CANADA—The Girl Guides in Canada have been selling cookies since 1927. South of the border, Girl Scouts started selling cookies in 1917. How has this 10-year gap become a commercial chasm? In the USA, Girl Scouts offer a dozen varieties of cookies, while in Canada we have three. Three! And in the fall, we have but one measly choice: mint chocolate. It is time, Canada, to demand more.
I have seen the future, selling treats outside a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. “Would you like to buy some cookies, ma’am?” asked a young girl, proffering a box of Samoas. I did not know what she was holding and I asked her to explain. “I’m with the Girl Scouts,” she said. “We’re selling cookies to raise money for our programs. Do you want to see?” With that, she turned to her wagon and produced box after box of product with names such as Tagalongs, Lemonades, and Do-si-dos.
“But, where are the chocolate mints?” I stammered.
“Do you mean the Thin Mints?” she offered. “Or do you want to see the gluten-free cookies?”
Her sweet smile was matched only by the boxes of sweets she was hawking and I bought them all. Why? Because I was aghast, unaware that such a windfall existed just across the border.
“In Canada, there are only the sandwich cookies and chocolate mints,” said Cheryl Aucklin, a representative from The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. “We support both the Girl Guides in Canada and the Girl Scouts in America, but each country has domain over their individual cookie drives.”
If the motto of this organization is Be Prepared, what the hell are our Girl Guides being taught? Why have we chosen the path of austerity for a fundraiser symbolized by indulgence? You can keep your vanilla and chocolate sandwich cookies, Canada. I want confections flavoured by peanut butter and sprinkled with coconut.
“The campaigns definitely have some differences,” conceded Aucklin. “American Girl Scouts can create a personalized cookie website on the group’s Digital Cookie Platform. There, customers can order cookies, have them shipped, or even donate to a charity.” This, my Canadian friends, is commerce done right. By contrast, the Girl Guides website has only an interactive map to help quell cravings.
So if you want two choices of s’mores cookies or a pastry embossed with “thank you” in several different languages—Really? They’re even beating us on the international front?—you’ll need to travel to the USA. The land of caramel and the home of the shortbread have bested us in the child labour cookie game.