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No, you can’t buy any of the Girl Scouts’ 15 million extra cookie boxes

We’ve mostly heard about pandemic-related shortages, but here’s an unlikely surplus.

No, you can’t buy any of the Girl Scouts’ 15 million extra cookie boxes
[Photo: Flickr user slgckgc; Teddy/rawpixel]
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If you thought that Americans chowed down on too many Girl Scout cookies during the pandemic, you’re forgetting a key part of the Girl Scout cookie journey: the purchase. Lots of cookies are sold at booths. Specifically, 15 million boxes, which were not sold this year due to cookie-booth cancellations due to the pandemic, reports the Associated Press.

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If you’re thinking, “Um, sell some boxes to me. I will sacrifice for Girl Scouts of the USA by eating a box of cookies,” you are not alone. Yet despite widespread interest, the 15 million box surplus has created something of a crisis for the group.

Surely a fire sale would be effective. Or major grocery chains like Safeway, Kroger, Albertsons, and Walmart could stick them on store shelves in a heartbeat. But these are not options for the organization, which fears that cheap or widely available cookies would dilute future annual sales, which depend on now-or-never sales pitches delivered by cute elementary schoolers.

The surplus cookies are worth roughly $60 million, annual funding that the 111 local councils will go without this year. The councils also have 3 million boxes on their hands, which is an average of 27,000 boxes each. Creative sales plans are underway, such as partnering with major sports teams for one-day sales. In Powder Springs, Georgia, they launched “Samoas for Shots,” giving away one box for each person getting vaccinated.

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Where are the other 12 million boxes of cookies, you ask? With the bakery companies in Kentucky and Indiana. The surplus is only around 7% of annual sales (Girl Scouts typically sell 200 million boxes of cookies per year), so the bakery companies—Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers—are both doing their part, selling the cookies as they can and donating many to food banks and the military. You can donate boxes ($5 each) to first responders and food pantries here.

If you’re thinking, “Why don’t they just sell ’em next year?” Well, unfortunately, Girl Scout cookies have a 12-month shelf life—a time frame never before tested in American households, where their shelf life is zero to two days.