up.

Competition will exist eventually even if there is a tiny bit of a free market. The way to deal with it is to simply be better and not sit still. That is if the lesson to be taught is one of productive business practice.

admin August 20, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Hi B-

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, esp. because you bring up some points that have been buried under the more reactionary comments.

Approaching the situation for the perspective of whether or not any seller should assume to be able to sustain a situation where they are the solo seller (or for that matter, just the dominant one), the conventional conclusion would be that (ceterus paribus) a monopoly is “bad”– but the important next question is, bad for whom? In this case, who is being hurt by the GS having the dominant thin mint or tagalong cookie? Would it really hurt the consumer, or Walmart, to choose not to compete against the Girl Scouts?

From the perspective of political power, you sound like you suggesting that the Girl Scouts are somehow more powerful (politically, economically, socially) than Walmart (?). You could argue that, esp. given the emotional connection and loyalty that many have towards the GS. But, as you can see from the comments before yours, Walmart apparently has ‘god’ on its side too. If the GS have any power, it is all social power, like intrinsic motivation; but it would be interesting to see who would fare better in an empirical test of ‘political power’.

There is a ‘free market’ lesson in here– but I don’t think it’s the one you’re looking for. In the theoretical construct known as the ‘free market’, competition between businesses is unfettered by restrictive laws. But, and very importantly, it *is* constrained by moral values and social norm about what is “right” to do. Even Adam Smith will tell you that as humans and as members of society, business managers possess a moral sense and they are subject to the moral demands made by society, both of which (rightly) exert meaningful normative influence on management decision making.

This is not to say that the Girl Scouts shouldn’t be doing a better job to diversify their fundraising (and they are) or to say that Walmart can’t make the cookies it wants to (because it will). The real issue is that, if Walmart wants to be seen as being ‘good’ and ‘moral’ and authentic according to the claims Walmart is making about itself as a citizen, it should explicitly consider these norms and moral demands (like, go compete against another company, or be really innovative and produce snickerdoodles, a cookie no one else manufactures) when it decides what other community members it competes with.

Jason August 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm

GIRL SCOUT COOKIES ARE A SCAM!
GOOD FOR WALMART!
At least in Canada. 12 boxes of cookies that sell for $4 each bring in only $0.50 profit from each box. $6 profit… The cookie company is the ones making money on this fundraiser…
Scouts have Apple Day which brings in over $30 profit per Scout and only a few hours of work! Just because this Girl Scout Cookies is a tradition, doesn’t mean it should continue…
Congrats to whoever made this cookies and congrats to walmart distributing them!

Sam Walton August 22, 2009 at 11:06 pm

I am ashamed to have the same name as the founder of Wal-Mart. I think it’s time to shut them down once and for all. Please people, if you care for America and American small business, don’t shop at Wal-Mart!

christi August 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm

I love girl scout cookies but I hav not seen anyone selling them for years & I work with kids, if u hav to buy them off the web that would stink. I think pushing children to sell is awful but some kids love to they where born to sell & it teaches them about maketing, sellin,sales bugets etc. & that is good!

ex girl scout August 23, 2009 at 7:25 pm

first off when i was in girl scouts we sold cookies calenders and magazines and had fundraisers so don’t tell me all there money comes from cookies we made more money on ether things and with all the new sells rules girls are lucky to sell one box and that’s to mom and dad also i live where we cant get girl scout cookies so im glad wall mart has thin mints. and girl scouts is not what it was when i was in it it sucks and they are bad role modules on are kids i think wall mart should run girl scouts out of cookie sells when i was a girl scout it was fun and we learned allot about how to be good people but now girl scouts and boy scouts are just money hungry rich people that teach are kids to be stuck up snobs that think they are better then all people and they teach are kids to trample on the little people to get to the top wile taking are hard earned money from are kids there like a colt they make parent spend lots of money on 30hr classes far from home that have to be taken often just so we can take are kids camping and teach them life skills we don’t need the scouts to do that we can just get are kids and there friends together and teach them all the old good ways of scouting are self. with out spending hundreds of dollars a year to do it.

Veronica August 24, 2009 at 9:43 am

OK, as girl scout my self I can see where you coming from , but COME ON!! Walmart has been making tagalong-esque cookies since before I was a girl scout. And Keeber Grasshoppers , have you forgotten them too? I don’t think you are very observant to have only JUST noticed these things. Personally, I would rather give the money I save buying Walmart’s cookies to the troop, because they will get more money for them (I hate the over-priced Little Brownie Bakers). In a related Issue Can you believe that GSUSA banning the girls from holding bake sales
???!!!!! That is just wrong and ridiculous!

Vicky August 24, 2009 at 9:47 am

Girl Scout cookies are too expensive, and they’re too unhealthy. Maybe if the Girl Scouts sought to set a good example by selling something healthy, they’d get more support. All they’re teaching young girls is that they can get what they need by peddling poison.

Cheryl August 24, 2009 at 9:48 am

Oh please. Everyone should get over themselves on this one. People support the Girl Scouts because they are The Girl Scouts and will buy cookies as part of an annual fundraising activity. Walmart has other problems that deal with labor issues. So if people are not going to Walmart in support of the human labor that is being mistreated by management they will not suddenly become overwhelmed by this new offereing and go in just to get some wack fake cookies.

Can we find another issue to b*(tch and moan about please?

Eileen Wolf August 24, 2009 at 9:57 am

Girl Scout cookies are way to expensive! Now when I was a kid, we sold them pretty cheap but, who can afford them now? I buy one box from a little girl next door, just for her but, I will never do it after she quits. I love Wal-Mart because it saves me and my family money! I used to shop at the local grocery store but, those owners wiould not support the local businesses by putting an ad in one of their booklets when they had a state convention! I have not been in that store in over two years! Why support the locals if they do not support their own businesses? I drive an extra 5 miles but, to me it is worth it! If people want business, support your local businesses and local charities. The Girl Scouts in not local! It goes off somewhere we have no idea where!

(Note, if you are interested, it’s very easy to know where the GS cookie money goes. 20% of the price of the box goes to the troop. Another 10% goes to the local council. The rest actually pays for the cost of making and distributing the cookies. The national GS association makes no $ off the boxes per se, they receive a licensing fee from the cookie bakeries. The bakeries do make a small profit from the cookie sales. )

cml August 24, 2009 at 11:07 am

Many different grocery chains and national brands offer their own label, or “knock-offs” of Girl Scout Cookies, so let’s be honest – the real purpose of this blog was to bash WalMart.

(Note: actually, if you read to the end, you’ll see that the real purpose was/is to raise the questions of (1) for profits going into competition against non-profits, and (2) asking whether Walmart’s choices support its claims.)

Girl Scout cookies are offered once a year – and if you don’t know a GS or happen across a table in front of the neighborhood grocer or WalMart, you’re out of luck.

Two chains in my area, as well as WalMart, offer similar cookies to Thin Mints, Tagalongs, the old-time sandwich cookies (maybe these were too close to Oreos, so the GS quit offering them???) and my personal favorites, the now discontinued shortbreads with the sugar on top. There was no outrage from the Girl Scouts over those cookies, and they’ve been on the shelves for quite some time.

I think we all need to get real here. Those of us who support scouting will continue to purchase GS cookies (or anything else) during the sale each year. And some of us will continue go to WalMart (or other stores) to purchase similar cookies throughout the year. although the GS organization may not want to hear this, most people don’t limit their cookie intake to the March cookie sale.

Janey27 August 24, 2009 at 11:53 am

It seems to me that you’re making a bigger deal of the situation than is called for. The Girl scouts do not have a patent on mint and peanut butter cookies. It is more likely that they have a patent on the names “thin mint”, etc. It’s quite rude to attack Wal-Mart because they made their own brand of cookies, because they “look like” the Girl Scouts cookies. How childish is that?

(Do you really think that it is ‘rude’ to ask a company to think about the impact of its actions on the community?)

And what a poor example this makes to girl scouts, to give them the impression that it’s ok for them to have a monopoly on mint and peanut butter cookies. Or to attack others because “you had the idea first”. Come on. Perhaps it’s time for the Girl Scouts to get into other fundraisers as well?

DIANA SCHREIBER August 24, 2009 at 1:40 pm

don’t be too hard on walmart. they are not the first to make knock-offs of the gs cookies. i have seen them in supermarkets for years. why is everyone up at arms now?

Melody August 24, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Hard to believe that everyone is in such a uproar over this…I have seen other stores that sell similar cookies to the ones that Girl Scouts sell and have been selling them for some time- Dollar General is one-theirs taste so much like the GS ones that I wonder if they are made by the same bakery! I never heard anyone complaining about that. People who want to buy Girl Scout cookies will continue to buy them and just because someone has been selling something for a long time- especially something they don’t make and that they only sell once a year- doesn’t give them the “right” to say no one else can market similar products. This is America the last time I checked and it is a free market system. If you don’t like WalMart don’t shop there but I do and I will buy what I want from any store I CHOOSE to shop at. Everyone has that choice ! There are more important things to be concerned about in the world today and besides that I really doubt that WalMart selling similar cookies is going to bring down the Girl Scout organization. Seriously- come on!

Deborah August 24, 2009 at 2:14 pm

WHAT NEXT ???? Walmart is about to push it too far – they have tried to get into every small business around !! I promise to never (I said NEVER) buy anything at Walmart that I can get in my hometown from a small hometown business!!! Folks, these are your friends and neighbors trying to make an honest living ! I am a barber/stylist and they have tried to get part of that too ! I do not understand why they keep doing this ? They once promised to never carry products not “MADE IN THE USA” Check out the made in stickers and see how many you actually find ! I WILL NEVER NEVER BUY THE GIRL SCOUT COOKIE KNOCKOFFS – HOW DARE THEY ?!!!

