News & Opinion | June 16, 2021 1:03 pm

There Are 15 Million Unsold Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies and No One Can Buy Them

The pandemic has created a never-before-seen surplus of Thin Mints

There Are 15 Million Unsold Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies and No One Can Buy Them

It’s been a rough pandemic for everyone — even the Girl Scouts.

According to the Associated Press, the Girl Scouts have 15 million unsold boxes of cookies this year. The report states around 12 million of the 15 million surplus cookies never even left the bakery warehouses in Kentucky and Indiana. Meanwhile, another 3 million boxes are with local Girl Scout councils who are trying desperately to sell or donate the cookies, which have a shelf life of 12 months.

Don’t worry — there hasn’t been a sudden public backlash over Thin Mints; the organization says the COVID-19 pandemic is to blame for declining cookie sales. Obviously, the Girl Scouts do much of their selling at in-person cookie booths, a practice most scouts were forced to nix this cookie season over safety concerns and social distancing guidelines.

“This is unfortunate, but given this is a girl-driven program and the majority of cookies are sold in-person, it was to be expected,” Kelly Parisi, a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of the USA told the AP.

The Girl Scouts did roll out a few new selling tactics in light of the pandemic, like virtual cookie booths, drive-through pickup sites and even a delivery partnership with GrubHub, but it clearly wasn’t enough, proving that elementary school children accosting adults in front of their local grocery stores and cajoling them into buying 10 boxes of cookies will always be the most effective sales technique.

That said, the pandemic might not be solely responsible for low sales this season. Declining membership over the years has also jeopardized the initiative. According to the AP, “around 1.7 million girls were enrolled in Girl Scouts in 2019, down almost 30% from 2009.”

We know what you’re probably thinking: “Uh, I will buy all 15 million unsold boxes of Girl Scout cookies, where can I do that?” But it’s not that simple. The Girl Scouts still don’t directly to consumers online, despite that fact that striking a partnership with Amazon for Two-Day cookie delivery — just for one year! — would have been an absolute no-brainer and superb PR for everyone involved.

Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers, the two bakeries that hold 12 million extra cookies, are working with the Girl Scouts to either sell or donate them, but regrettably, they cannot sell their glut of Tagalongs and Samoas to grocery stores because it could “diminish the importance of the annual cookie sales,” says the AP. But if you’re desperate for a Do-Si-Do, you could try a few lesser-known cookie-scouring tactics.

Besides hitting up your local Girl Scout council to see if they have any leftover surplus, you can also consult the organization’s website and enter your zip code to see if there are any sales in your area. Or if you’re simply distraught over precious Girl Scout cookies wasting away in a box somewhere, you can also donate a few boxes to first responders, food banks and other causes worthy of a Thin Mint.