The [Other] Great Girl Guide Cookie Debate

64th London Guides at Sears Cookie Day, Spring 2011

64th London Guides. Sears Cookie Day, Spring 2011

Saturday is Cookie Day in Canada when over 400 Units will set up shop in over 130 Sears stores across Canada. In Toronto, subway riders will be able to get their cookies at the ever popular Cookies in Transit event. In addition to these two major events there are many Units that are participating in Cookie Day in Canada at various stores in their own communities. Made us think: are group events ‘better’ than individual sales, or vice versa?

Knock, Knock……….who’s there?

A couple of nights ago there was a knock on my door and when I opened it I saw the strangest thing. It was a couple of Pathfinder teenagers with a case of Chocolatey mint cookies. After buying a couple of boxes I started thinking, why was I so surprised to see them. After all groups of Girl Guides skipping from door-to-door with their much sought after cookies are a Canadian institution or at least they were. How often have we heard customers lament, the Girl Guides never come to my door anymore.

But the world we live in has changed and door-to-door selling is not as popular as it once was. Cookie Blitzes at big box stores and malls seem to be the preferred way to get the cookies out there now.

With that in mind, I asked Guider Nancy of the 128th Toronto Guides, and Guider Janice of the 3rd Chambly Brownies, what they thought about door-to-door and groups sales.

Door-to-Door selling

  • Can be used as opportunity to promote Guiding, especially in the neighbourhood of your meeting place (make certain girls/adults accompanying them have information on how to register – use brochures available or direct to number on cookie box).
  • Can be a Unit activity with meeting before used to review selling techniques, goal set, practice making change and other components of program, interest and Cookies Rising badges) plus the girls can combine with map reading skills – give each team a map marked with streets to cover.
  • Weather can make scheduling difficult and cookies have to be transported while selling plus lots of adult volunteers can be required, depending on how it is organized.
  • You never know what or who is waiting behind that door or their reaction… Older girls have had the door slammed in their faces, younger girls sometimes have money missing because they have problems counting.

Group Sales

  • So many great things – group camaraderie, safety in numbers, older girls helping the younger girls, protection of assigned location, older girls can work on finances, toilets available when needed, easy rotation of girls selling, easy rotation of adults selling.
  • Cookies only need to be transported to one location and the number of cases sold per hour usually much higher.
  • Works well when only a few girls are available (i.e. small Unit).
  • Many cookies need to be transported to and possibly from location; parking may cost money plus it may require permission, waivers and/or insurance certificates from location which can take more time to organize than door-to-door in the neighbourhood.
  • Often numbers permitted to be present at one time are limited so girls need to work in shifts which may limit the number in Unit who can participate and involves a lot of logistics with arrivals/departures throughout selling period and supervision of trips to bathroom
  • Unless business is brisk, girls get bored after an hour and lose enthusiasm.

So there you have it. It is true that group sales are convenient and easy, allowing the Unit to potentially reach a lot of people at one time, but door-to-door selling does give the opportunity to develop important skills that contribute towards girl greatness. Me, I like the idea of both selling methods. Then again I’m just eagerly waiting for the next knock on my door. Who knows it might be more Girl Guides!

By Adele, Girl Guide Cookie Department staff

Share with us! Do you use both cookies selling styles during your cookie campaign?

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4 Responses to The [Other] Great Girl Guide Cookie Debate

  1. 64th Guides says:

    Yes, the 64th London Guides (pictured above) do door to door sales for both the mint and classic campaigns. They also take part in the Sears Day group sales – and before that used to take part in group sales with other units in their District at local retail outlets.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I used to “blitz” the neighbourhood as a girl, using parents & their cars, Guiders with wagons and lots and lots of walking. At the end of the day all of the Guides (adults and girls) would have a snack of Girl Guide cookies and hot chocolate and eagerly await the tally. Just how many cases did we sell? It was a fun day, we were out in the community promoting Girl Guides, and it was a bridging activity – the little girls were always paired up with a (really cool!) older girl.
    I miss those days. It seems that Guiders are too (dare I say it?!?) lazy to plan a neighbourhood blitz. Perhaps it could be an initiative in the next couple of years. Bring Girl Guides back to the ‘hood?? Maybe make it a topic in “Intro to Guiding” trainings?
    I think having Sears Days for cookie selling (and here in Toronto TTC days) are really great, but it doesn’t promote the same community feeling that a good, old door-to-door blitz once did.
    (I’ll step off my soapbox now)

  3. Megan says:

    I’ve seen a couple of online debates about door to door fundraising, and the only one most people don’t seem to object to is cookie sales. I was at a local event where Girl Guides had a table to encourage registration and I think there were almost as many inquiries for cookies as registration. Some said they haven’t had a girl knock on their door in years, and they wanted them to!

  4. Ma Name says:

    I prefer group selling. I think it’s more fun. But sometimes sales can be a lot slower than door to door.

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