Cheryl August 24, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Not everyone is a supporter of child labor! These troops can not choose to sell cookies THEY are required to sell! Starting at the age of $ years old and very little actually goes to the troop. I was a leader for several years and woke up to the fact that Girl Scouts and not everything they appears. People have the right to create and sell products and just because this is a fund raiser does not make them wrong!!.

A August 24, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Why are you giving Wal-Mart advertising space? I didn’t even know that the Wal-Mart version existed until you brought it up.

Luxor August 30, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Screw the girl Scouts. Honestly, what a scam. Good on Walmart.
Nobody should be allowed a monopoly.

MIke September 4, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Thanks for letting me know wal mart sells these now! I’d rather go there than wait for the girl scout overlords decide when parents will be able to do all the work and sell the cookies themselves

MIke September 4, 2009 at 7:56 pm

also, I didn’t know girl scouts had a monopoly on mint chocolate cookies.

lisa September 9, 2009 at 11:48 am

This is the only campaign the Girl Scouts have to raise money for their troop to go camping, horse back camps, etc. Their one and only big fund raiser and Wal-mart has to take that away! Thee are lots of cookies the can copy so why tak this away from a GREAT ORGANIZATION??????????????

Linda September 11, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Although I do support Girl Scouts, have for almost 40 years, Walmart isn’t the first company to sell cookies that replicate Girl Scout cookies. For years, I’ve been able to get a Thin Mint fix at my local grocery store. Not quite as good as the GS original, but close enough for my sweet tooth.

Anonymous September 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm

For everyone questioning the “grasshopper” Keebler knock offs, they reason why they are able to create this carbon copy cookie is because they are owned bu Kellogg’s, the number one producer of girl scout cookies.

Mindy September 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm

I am the mother of a Brownie scout. I do not see this making any difference whatsoever in the sales of the cookies. Girl Scouts sell their cookies door to door, office to office, person to person, and in front of every grocery store in town. They sell them only for a few weeks a year. Its ridiculous to think that the cookie buying public will buy the Wal-Mart cookies all year and thus not crave the GS cookies enough to buy them when they come out. They’ll simply buy MORE cookies not less. People who buy GS cookies, have a set amount they can spend on the cookies the date that they order them. I for instance, would still spend about $35.00-$50 on the cookies even if I can buy a similar tasting cookie at other times of the year. Maybe the taste-alikes will actually cut into Oreos bottom line. Maybe they’ll remind people of their love for the GS cookies, spurring them to buy more GS cookies. Cookie buyers will buy cookies at other times of the year. So I suspect that thin mint lovers will buy the WalMart cookies instead of say, Oreos or Keebler. They’ll still buy the set amount they buy from the girl scouts every year.

Mindy September 22, 2009 at 6:42 pm

By the way Janey27. The Girl Scouts own a TRADEMARK, on the names Little Brownie Bakers, Tag-alongs, Thin Mints, Samoas, Girl Scout Cookies and Scout Cookies. Its on the box, which I still have some left here. Patents would apply to the machinery used to make the cookies, if they indeed own a patent on their machines or recipes.

Anonymous September 22, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Girl and Volunteer
You have more problems than Walmart selling cookies. Girl Scouts is not what it seems. Girl Scout Councils have girls selling cookies to make them a profitt for a non-profitt orginazation. For a look and big paying salaries to directors.

Why do Councils get more money from the cookie sales than Girl Scout Troops? If girls are selling the cookies why sould the council get the bigger profitt? They are not using that money for girls.
Are councils offering free programs?
Do councils allow you to make copies of materials for your meeting for free?
Are girl allowed to attend camp for free?
Does anyone from the council help you with your troop meetings?
Does the council provide art and craft supplies, snacks for your meeting.
Are you allowed to use Girl Scout property for free.

If doner are giving money ask why it is not used to help the girls/troops.
Start asking questions, get involved, ask questions.

Dont be surprised if you ask too many questions or the ones they dont like they try to get rid of you as a volunteer.

Teri September 24, 2009 at 10:58 am

Funny how people jump on Walmart. Dollar General has been selling knock-off Girl Scout cookies for several years now under the Clover Valley brand. If you’ve never made homemade ice cream using a box of the knock-off thin mints, you don’t know what you are missing. My daughter is 9 and the first time we made home made ice cream for her birthday party, we used those cookies. It was for her 3rd birthday. So, they’ve been selling them for at least 6 years.

bob September 28, 2009 at 7:24 am

I’m not for or against walmart but come on already with this.The writer should think of something else to attack.Anyone can market anything in this country.As far as the girl scout cookies,they really are just for show,they lost their taste years ago.We STILL buy them, as do most of use because it’s a good cause! I doubt people will avoid buying,because walmart is cheaper!. Please…….

Marie September 28, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Buying cookies is not supporting Girl Scouts it is supporting the Council.
I will never buy another Girl Scout cookie because the money is not going to the girls.

Beth Vigeant September 28, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Here’s hoping that EVERYONE sees the Documentary: “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices”
When it come to the HUGE profit that this company makes, it is absolutely horrible the effect on families being paid minimum wages and not enough health insurance for ANYTHING!! Of course the out of country manufacturing is a huge kick in the American pocket too!!

Beth Vigeant September 28, 2009 at 6:17 pm

In regard to cookies, I grew up with Boy Scout “Thin Mints” before ever having a Girl Scout one!! There are SO many varieties of Mint Cookies too!!

Cookie Mom October 1, 2009 at 4:50 pm

The people who have posted comments saying that girl scout cookie money doesn’t go to the girls apparantly don’t have a clue. I am the cookie coordinator for my daughter’s troop so I have been responsible for collecting and depositing the cookie money. Our percentage is deposited directly into our troop’s bank account for use by our girls. Each girl earns cookie ‘dough’ for selling cookies which is basically a gift card that they can use to purchase girl scout materials, uniforms, etc. And yes the Council gets a bigger percentage of the funds. They should because they plan, manage and support all the activities and camps that are available to all the girl scout troops in the area. Why do so many people think there is something wrong with that?

Some people buy cookies because they love the cookies, some because they just want to support girl scouts. If you don’t want to buy them, then don’t. If you feel ‘guilted’ into buying cookies, maybe you should try to figure out why you feel that way. I could not care less about Wal-Mart and what they sell. I would bet that most people who shop there probably wouldn’t buy girl scout cookies anyway.

Dale October 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm

I am told that the local Girl Scout troups get to keep about 35 cents from the sale of each box of cookies. If this is true, then in my humble opinion, the true evil shake-down artist here is not Wal-Mart, but the Girl Scout national organization. The local troups should buy the cookies from Wal-Mart and sell them instead.

[Note: The GS troops themselves get 20-25% of the retail price, the local council gets another 20-25%, and the bakery gets the rest. The National GS association gets a licensing fee from the bakeries which (one assumes) the bakers build into their cost structure. The licensing fee is a flat rate each contract and is not connected to a price per box. FYI. cvh]

Dale October 6, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Oh, I forgot to add that Dollar General is copying at least 4 different Girl Scout cookies: the Samoas/Caramel DeLites, thin mints, the ones with peanut butter inside, and the lemon sandwich cookies. So Wal-Mart isn’t the only commercial copier of Girl Scout cookies. Keebler makes a thin-mint cookie too, to don’t forget to go off on the deep end over them as well.

Orus October 17, 2009 at 10:54 am

Many commenters have observed Wal Mart is not the only retailer to copy the Girl Scout cookie product, but I think it is important to emphasize that Wal Mart, with its unequaled scale of operations, is doing more to commoditize the traditional Girl Scout product than any other retailer. Keebler, Dollar Stores, even local shops have similar products, but their brand identity associates a specific value proposition to the cookie product, essentially differentiating themselves from the Girl Scout value proposition. Wal Mart however, with its “value” wholly predicated on price, has effectively commoditized the previously value-laden Girl Scout cookie. I would propose that the frustration so many people feel is a sense of betrayal that the Girl Scouts, an organization whose value has nothing to do with price-sensitivity for its products, is co-opted by a global retailer diluting a non-profit’s products’ value.

Jessica October 18, 2009 at 7:06 pm

I’m coming in extremely late to this conversation but am I the only one who doesn’t see this as a bad thing? I was a GS and sold cookies. My troop leaders turned that time period into a financial lesson.

Why not step it up and teach the girls about the competitive marketplace that we have. Without it we would be dominated by huge businesses and there would be no room for the small people like me. Teach the girls that in order to compete with these large marketplaces, you have to have a solid product (like the GS cookies), and a marketing plan. Allow the girls to build a marketing plan. Basic things like selling in front of Wal-Mart, visiting x number of houses, etc.
.-= Jessica´s last blog ..Homemade Laundry Detergent (Sample Size) – Shipping Included =-.

cv October 20, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Hi Orus-
It’s crazy that it took over 200 comments before someone (you!) reflected that they understood that Walmart is attempting to re-commodify a valued, branding product, and that this is especially an issue becuase of Walmart’s market strength. I think that, when I wrote the post, I was assuming that readers would know enough about marketing to ‘get’ this without me having to say spell it out. Too bad I didn’t have your comment to put right in the post!
And, I think you put the finger on the emotion– betrayal. That’s not how they (walmart) told us they were going to act.
Thanks for getting right (back) to the heart of the matter with your comment.
cvh

cv October 20, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Hi Jessica-
Your suggestion that the GS craft this into a larger marketing/business lesson is a terrific way to make lemonade. (I think that some troops have considered this as they’ve set their plans.) Unfortunately, it doesn’t mitigate the big problems (1) the erosion over time of the GS cookie ‘brand’ and their ability to charge a price higher than Walmart (see Orus’ point above), and (2) that even doing their best, the GS can’t compete with Walmart and win b/c girl scouts aren’t retailers– they’re girls!
[Too much cookie selling distorts their mission.]
The GS have been working hard at the national level to expand their fundraising efforts beyond cookies, to make them less vulnerable to moves like Walmart’s, but still….
Thanks so much for sharing your idea–
cvh

Dawn October 23, 2009 at 10:30 pm

” Our percentage is deposited directly into our troop’s bank account for use by our girls. Each girl earns cookie ‘dough’ for selling cookies which is basically a gift card that they can use to purchase girl scout materials, uniforms, etc. And yes the Council gets a bigger percentage of the funds. They should because they plan, manage and support all the activities and camps that are available to all the girl scout troops in the area. Why do so many people think there is something wrong with that?”

