Girl Scouts Shut Down Reality Star (?) For Selling Cookies Online

girl-scouts-cookies-vintage-photosShocking news. The Girl Scouts slapped down reality star Honey Boo Boo for selling cookies online!

Incredibly, this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned the low brow, precocious pageant princess on Marketing Pilgrim, but I believe it’s the first time I wrote a piece based on a tip from TMZ. For that, I apologize, but I think there’s something worth discussing here.

The story goes like this: little Alana Thompson (aka Honey Boo Boo), posted a banner on her official Facebook page offering to sell autographed boxes of Girl Scout cookies by mail.

Alana is not a Girl Scout. She was selling the cookies on behalf of a friend and the instructions clearly stated that money orders were to be made out to the troop. She was doing a good deed but the Girl Scouts made her stop.

Why? The rep quoted in the TMZ article said that they did it because it was unfair to the other girls for her to use her celebrity status to sell cookies. But really? If Tom Cruise wanted to buy a hundred boxes from the Scout in front of his local grocery store, would they turn down the cash?

More likely, they shut her down because the Girls Scouts do not allow online selling, which is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

Here’s it is on their FAQ page:

Can I buy Girl Scout Cookies online?

Although Girl Scouts of the USA does not currently allow online sales of Girl Scout Cookies, we are presently researching how to make it possible for girls to engage consumers in online sales, while continuing to help them develop critical and relevant entrepreneurship skills in the process. Use the Find Cookies! search box above to help you find cookies in your local community.

Cookies found for sale online at auction and community list sites should not be purchased under any circumstances, as neither GSUSA, your local Girl Scout council, nor our licensed bakers can guarantee the freshness or origination of these cookies. Further, purchasing cookies in this way does not support girls’ participating in the cookie program.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had this discussion, but it’s even more ridiculous now than it was two years ago. eCommerce is a thriving, legitimate means of selling a product. Yet, the Girl Scouts say it doesn’t foster entrepreneurial skills. Really? I think there are several dot.com billionaires that would disagree.

Selling online taps into the same basic business rules as offline selling – customer service, marketing, inventory control, shipping. Meeting the customer face-to-face isn’t a requirement for success, nor is learning to handle paper dollars. Which brings me to another issue – why don’t Girl Scout tables accept plastic or virtual payments such as Paypal. I’ve passed up buying cookies twice this week because I don’t carry cash anymore. There are several companies that offer a mobile phone attachment for swiping cards. Add the surcharge on to the cookie price and there’s no financial loss to the Scouts.

The Girl Scout organization was created to help young women learn the skills they need to be successful in life. In 2013, that means being able to handle yourself in the virtual world as well as in the real world.

And if I had a daughter selling cookies, I’d much rather she deal with strangers online than knock on a strangers door and ask for money.

The Girls Scouts of the USA (and when did they stop being The Girls Scouts of America) need an update and fast.

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