Good point. I’m Girl Guide leader, the Canadian equivalent of the Girl Scouts and part of the same international organization. We sell the thin mints as well and I do hear some people who choose to explain their unwillingness to buy our cookies (I’m not sure why just saying, “No thank you” wouldn’t do) with the old, “The local girls get only a bit of the profit.”

What they don’t seem to understand is what you pointed out, that the cookie money that goes up the GG chain funds camps, training for leaders, special events, networking and administration and all the things that, even if girls got all the profit for their own troop, would be beyond their reach financially. And it’s really not such a bad things for girls to learn that fundraising isn’t just about meeting your own personal needs as a troop but about also helping support the Guiding community as a whole, about supporting something bigger then yourself.

As for those complaining about the Girl Guide or Scout cookie prices, good grief. You’re making a charitable donation to a worthy organization and getting a box of cookies in return. Where else could you spend so little, help support girls in your community AND get a treat in return?

Now excuse me. I have some thin mints that are calling my name. :)
.-= Dawn´s last blog ..I Have a Dishwasher =-.

Betty Pollard October 31, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Of course I agree with you on Walmart that it is a stupid thing to do to the girl scouts but I get upset with the girl scounts and boy scouts more.. I am a leader and I still get mad when the uniforms and patches are so expensive. They get our stuff made over in china too..I love scouts and believe in them but the reason some girls don’t get the opportunity to join is that the uniforms cost too much and the books do too. We make millions on the cookie sales so it looks like their merchandise like the uniforms be more affordable. Just think how many more cookies they would sell if they had more scouts. But even scouting is getting commercialized and expensive to participate in. Yes I’m upset with Walmart about taking their cookie recipe. But the bigger picture is SCOUTING ITSELF. Think about it..Just check out the cost for a girl to join and why is it that high? Go back to the old way and sell the material so we could make them for all girls wanting to join.

Anonymous November 9, 2009 at 11:23 am

Cookies are really bad for you.

Anonymous November 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Talk about the salaries the top leadership @ the Girl Scouts’ make…i.e. CEO makes over 400K a year.

How many boxes of cookies would a girl have to sell to make 400K?

Nicholas November 21, 2009 at 7:52 pm

To be perfectly honest, I really do not really see a problem with this, nor would I actually be surprised if Wal-Mart did intentionally try to reap a profit at the expense of the Girl Scouts. However, I have to say that the Girl Scouts do charge a fairly extravagant cost for their cookies. I realize that the proceeds benefit the girls, but does that mean that the girl scouts should have exclusive rights to all mint-flavored wafers dipped in chocolate? I would hope not, I don’t think there’s a patent on the cookies. Wal-Mart wants to sell these similar cookies at a reduced price, then let them. If people want to donate to the Girl Scouts, they can still do it by buying the cookies from the organization, or they can even make direct donations. If they just want to eat mint-chocolate wafers… why must they wait for the Girl Scouts?

Chaos December 10, 2009 at 11:46 pm

First i’d like to point out, everyone saying that cv harquail, “has no life”, all she’s trying to do is infrom people whats going on, if your going to sit there and banter her for INFORMING the public, maybe your the one who needs to “get a life”

Second now to comment on some comments:

to mom101, you are aware that without knock off’s we’d be paying a thousand dollars for a pair of jeans?
we need knockoffs in order to survive in a capitalist country.

I believe Gene put it best “Why should the Girl Scouts be allowed to have a monopoly on any particular type of cookie? Why should they be exempt from competition in the marketplace?’

Jotman is this serious, “I can’t believe how many people leaving comments are defending Wal-Mart. Who could be bothered to defend them? It’s a bit suspicious, actually. Causes me to wonder if Wal-Mart might have encouraged its managers to spam some positive commentary”
do you really think walmart has nothing better to do than sit on the internet all night searching for threads to defend them selves?

to cv harquail, “The real question is whether WalMart should *choose* to compete w/ the Girl Scouts by producing and selling 2 cookie types that are so much like the iconic Girl Scout Thin Mints & Tagalongs.”

Hell yes, walmart should be able to sell whatever it wants, i actually believe they should make MORE knockoffs. We live in a capitalist country if you don’t like it then leave, its that simple, if the girl scouts want to compete then sell year round.

I, and MANY of my close friends have been saying for years, “why won’t somebody make knockoff cookies” and finally someone has, i love walmart its got what i want at a great price, it doesn’t get more american than walmart.

by the way i LOVE how all the counselor and moms say the girls love learning the selling and money managment experience, yet there are alot of former girl scounts posting how they HATE cookie season.

o and before all of you ANTI-Walmart people decide to spam my email with Hate mail, i signed up with a backup email that i dont bother to check so have fun writing hate mail to a brick wall.

p.s. GO WALMART MAKE SOME SAMOAS!!!

Sarah December 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Okay. So I just had to input my opinion. I don’t think its going to matter too much that wal-mart is selling the cookies. I strongly believe it is the idea of girl scouting and the effort put into selling the cookies that sell the cookies, more than the tastes of the cookies.

I just had to also comment on all the negativity that people have experienced in scouts. I was a scout for 13 years, and still volunteer with other troops. I know that my troop leaders never turned anyone away for race, disability, etc. I find it ridiculous that people would do that in the first place, but I understand it happens. However it just needs to be remembered that the bad troops are outnumbered by the good troops with wonderful leaders and enthusiastic girls.

Linda December 31, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I see the author’s point but do not agree. I, as a troop cookie manager, think it’s great that Wal-Mart is selling such a similar product. Perhaps people have tried the Wal-Mart version at the cheaper price and come cookie time, would prefer to buy them from a Girl Scout so her troop can benefit from it. At $3.50 a box, most people stick to their tried and true favorites instead of trying the newer and/or less popular ones. Granted, thin mint is definitely a popular one and most people have probably had one at one time or another, but many people buy GS cookies because of the support they provide to the girls and their troops (as well as councils) NOT because it is a “good deal”. If that was the case, most fundraisers would not work so well.

And if there are some people who love buying a similar GS cookie at Wal-Mart for a lower price instead of buying actual GS cookies, perhaps our girls out there selling could use that as an opportunity to share what our council calls “Cookie Share”- a means for people to buy cookies that will in turn be donated to a local community group (Meals on Wheels, firefighters, police departments, abuse victim shelters,etc…).

I don’t think Wal-Mart is against Girl Scouts or their annual cookie sale. Our local Wal-Marts allow GS to take over the front of their stores for several days/weekends during cookie sale time and let them set up booths. Cookies are not a trademarked GS thing. GS started off selling cookies that troops made themselves and sold to their local community. Because it proved to be such a great fundraiser for those troops, it took off to turn into what we have today. My freezer only holds so much- I would be willing to try Wal-Mart’s chocolate mint cookies at some point in the future when I have run out of my personal stock of GS Thin Mints.

Linda December 31, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Forgot to address one thing that bothers me from previous posters who were Girl Scouts and hated to sell cookies…

in our council (can’t speak for others but assume it’s the same way), troops have the option to decide to sell cookies as a troop. at the troop level (if the troop chooses to participate), parents have the OPTION to have their daughter participate in the cookie sale. i would hope that no one would force their daughter to participate. our troop is a newly formed troop and ever since the very first information meeting (before we had our first official troop meeting), every time we have gathered with the girls, many of the GS have mentioned how excited they are that they will get to sell cookies this year. as GS cookie time is fast approaching for us, each girl is setting their own goals and i look forward to seeing the girls work hard to achieve it.

thomas January 8, 2010 at 1:46 am

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lynn January 18, 2010 at 4:37 am

pssst if you really want to get cookies close to the girl scout version of a thin mint, tagalog or samo and do not want to buy from walmart or keebler…then buy the clover valley brand @ dollar general.

Anonymous Ann January 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm

First of all, I’ve read some comments about the Girl Scout Cookie Sale being child labor and as a volunteer I have to say I’m really offended. The girls get together at the beginning of each year and make plans for their year. Then they set goals and decide how much money it’s going to take to make their dreams a reality. Then they go raise the money to make that happen… learning to be completely self-sufficient and responsible for their own program. Someone said it already, but ultimately they are selling cookies to make money for themselves. There are no shareholders making money off of these girls.

Someone also said that the girls only make a tiny percentage off of each box sold. I guess if you look at it that way, yes, each troop makes only a percentage off of the cookies. But 85% of cookie sales stays with the organization… LOCALLY. The local council serving local girls keeps 85% of cookie profits and the rest goes to the baker for supplying the cookies. Of that 85%, the girls keep a portion themselves to spend as they choose (and keep in mind many make donations and/or turn around and serve their community with their profits), the troops in a geographic region (like a county) keep a portion to serve the Girl Scout program in their immediate area and the remaining amount goes to the LOCAL council to serve all the girls in their jurisdiction. A very small percentage of that (like 8-10%) actually pays salaries, which is a necessity to keep the organization running. Most of it pays for programs for the girls, financial assistance for the girls, maintaining camps and properties for the girls, training leaders for the girls… are you seeing a trend here? Even if they don’t individually keep every cent they bring in, it still goes back to them.

Finally, don’t forget that the sale is about so much more than money. It’s about the goal setting and financial planning I talked about earlier. It’s about learning to be an entrepreneur. It’s about developing marketing skills. It’s about a shy little girl getting up enough courage to speak to a customer, and then being so proud of herself after she made the sale AND figured out the correct change on her own (my daughter). There is a bigger picture here… it’s so much more than a “fund raiser”. It’s an important piece of the leadership program.

So having said all that, shame on Wal-Mart. Shame on you for taking money away from an organization that is trying to give girls the leadership skills they need to succeed in the world. True karma would be a Girl Scout growing up to be CEO of a competing company that gives Wal-Mart a real run for it’s money.

kevin luxon January 29, 2010 at 4:10 am

Listen Closely. It’s not about the cookie! It’s about small business, opportunity, non-profit organizations, and families. Please Wake Up and Stop shopping at Wal-Mart. For years Wal-Mart (WM) would purchase goods that were made here in the USA, goods that were invented here by hard working Americans. Companies that produced these goods paid good salaries, created jobs, and this trickled down to better life styles for tens of thousands of people across the USA. WM then began taking products from Case Mate, Bakers, Trapunto, Case Logic and thousands more and having “Exact Models” knocked off and made over seas. This not only put these companies out of business or severely reduced their viability, it killed the dreams of thousands of people and turned them into hourly working slaves that eventually turn to our government and social programs. Most Importantly, as larger companies such as WM take put small businesses out of business, they prevent new start-up companies from ever entering into the market place. If you do not know what a “Shelving Fee” is, then you have no idea how bad it truly is. Here is a perfect example. You and I created the best salsa in the country. We won every contest at every state fair across in the USA. People ask managers if they will ever offer our salsa. Just when we think we get our break, stores such as Wal-Mart, Albertsons, etc. DEMAND shelving fees and stock balancing that cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get our product on their selves. They call these shelving fees because at our expense they want to put us in to their “System”, then they want us to “buy back” the current product that is on the self space our Salsa will take up. If we do not buy it back, then the previous product us usually returned to the original seller and they EAT IT. Most the time, this can put a company out of business. Wait, it gets better. Now that WM has success with our product that we sell at NO PROFIT. (they figure out how much your costs are and bully you down in price. How? by weighing the tomatoes,chilies, your jar and label, then they know how much that costs you and will basically put you at a 2-8% margin.)
Continue…. WM then decides to “Copy” your product, create a label that is SO CLOSE to yours, and then ask you to “Eat It” and take back all unsold items. When you go back into their store, you see the knock off, produced over seas, and dreams crushed… Stop the Mart!

Sylvia February 3, 2010 at 9:41 am

I don’t buy girl scout cookies because they are a bargin. I buy them to help the girl scouts. So what if Walmart sells them. I would still buy girl scout cookies to help the girl scouts. Get a life, Walmart isn’t going to take over the girl scout cookie sales. People buy girl scout cookies for the girls.

Anonymous February 3, 2010 at 11:40 am

I am now a 71 year old woman who sold girl scout cookies back in the 50′s. I sold a hundred boxes and received nothing.

Even that age I wondered where is all this money going, since we also had to pay dues. An earlier comment was “they do not get bonus for selling”, are you suggesting the executives do not get bonuses for the cookie sale.

I would like to propose giving the money directly to the troops.

mom mom scout

Ryder February 8, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I just want to mention something… I’m not defending Walmart by any means… I have a much bigger beef w/ the company (as a whole) than the GS thing, but it’s funny how every cookie selling season my Walmart seems to have troops sitting outside the doors daily selling the GS brand… IDK how it is in everyone else’s neck of the woods, but my WM does allow that.

Guess it just depends on where you’re from & the kind of GM’s you have running your local store!

Either way, I fully believe the exclusivity is what sells those cookies anyway… not the special ingredients & the way they are put together.

GS (as a company) is not stupid… they do know how to market.

Girl Scout Leader February 12, 2010 at 10:12 am

I don’t know what to say about Walmart. As a leader I have some things I’d like to say regarding Girl Scouts.

I will say that some of the posts I have read have really surprised me at the general misunderstanding of the GS cookie sale. Cookies are so important to our troop and council. It’s very expensive to run a troop. Just think about how much each patch costs, crafts, activities. It really adds up, especially if you have more than 12 girls like we do. We only charge parents $1 per meeting in dues which doesn’t even cover the cost of the patch if we earn one that day. We depend on our cookie money to purchase all other things needed to run our troop. The girls are learning a great lesson in this, they have to work for things, it’s not handed to them. They learn goal setting, accounting, and much more. As a troop we also choose to give a percentage of our earnings to a local charity each year. We talk about and vote on that. So they are also learning to give back to our community. We sell our cookies for $3.50 a box. Of that our troop retains $0.55 per box. It doesn’t sound like a lot but it adds up very fast! Our troop is very appreciative of all the money they earn.

Our council does get a large chunk of the total cost, but that’s alright! I’m sure some of the money is used to pay for their office staff. Yet there are so many ways that the girls get that money returned to them. Here are just a few….. Girl Scout Summer camp, while any girl can attend camp a registered Girl Scout goes for 1/2 price because the council pays the rest of her fee. We have 5 camp sites in our area that are Girl Scout owned and as troop we can camp there for free. Each of these campsites include rustic camping (and they will supply the tents if needed), cabins, kitchens, showers, outside eating areas….they are very nice…and free to use!!! A lot of the money is put into programing for the girls. There are at least 3 events each weekend throughout our area that girls can attend. They range from badge earning workshops to over night campouts where you learn outdoor survival skills. They give scholarships, troop start up grants, financial aide for camp and for registration, field trip grants…. I can’t even begin to tell you how it goes right back to the girls!

The money also goes back to the leaders. We have free training available for us. Free CPR training and certification. These things are not only helpful to us adults they in turn benefit the girls.

Girl Scouts does do another fundraiser. We have a Fall Product sale. It doesn’t help that much though because we do it at the same time the school do their fundraiser. (at least in this area we do) We also have a partnership with United Way and as such can not fundraise during their fundraising times. Which doesn’t allow us much more time for anything else but the cookies and the Fall Product.

I just had to clear up the thoughts that Girl Scouts was stealing the girls cookie money and that cookie selling doesn’t benefit the girls ;-)

Kelly February 16, 2010 at 12:48 am

Walmart, some things should just be left alone. l will no longer shop there..NEVER EVER!

ajstutu February 17, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Well, I bought a box of Girl Scout cookies outside my local Wal-Mart over the weekend and I must say I was VERY DISAPPOINTED!. I was once a GS myself and have supported them throughout the years and I would save my allowance so I could buy cookies for myself from myself. I loved them. That was then when quality and quantity meant something. The peanut butter cookies I got were dry, tasteless and had very little peanut butter inside. At $3.50a box for a handfull of cookies you can bet I’m gonna buy a Great Value copycat if it means I get a better value and taste.

Sue C. February 19, 2010 at 1:43 am

Walmart does give back to the communities. They support our local schools and community, INCLUDING Girl Scouts. They allow the Girl Scouts to set up shop & sell cookies outside all while they are losing sales from those potential cookie purchasers. As for the Girl Scouts crying “unfair”? Life is not fair. I’m a mom & a former Girl Scout leader. I stepped down because I learned that Boy Scouts encourages family involvement, and Girl Scouts is about female empowerment. I’d rather do things together WITH my family versus teach the girls to distance themselves from their fathers and brothers. If a girl scout comes knocking on my door, I’ll give her troop a donation. I found it odd, although well-intentioned, that our local girl scout troop was donating girl scout cookies to a nursing home. Aren’t most elderly on a restricted diet?

Larry February 22, 2010 at 11:15 am

You think the people that shop at Walmart are really going to buyany more or less cookies than they ever did (if ever) from the girl scouts? Spend your time a little more productively than writing about this nonsense.

Anon February 24, 2010 at 10:04 am

I don’t understand all of the hate for the Boy Scouts here, and especially related to this story. It’s a good organization and I appreciated my time in it, even if I was indifferent about God.

If you want to get into a p***ing contest, Learning for Life is a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts that accepts anyone within a certain age range, even regardless of gender.

(cv’s note: See what I mean? What does this comment have to do with the actual post? Or with Girl Scouts?)

Carol February 24, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Well, shame on you Wal-Mart – for denying GS the ‘space’ to sell cookies outside your stores. Shame, shame, shame.

Cindi February 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Dollar General has a good version of several Girl Scout cookie flavors. Walmart is not the first to make similar cookies. I am sure there are other stores that do the same thing. Girl Scouts does need funding, no doubt. My girl really cannot be in it because of the cost, but also because Girl Scouts does not do the things I would want my girl to do…such as what the Boy Scouts do. I do that with her myself. Girl Scouts should be about more than self esteem building and arts and crafts, and also more family oriented. With those things in mind, Girl Scouts does not have a monopoly on cookies of any flavor, and would do well to change the way the organization operates to serve more girls in a comparable way to how boys are served in Boy Scouts…camping, survival skills, etc… are great self-esteem builders and essential to have in case of decline in the country or other issues which would make those skills necessary.

BigDaddy March 5, 2010 at 2:46 pm

You know, I buy my Girl Scout Cookies every year AT WALMART! They put tables by the doors and those sweet little girls and their mom’s politely smile and offer them to me. I buy them because I love the cookies, and I buy them because sweet smiles warm my heart.

In this crazy world, our youth need to see people respond to them with a positive attitude, a smile in return and a little giving spirit too! This is how we teach others to be friendly people. Lead by example!

GSleader March 6, 2010 at 1:46 am

I came across this site as I was researching why OUR local Walmart has banned any girl scouts from selling cookies on the property. So not only are they refusing to let us sell our cookies, they are selling a knockoff? NICE! One more reason I cannot stand that store.

Megan March 8, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Meijer has them too!

Chode March 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I’ll buy the cookies from whomever sells a quality cookie at the lower price point.

I think $4.00 for a box of 14 Samoas is ridiculous.

-Chode

julie March 11, 2010 at 9:25 pm

so i tried a girl scouts thin mint yesterday for the first time…………OMG………it was the best cookie i have ever tasted. i cant believe wal mart would try to sell a similar cookie. i just dont see this fake wal mart “thin mint” replacing such a delicious cookie.

Diane Wagner March 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Wal Mart is infamous as a destroyer of small business’ in any community it invades. The company does not care about the communities in which they take over. They might convince their employees to donate to the United Way or Red Cross, but as for supporting the immediate community–closures upon closures of small family owned business happen. So to rob from the Girl Scouts —-Who should really be surprised?
A former Girl Scout, Girl Scout Leader, Cookie Mom and a mother to former Girl Scouts too. BOYCOTT Wal Mart!

GSBS Mom March 17, 2010 at 12:16 pm

My daughter is a girl scout now and both my sons were boy scouts. I think both programs are great learning programs for the children. As far as girl scout cookies are concerned most people buy them to support their daughter, grand daughter, sister, friend, etc. and they taste really good. I just bought ten boxes from my daughter and another 3 from my neighbor (that’s $52 in cookies) but I have been a little disappointed these past two years. Number one they used to sell them in October/November in our neighborhood and now they sell them in January. It has affected sales in my daughters troop. Everyone is either starting a diet or at least trying to make better eating choices for the new year. Second, this year they raised their prices to $4.00 a box and they made the boxes and the cookies smaller. They should have done one or the other NOT BOTH. I help the cookie mom and we have had several complaints about the size of the samoas and how much smaller all the boxes got. We also received complaints that the thin mints did not taste the same and council told us they changed bakers. They raised the price to $4.00 but our troop still gets .60 cents a box so I am assuming the .25 cents they raised must go to council and/or the baker. I will continue to buy girl scout cookies to support my daughter but the rest of the year I would have no problem buying cookies or anything else at Walmart. In today’s economy the consumer needs to get the best product for the money and Walmart very often offers that.

Parkmom March 23, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Wow – did this blog go crazy. Are some of you people seriously badmouthing Girl Scouting.

For the couple of posts I saw where people had horrible experiences in their troops – I am sorry. I had to beg to get my then 2 girls into a troop – and finally got them in – I wasn’t sure that year that I was happy the way I saw the Brownie program going – it seemed dull and boring – so I started a Daisy Troop for my youngest daughter – this troop is attached to our Brownie and Jr. Troop – we are multilevel – I saw a problem and decided to fix it.

I have 14 Daisies and we have an awesome time – my sister leaders have seen the things we are doing as Daisies and it is making an extreme impact on the entire troop and now all the girls are getting a scouting experience to remember.

Girl Scouting is all about helping these girls to find themselves as women – to help them to make a place for themselves in the community as productive citizens and to get them involved in community projects. We just finished filling sand bags for possible flooding in our area – our girls and the boys from our cub scout pack and boy scout troop gave up a Friday night to fill sand bags and help other people – without a whine or a tear. It was an awesome night. Our girls sell cookies because it helps our troop and they get to do something fun at the end of the year – it helps to pay the bills.

I love being a Leader and I love my scouts – every single one of them – there are 40 in our Troop and I would have 100 if we could get the leaders.

Girls are turned away year by Scouting because we don’t have the leaders to guide the troops. Someone here said something about GS being a dying organization – we are the largest female organization in the world – oh and we love our male leaders as well – it’s not exclusive to women leaders – just girls to scouting. Getting involved with scouting was the best thing I’ve ever done. My hubby is the CubMaster for a cub scout pack – but our sone has moved on to Boy scouting – so he will now hold the CubMaster position and the Asst. Scout Master for our Boy Scout Troop.

Scouting is not dying – the kids want to be involved – WE NEED ADULTS to lead them. Unfortunately too many of you are busy whining about the 60 cents we make on a box of cookies to actually stand up and lead a troop. Get involved – Scouting – Girl or Boy – is an awesome experience – you really can make a difference in a child’s life.

cv harquail March 24, 2010 at 5:47 am

Parkmom-
Thank you for your comment. I think you are the first person in over 300 comments to remind us that Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts need adult leaders, that kids want to be Scouts, and that adults can make a difference. Especially in largely volunteer organizations like the GS, the commitment of adults makes all the difference.

Few organizations improve if people complain. Many organizations improve when people join in. Thanks again.

W.M.Ganowsky March 25, 2010 at 1:34 pm

For years I have purchased Girl scout cookies not to eat but simply to support the young ladies and the cause;
often i have bought a dozen to give to co-workers or friends or to other kids…

I stumbled on this while doing research on another subject and just had to say if it’s about the cookies then girls scouts are doomed as would be any organization that is so shallow.

What does this attitude teach young women of the future, let all roll over and play dead because we have competition in the cookie market?

I thought selling cookies was about teaching young people its ok to get “no’s” in life, and that each no we endure in a good cause can lead to eventual success.

It’s not well recognized that 90% of all people simply give up after 3 or less no’s; why? because they simply were never taught to preserver, future leaders need to have moxy and be willing to work through the no’s to find the yes’s in any cause.

I hope that any leader of young people have the courage to show by example the ability to take allot of no’s and still maintain enthusiasm for the yes’s just around the corner even when it feels hopeless… that leader can make our world a better place and forever shapes the leaders of the future.

Parkmom March 25, 2010 at 8:32 pm

I agree with you. My Scouts have learned very well how to accept NO. Disappointment is part of life and honestly in a lot of aspects with kids now – adults try to take the disappointment out – for instance – not keeping score in a little league soccer game – I’m sorry – someone wins and someone looses. That’s just the way it is. My Daisies have been learning all year that if you don’t earn it – you don’t get it. So they are learning at a young age (5-7) that in order to reap the benefits of anything – you have to work hard. Now if they don’t reach their quota on cookies – it’s no big deal – as long as you’ve done the best you could – that’s all that counts. No – it’s not about the cookies – it’s about the girls learning to market a product, be polite salespeople, how to handle money and how to handle rejection. It’s about making decisions on how to spend their profit, too. The more they earn – the more they can do with their money. My main goal with my Daisies this year has been to just bring them out of their little shells and get them to talk – to each other – to me – to other adult leaders – and try to stay on subject. To come into the meeting excited about sharing something that they did since the last meeting. And helping them to get up in front of a group of people and talk or sing or recite a poem – whatever – I’m already trying to prepare them for future school experiences where they will have to get up in front of a class and give a report. They’ve done a great job and I’m so very proud of my girls – they just ooze girl scouting at this point – honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, responsible for what they say and do, repect themselves and others, respect authority, using resources wisely, making the world a better place and being a sister to every girl scout – THAT’S WHAT GIRL SCOUTING IS ABOUT. What an awesome concept – too bad we don’t all live by this law – the world would definately be a better place. Signed – one very proud Girl Scout Leader……

averagejoe April 10, 2010 at 11:44 pm

I don’t’ think its wrong for Walmart to make imitation GS cookies. This country is based on capitalism; when you see the opportunity, take it. Many American companies like Ford had done this in the past.

Further, I agree with some of the responders that we have to be clear on one thing. Are we buying cookies for the sake of GS or because we like the cookies? If we buy it to support the GS, then WalMart is no problem. I personally just like the taste of the cookies, but is weary to buy GS cookies because of the poor economy and high cookie prices.

With that said, I would hardly buy GS cookies even with the absence of Walmart’s imitation cookies.

Also some has mention the ethics of Walmart’s action. Now is it ethical for GS to monopolize the market, selling these “exclusive” cookies at high prices? With that in mind, is walmart a bully that “beats up little kids” or a crusader liberating us from high prices? We can argue either, depending on our own perspectives. But personally I’m quite happy to buy delicious cookies at a low price……”Save Money, Live Better. WalMart”.

Weezy May 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Idk what you guys are try to say girl scouts will continue to sell their overpriced cookies but IMO they are worth it b/c they go somewhere besides wal marts pockey peace!

weezy

Anonymous May 14, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Guess what? They aren’t knock offs! They are the same exact cookies made by the same manufaturer, just packaged in a walMart box. Believe it or not, the Girl Scouts authorized this.

Anonymous May 20, 2010 at 10:22 am

You hear that humming?
Thats not your PC, thats the sound of the worlds smallest violin being played for them.
BTW The walmart cookies are SO CHEAP!
Screw the girl scouts I want my cookies right now and at a competitive price!

Patricia H. Fabricius May 23, 2010 at 1:53 pm

As a former Girl Scout, Girl Scout assistant and daughter of a Girl Scout leader
(and father active forever in Boy Scouts) I must (at the age of 63) give my opinion of the above hoopla. Yes, GS cookies have been a traditional money drive – forever it seems. However, as I got older and prices of the cookies got higher and higher boxes (seemed) smaller and smaller I started thinking about “just how much are the GS getting from each box” and how expensive they are, etc. I fnally decided about 10 years ago to stop buying GS cookies. I would rather donate once a year directly to a local troop of scouts, know they were getting 100% of my money and not a portion, plus save myself some calories besides. After all, our schools and government are more and more making any child “overweight” in their opinion feel second rate so isn’t selling GS cookies, high calorie candy bars
(BS scount sales) counterproductive? Just some food for thought as I grab an apple.

Patricia H. Fabricius May 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm

P.S. And, as far as the sales being justification for learning how to “work” for what they need or trips, etc, there are so many other ways. I’d gladly pay a couple of ambitious girl scouts once a year an equal amount of $$ for say 10 boxes of cookies (and think of all the behind the scenes work for the parents) to do a couple hours of chores that are too hard for me at my age. I’m a stranger? Correct. Parents work hard selling cookies with their daughters, a Mom can have a relaxing two hours sitting in a lawn chair reading a book if she wants – to be sure the girls are not at some unreliable person’s home. Just some more food for thought. Respectfully submitted…

Bia May 30, 2010 at 6:13 am

This is funny to me because people buy girl scout cookies to support their kids, family/friend’s kids, the little girl standing outside the grocery store or outside your door. Those cookies are not the best cookies ever made. Don’t act like you suffer when you have a taste for a cookie when you know you can’t wait to hit the Original Cookie Company when you get to the mall. Sorry but no one is thinking about those cookies until the that order sheet pops up. Girl Scouts have nothing to worry about. LOL!

Robin B June 12, 2010 at 7:37 pm

That would explain why we were not allowed to have Booth Sales in front of Wal-Mart this year. Too much competition!

someguy June 30, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Ok, look. You said that as a cookie mom you were “teaching the girls how to set goals, budget their time and money, and work together to sell cookies.” Very good and very understandable, and from this you seem like a good leader for these girls. BUT, as with any business venture, you also need to teach the girls about how to keep their product in demand. So Wal-Mart is coming out with a knock-off. Guess what? It’s perfectly legal for them to do so. You keep saying that the Girl Scouts have “lost their exclusivity”. There is no such thing as exclusivity in the US. That’s called a monopoly and it is bad, not to mention illegal. I see nothing wrong with what Wal-Mart is doing. I thought the Girl Scouts was about teaching girls lessons that they can use for the rest of their lives. Well, in light of the Wal-Mart thing, here’s a great real-world lesson to teach them: A good business stands in the face of competitors and says “bring it on”, and when the other business starts to offer something that you already are, do it better than them.

In other words, quit complaining and do something about it. Write a letter to the head of the Girl Scouts asking them to revamp the cookies, and include a petition with signatures. Come up with more exciting and innovative marketing techniques for your troop to use while selling. DO SOMETHING. Dont just complain.

Anonymous July 25, 2010 at 10:09 pm

You’re an idiot. Tagalongs and Thin Mints are offered in stores year round, although they go by different names. They are made by Keebler, who are owned by Kelloggs, which is one of the companies that manufactures girl scout cookies. Paying 4 dollars for a box of cookies is absurd, this coming from a former scout. And what’s so great about the girl scouts anyway? Nothing if they’re just as discriminatory as the boy scouts.

Dobber August 14, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I must admit, right now I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the girl scouts. Ever since they folded to political correctness and the liberal agenda in the1980s, I have lost my desire to support them. If the girl scouts will turn back to the principles they were founded on as the boy scouts have done all of these years, I will be more than happy to support them once again. Until then, I will be buying the Walmart and Keebler knock-offs. By the way, the the Keebler grasshopper cookies are way better than the girl scout thin mints.

Anonymous August 16, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Step your game up little girls! It’s mean out here on these streets! There is a new cookie dealer on your block and he wants to serve your cookie-heads (I mean customers). What you gonna do? Are you gonna let them big city hustlers ride on your little click or are you gonna hold it down by fighting back? You gotta step your cookie game way up fools! Start adding new flavors or lower your prices. Either that or scrap selling cookies all together and start pitching that hay!!! Whatever you decide to do…you gotsta stay G on em’.

keith August 23, 2010 at 4:10 am

wierd how walmart donates more money to the girlscouts then they make selling there little cookies every year…
what a Bad company…….. appearantley some people just need something to gripe about all the time……

Karlene August 26, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Just to let people know, Dollar General has the complete line of knock off girl scout cookies. I saw them last week on thier shelf. They have tag a longs, samoas, and thin mints. So walmart is not the only place that has them! So sad! I hope this does not hinder our troop cookie sales this year!

Candace Davies September 15, 2010 at 10:39 am

WOW, this is an interesting post… I never knew this about the relationship between Walmart and the Girl Scouts… don’t know how I landed at your blog, but started to read and found many of your posts interesting… thanks for sharing your knowledge and thoughts.

Keep up your great work!

Candace

cv harquail September 15, 2010 at 1:45 pm

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Leta Darnell October 12, 2010 at 9:40 pm

i used to buy Girl Scout cookies..several boxes at a time. i’m sorry, they have just gotten too expensive. we all have to watch what we spend. Wal-mart cookies are good, so i guess i’ll be buying from them, and saving money too… thanks.

Denise November 15, 2010 at 11:43 am

For the record, I hope you realize this post has little effect aside from giving publicity to Wal-mart, and the fact that they sell GOOD knockoffs of Girl Scout Cookies. Now I know where to get good knockoffs of those cookies. Second, what on earth do you expect us to eat during off months? I’m sorry, but just because they are kids does not make it fair for them to have a monopoly on awesome cookies. And finally, as for Wal-mart, where do you think I normally buy Girl Scout cookies? IN FRONT OF WAL-MARTS! Because they allow them to sell there. This post is just silly. Can we worry about something important, please?

LG November 20, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Hmmm, think of Keebler Grasshoppers, Coconut Dreams and Peanut Butter Filled cookies. Quit lambasting Wal Mart. If you’re after a social issue, look at the conditions of the workers who produce your precious I-Phones and other electronics overseas, or the children who hand stitch the soccer balls your kids play with, or the wages of the workers who produce so many of the designer clothes/athletic shoes in Asia.

NOT Buying any. January 5, 2011 at 2:27 am

My husbands niece is posting all over her Facebook and sending messages about the pending sales, taking pre orders.
I am disgusted by this… I thought the idea of selling the cookies was a life learning lesson for the girls.
It is now a contest to see who can sell the most cookies. Her daughter doesn’t have to do a thing since Mom is so connected. The daughter will take all of the credit for doing “such a great job”
My niece used to go door to door and sell.
I refuse to buy cookies from my husband’s niece and lazy way of selling.
Rant off.

Zenb January 8, 2011 at 9:55 am

To NOT Buying – My neice started selling cookies for the first time last year. I told her I would help – we wrote script and did role playing to get her comforatble with going door to door. By the fifith house she didn’t even want me to go to the door with her. She wan’t a top seller, but she did learn valuable skills, which as I recall from my days of dragging a wagon full of cookies around my neighborhood was really the point.
I applaud the Girls Scouts for their fund raising prowess. They started selling cookes door to door two generations ago and their idea is still going strong. Yes, there are girls who use social networking sites (not to mention thier parents) to do their sales. Yes, they are not learning the same lessons my niece did. But the money they raise is going to support an organization with a great mission.
We shouldn’t view it as buying a box of cookies for $3.50but rather as a donation with perks. If you still find it hard to swallow buy the Wal Mart cookies. Buy them by the truck load. Get your “money’s worht”. But then take the money you “saved” and write check to your local GS chapter.

KarenB. January 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I was a Girl Scout mom. My daughter joined a group that were the meanest girls of all. When she joined, the other girls already had their bestest of friends so she was the 5th wheel. She played with other kids in the neighborhood but not the scout girls. It wasn’t as much the girls as their parents keeping tight grip on their kid’s relationships. My daughter is beautiful and kind, and funny, and very likable so many of the girls really liked her, yet they were not allowed to play with her. I moved her to another group and after becoming the top “nut” seller, we had to remove her from Girl Scouts because of the hatred toward her. The “newbie” sold the most nuts. Again, not the girls but the mothers couldn’t take it. Until today she had not received the prizes, she’ve earned.
No more Girl Scouts for us here. No more support for Girls Scouts either.
I love the cookies and the mints were my favorites. Thank God for Walmart. I won’t feel deprived.

wanessa January 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm

hi there i am a girl scout for the first time of 2011 and we are going to the walmart store to yell at them to stop selling fake girl scout cookies next week and were gonna owe them by selling real ones cant wait my phone number ia 203 -522-9093 thank and have a good day peace byee

roxanne January 25, 2011 at 11:12 pm

since I in no way support the girl scouts, it is fabulous for me to buy walmart knockoffs! but that’s me.

lauren January 27, 2011 at 4:42 am

who cares…I’m a Girl Scout and I buy the knock-off thin mints too. Anyways, if you’re just trying to find an excuse to rant on Wal-Mart, you’re going to have to find a different issue because Keebler has been selling knock-off Thin Mints for years.

SL January 30, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Hi im a girl scout and i am now kinda upset that people are soooo gready that they would try to ruin our cookie selling! I swear i was selling cookie today at publix and when i asked the cookie question… they said “sorry i allready bought some at walmart they are cheaper there” why would they want to hurt about 1 milloin girls just trying to have fun with cookie selling??

SL January 30, 2011 at 6:38 pm

also i enjoy selling cookies and that just makes me want to burn down a walmart………:@:@:@:@:@:@
Look to tell you the truth all gs do is raise monney to go to a place called camp noccatee or go to a differant camping place…. not to rip you of…. allthough i no that the cookie prices are high these days( i think thats just rediculuse) and when i went camping….the people running the activitices were just texting or leaving us……THAT MADE ME MAD…..

Roger February 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Are you kidding me with this article? Wal-Mart wasn’t the first one to knock off cookies from the Girl Scouts. Maybe some people should take another trip down the cookie aisle because Keebler has been making their version of the same chocolate mint cookies for years. Keebler’s version of the Thin Mint cookies are called the Grasshopper. So don’t sit there and be all high and mighty about Wal-Mart when there are other, bigger corporations that have done the same thing, and they did it before Wal-Mart.

I’m not saying Wal-Mart isn’t evil, but don’t try and place blame on them when they are just following in the foot steps of other companies.

Roger February 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm

And BTW if you’re are going to get all enraged at Wal-Mart for knocking off Girl Scout cookies, then you had better get all enraged for Girl Scout cookies knocking off cookies from other companies.

Their Lemon Chalet Creme’s are a knock off of a cookie that I’ve been eating since I was 7 years old.

John February 2, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Thanks for this great article about the thin mints at Walmart! I just went over there and was delighted to see that they had several packages in stock and I bought them all! I never would have known to look for them until I read this blog. Thanks again!

DCMerkle February 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm

There are a lot of States that are enforcing the soliciting law and this means the Girls Scouts as well. They use to be the few that were allowed. The cookies being sold in the traditional sense are in jeopardy. The GSA really needs to change their method of selling. I would hate to see the GSA not coming to my door, but if it means that the cookie sales continue then GSA needs to look to other methods to keep this organization going.

KarenB. February 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Girl Scouts don’t sell cookies like they used to. They go to their friends or family houses or their parents sell them at work. Some parents don’t even bother selling at work. From my experience, most of the girls don’t deserve to go camping for free to begin with. Girl Scouts should be only for girls who can’t afford to go anywhere, not for the lazy parasites who are living off other’s hard work.

Betty February 4, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Wow. You have balls to say the girl scouts are the ones getting ripped off. Did you see the size of a box of thin mints this year? Its the size of a paperback romance novel. The girl scouts have been ripping off people for decades.

Before you accuse Wal-mart of ripping off anyone, go to the supermarket cookie isle and look for Keebler Grasshoppers. They’ve been selling them for years.

Scott February 11, 2011 at 11:40 am

Lets be honest, if it were just about supporting the girlscouts they would just ask for donations. I’m sure everyone who currently supports the girlscouts would continue to do so. This would cut out the price of the bakers, cut out the hassle of getting the cookies delivered, cut out the debate over obese children, and give 100% of the money to the actual local girlscout troop.

In truth this is a big racket that they’ve been running for years and its for the profit of adults not children. The girl scout troop, if its lucky, makes $0.40 on selling a $4 box of cookies. Lets talk about where the other $3.60 goes.

Thin mint fan February 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm

While I have to agree with a lot of the posts here, both about the girl scout ‘cookie racket’ and the Walmart ‘corporate indifference’,the original question spoke to whether or not a ‘for profit’ company OUGHT to compete with a ‘non profit’ by selling a product deliberately designed like a popular fund raising item.

My answer: why the hell not?

The only alternative is for ‘someone’ to provide ‘some’ non profit organizations a legal monopoly on its product lines or types. Read your history to see how well that always goes.

Do we really want to advocate the forceable restriction of people from providing a possibly better, possibly cheaper product to the public, simply because some ‘non profit’ organization wants to rest on it’s laurels by raking in cash with an exclusive license?

Read the girl scout page on the cookie program. Ostensibly it’s designed not only to raise funds, but to teach the girls about economics, sales, and marketing. Well… welcome to the real lesson. Girl scout cookies have been getting smaller, more expensive, and packaged fewer to a box for years now. Then someone else comes along and puts out a similar product that might threaten sales. What to good marketers and sales people do?

A. Try to make their product better, cheaper, more attractive
B. Cry for special protection to prevent someone else from cutting in on their profits

Might want to check on what lesson you’re teaching the girls before going too far down the path of rightous indignation.

I have no problem supporting the girls scouts (or boy scouts for that matter), but if you are raising funds by selling me something, then the ‘profit’ to the organization is extra dollars generated by the labor of the members who are working to raise the money. $3.50 a box this year for something I can buy from any grocery store for $2.50 at twice the size isn’t fundraising, it’s price gouging. Thank God Walmart stepped up and started making them, it’ll teach the girl scouts a lesson the boy scouts had to learn years ago with their generic popcorn sales:

“If you’re not a sole supplier of something, you actually have to work on making it better, not just increasing your margin, and you have to work to sell both the product, and the value of your organization to get people to support you over the alternative.”

Good lesson. Hope the girls get it… clearly a lot of the adults don’t.

KarenB. February 21, 2011 at 7:18 pm

If you’re so mad at Walmart why don’t you stop selling cookies in front of it? That will teach them a lesson!

milla February 26, 2011 at 9:56 pm

thanks alot walmart!:(

Anonymous March 16, 2011 at 2:15 am

To add insult to injury, the four local Walmarts in Lafayette, LA, have banded together and refused to allow Girl Scouts to sell cookies in front of their stores. But they have no problem selling Girl Scout flavored ice cream and their version of Girl Scout cookies inside.

Anonymous March 16, 2011 at 2:46 am

In our Council, the price of a box of cookies is $3.50 and split as such: $ .41 is kept by the troop, $ .82 is paid to the baker and the other $ 2.27 is paid to the local Council to be used at their discretion. The prizes (teddy bears and t-shirts, etc) that are awarded to the girls for reaching levels of 200+ sales cost the Council approx. $ .10 per box. The argument truly begins when you ask the question: In what ways do the girls themselves benefit to compensate for the Council taking 62% of the revenue that was earned by the sweat of little girls? I personally have stood in front of stores in freezing temperatures and in baking heat. As volunteers, we see many expenditures and employee salaries that seem extremely frivolous and clearly do not respect the fact that a little girl earned the money that paid the bill. Many of us now try to limit our involvement in cookie sales and promote other fundraising that more directly benefits the girls. Girl Scouts was once a volunteer-only organization; it now spends more money on the paid employees (salaries, expense accounts, travel pay, benefits, pension plans, offices that the girls are not welcome to visit) than on the girls, camps and programs combined. Perhaps the loss of some of that money might teach them to budget and might eventually result in the girls actually reaping the rewards.

Cami March 21, 2011 at 10:27 pm

If the girl scouts would like to compete with WalMart just make your cookies organic. Take out the palm oil and the preservatives and use healthy sweetners like pure sugar, butter, and organic flours, or use stevia or agave syrup. There are many great ways to make your cookies untouchable by places like WalMart. They would never make a healthy organic cookie. I stopped buying Girl Scout cookies 6 years ago for health reasons. I would never buy the knockoffs either. The two cookies I buy are Kashi or Mani’s bakery ( local organic bakery). I politely say no thank you to your girls when they ask.

PK March 23, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Why do you need to ingest tons of cookies in order to benefit girl scouts?

Why dont you donate more than once a year?

I think the argument you put forth against wal mart is weak and flawed by consumerist ideals that you must get something for giving something.

Kelsey March 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm

If Girl Scouts truly wants to teach girls to become successful and how to run a business than they should not be upset because they are no longer a monopoly. Competition is part of business. To complain about Walmart’s knock-offs goes against what Girl Scouts stand for.

Jenjen April 22, 2011 at 12:15 am

Hello, Wal-mart is not the only place you can find knock off cookies. Albertsons in SoCal and other states, Ralphs, also in Socal and others, Stater Brothers and so on. The cookie Co. are the ones whom make these. Not ONlY Wal-mart. I buy the coconut ones, they are wonderful and I will continue to do so. Get your stories straight.

Alicia O'Brady May 11, 2011 at 2:23 am

Even though my troop enjoys girl scout cookies often during our meetings, I did not have the troop sell. I focused on other enriching activities using the parents’ payment of girl scout dues that I stretched as much as possible. I can understand how girl scouts that sell cookies might feel about this if they haven’t been prepared to handle the many situations in life that are similar to this. Parents and Troop leaders helping build strong women should help prepare them for this reality called life. This will not be the first time these girls will face situations like these.

Wendy May 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Keebler has had a thin mint type cookie for a couple years now and a Samoa cookie. There is a store in the mid west that sells mint thins and lemon short breads. Thin Mints and lemon Aids. They sell them for a dollar a box. They are the exact same cookie. As you can see Walmart is not the first and wont be the last business to rip off Girl Scouts. I for one wish that GS would come up with some new cookies.

Michele May 21, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I stopped shopping at Wal-mart after being told we could not sell our GS cookies there. Our council worked with their management to schedule booth sales. In the meantime, Wal-mart’s corporate office sent out a memo stating “no events in the parking lots”. Managers then told the Scouts that they could not sell their cookies on the sidewalks out front as they had originally agreed. You lost my business, Wal-mart!

Wisdom May 28, 2011 at 11:10 am

Here’s a thought for the Girl scouts: Instead of getting upset at Walmart for being a competitive business, they could take orders in advance for many more types of foods for home delivery & make far more money for their charity. Girl Scout cookies aren’t made by girl scouts,they are made in a factory just like the cookies sold by Walmart.

katherine June 24, 2011 at 12:01 am

I wound up on this post because today,I came across a box of Fudge Caramel Coconut cookies. The brand is Clover Valley, and they are sold at the Dollar General. I am a former Girl Scout, and I came from a poor family. My fondest childhood memories are of the two weeks every summer when I got to go to Girl Scout camp. The only reason I was able to go was because of cookie sales. I will admit, my grandmother worked at Exon, and she did the majority of the selling, but she did it so I could go to camp. The first thing I thought when I saw these cookies at the Dollar General was, ” Oh! These are just like the Caramel Delights that we had in Girl Scouts!” I was pretty excited about finding them, even though I am a very loyal Girl Scout cookie buyer. I have to say, they are good, but not as good as the Caramel Delights. I support the Girl Scouts when cookie time comes around, and I hope that I am helping another little girl go to camp just as the guys at the Exon plant helped me to go to camp. I don’t think that these knock offs are going to hurt the Girl Scouts because the main Girl Scout cookie consumers do still want to help the girls. I, for one, can’t wait for cookie season so that I can stock up!

Girl scout senior September 28, 2011 at 10:57 pm

i agree with you.I lovee the girl scout cookies and i make sure i get some every year(im a girlscout^obviously lol^so there easy to get)but that doesnt mean ill never buy a similar cookie to the gs ones!Most cookies dont really compare to the gs cookies so people always buy the original gs cause there,well amazing!! (:

anonomous July 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Dont worry, everybody buys the cookies to support them, i dont even eat them but i buy them to support the girl scouts.

Dan July 22, 2011 at 1:43 pm

First of all the Girl Scouts should NOT be selling cookies, they should be selling the concept of Girl Scouts! If you are selling cookies for the sake of selling cookies then you are doing it wrong. For example, the Boy Scouts sell popcorn, and so do thousands of other companies within the US. Still they more than manage to make millions of dollars to fund their organization. How do they do this? They sell the concept of the organization. “Would you like to make a donation to our Pack by buying some popcorn?” The key words here are “Donation to our Pack”. The popcorn is simply a catalyst that says you get something for your donation. Does Boy Scout popcorn taste any better then the popcorn Wal-Mart sell? No, it’s popcorn, it tastes the same. Girl Scout cookies need to be sold in the same manner. It’s nice that the cookies do taste better and are different than other cookies, but if the Girl Scouts sell the concept of their organization, they have nothing to fear from anyone who tries to duplicate their cookies.

anonymous July 22, 2011 at 4:43 pm

The girl scout cookies are great products, and I will continue to buy them whenever i have the opportunity but if they are not available all year, it was only a matter of time until someone picked up where they dropped the ball. I love that I can get something close to these cookies all the time now, but if I was pulling into my driveway with a bag full of wal-mart knock-off cookies and I saw a girl scout with a cookie wagon, I would leave my wally world cookies to melt in the car and buy every box of tagalongs the girls had.

Randall August 10, 2011 at 12:37 am

I’m sorry but I think this is pure silliness. Wal-Mart is not necessarily copying girl scout cookies. It’s more likely they are simply competing with Keebler’s Grasshopper cookies. I personally can’t stand shopping at Wal-Mart. However that has nothing to do with Wal-Mart “ripping off” other companies. It’s simply that I prefer to spend more money on my hard earned goods. Why would I want to buy a bag or box of cookies for $3.99 when I can pay $7.00? That’s the benefit of being wealthy. I can snub my nose at the poor sods who have to buy cheap Wal-Mart merchandise.

Hope August 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Seriously get over it. Just because they came out with something similar does not mean the girls are loosing all of their customers. I love both cookies, and I am sure there are tons of people like me who buy the knock offs in the off season and then rush to the girls to get the real ones as well.

You obviously weren’t a girl scout… they teach the girls about life and not to be whiny sympathy seekers…

Shelly Cheng August 31, 2011 at 11:14 am

Keebler also has knocked off versions of mints and samoas….they are great and half the price when on sale ALL year long. Capitalism at it’s finest! God bless the USA! There are knock-offs of most everything today, but for those that support various organizations…that won’t hold them back.

DLopez September 13, 2011 at 2:05 am

Thank you Shelly for some simple educated feedback!
God Bless America … and He will:
If my people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked way, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14

Ginger September 14, 2011 at 12:41 am

Last time I checked Keebler, the same company who makes these cookies (if you trace it); is who should be on the bad list. They have taken cookies, the same cookies the Girl Scouts sell and market them.
Though I do feel Wal-Mart was wrong in this, I feel the “biggest” bad guy is Keebler for making these cookies.

Jenna M. September 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm

My daughter used to be in Girl Scouts for 2 years and the only place they went was Zoo sleepover and one overnight camping in one of our parks. They basically had no money to go anywhere else. One Summer she and my niece – because you could bring a friend – went to a GS day camp for a week. My daughter still had to pay $35/week while my niece not in GS paid $65. The money she made selling cookies went to the troop not to pay for her individual acitivities. There was simply no reason for her to stay and sell cookies for the troop so they could spend one night a year at the zoo. Right now she goes to a private camp that I pay for. It is 2 week camp but it cost $300. It is however worth every penny. Every year she cries when she comes home. She doesn’t miss Girl Scouts at all. Because of that I stopped supporting Girl Scouts. I would still buy a box or two of cookies from the little Brownies but never from Juniors or Cadettes. And the older ones can be pretty nasty, yelling at people and making faces at store customers who don’t buy cookies.

mike October 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm

They only sell GS cookies once a year. I want access to this type cookie ALL year. I will still buy GS thin mint cookies, but these Wal Mart “Fudge Mint ” are also good.

Dawn October 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I just wanted to clear the air. I am S GS leader and believe in the GS mission, however I dont promote all of their beliefs.
1. Walmart isnt not knocking off “Girl Scout cookies.” They are knocking off Keeblers.
2. Your GS cookies (most) are owned by Little brownie Baker, who is owned by Keebler. Keebler has been maing GS cookies since 1936. And Keebler is actually owned by Kellogs. So, there’s of 80′ years of “knock offs,” Keeblers weren’t bad in my estimation, and I’ve been eating GS cookies years.
3. Smart GS leaders do not rely on the small 10-15% profit margins generated by GS cookie sales. Girls and leaders find other ways to fundraise, cause GS keeps 70% to keep the councils and camps running.
4. GS has put their products out their to support councils as well, such as scrapbook accessories, Ice creams, cakes all of which you can find at Walmart.
So, I hope this was helpful.

A. G. October 21, 2011 at 10:04 am

Grasshoppers have been sold for years. Now I’ve seen Keebler brand Samoas out there. I was surprised to see the Samoas recently. But, not I understand, after reading Dawn’s comment above about Keebler owning Little Brownie Bakers. hmm..

Anonymous January 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Keebler is now making a cookie identical to a caramel delight (Samoa). Boo to the elves!

Erin B. January 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I get the cookies sold at Dollar General. They taste better than GS cookies and they have more cookies in the box for a lower price. In this economy I want more cookies for a lower price.

Anonymous January 11, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Girl Guides have ALWAYS sold those cookies
and should have the credit in BC we sell cookies twice a year
don’t complain about the price!
we use the $$$ for good things
and help people to
Peace!
girl guide RULE

Adrian Johnson January 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Wal-Mart is planning to market genetically engineered corn– and it won’t be labeled as such. UK and Europe ban GM crops and foods, for prudent reasons. The rip-off “Girl Scout” cookies will probably, this time next year, contain GM ingredients, as most baked-goods in the USA ( including authentic Girl Scout cookies) use corn syrup as sweetener. Studies show that GM corn products cause liver and kidney damage in test animals after only three moths consumption. Three reasons not to buy “Girl Scout” cookies: Wal-mart rip-offs are unhealthy. Real Girl scout cookies are unhealthy. The Girl Scouts no longer have the values they did a generation ago: they push Planned Parenthood and pro-gay, lesbian, and transgendered agendas and are intolerant of the Christian values of those who protest the PC politicization of the Girl Scouts. The alternative? “American Heritage Girls” now have the values the Girl Scouts lost.

Celeste Stratton January 26, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I sometimes fell like girl scout cookies are a little spendy….but its worth it. If i had it my way i would boy-cot Walmart for that……

Tony Safina February 14, 2012 at 6:17 am

I have a couple of suggestions. I hope the right Walmart bigwigs see my ideas and give them some real consideration: 1.) Walmart should do the ethical thing and not sell Great Value fudge mint cookies during Girl Scout cookie season, 2.) Walmart could raise the price of their very delicious and very affordable Great Value cookies and give the Girl Scouts sixty cents a box. Doing so would help the Girl Scouts immensely and the Thin Mint fan would still be able to get fudge mint cookies whenever Girl Scout cookies were not being sold. The Girl Scouts, conceivably, could make so much money with Walmart’s help they might be able to stop having annual cookie sales and have the girls sell something else to get the personal interaction skills they develop selling cookies.

M February 15, 2012 at 11:13 am

I am a Girl Scout Leader and this post is just silly… Each Walmart will donate money to Girl Scout troops if the troop leaders would just ask. Second the little scouts only get .60 cents a box for the cookies they sell the rest goes to council. Girls scouts will not allow the girls to do their own fund raising unless they sell both cookies and nut through them first. Who is really winning here. It’s not those little hard working girls that just want to go to camp. Girl Scouts offers the troops no financial assistance instead they charge outragous prices for uniforms and books that they have to have. They make money off of these Girls every way possible. The Leaders also have to pay for all their trainings. Girl Scouts Is a scam and I am currently a fed up leader. Ok Rant over.

Anonymous February 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Interesting debate. My daughter is 9 and this year I feel she is learning something with our cookie sales- making change, polite salesmanship, explaining the product, sales goals, time investments and my personal favorite- how hard do we want to work for 14% commission? I think all leaders should get smart and dump the cookie project. Our council is HUGE and it serves a small area in the midwest. I guess we keep a lot of ladies employed- doing what, I am not sure.

Pete February 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm

The Girls Scouts would be better served to buy the Walmart cookies and sell them for $4 and make a better profit, because the real winner is the manufacturer of these $4 boxes who turns around to give 30 cents /box to the girls. Walmart delivers the good to the Girl Scouts’ door for $1 per container.

How much is the cookie maker really making in pure profit off of them?

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