Everyone, Just Stop Buying Girl Scout Cookies on the Internet
Proving that when it comes stories online time really is just a flat circle, many sites have rediscovered the fact that Girl Scout Cookies are available for sale on Amazon. So we’re clear, this has been true for years. As the Washington Post noted in a 2014 headline: “Psst, Girl Scout Cookies have always been available online if you knew where to look.” But still, late last week there were several “OMG!!!” stories proclaiming that we ought to all rejoice as wait for our mailmen to stack boxes upon boxes wrapped in blue tape and filled with overpriced Thin Mints at our doorstep. Since then though, there have been some recriminations, presumably when people realized that Girl Scouts were not actually operating the Amazon stores. Although, it seems like a fairly straightforward assumption that the Girl Scouts of the USA are not operating an Amazon store called Twisted to Perfection, which, in addition to Thin Mints and Samoas also sells bulk B6 vitamins and the ION Audio House Party Portable Sound System.
I reached out to three of the Amazon Stores selling the cookies to find out where they got them. I only received one, very brief answer from a store called DailyDealz, which read, “I bought them from my daughters during cookie season.” The other two stores, the aforementioned Twisted to Perfection and one called J&K Deals, did not respond. I also reached out to Amazon to try to find out who operates these stores and have not yet received a response. If you want to dive deeper into questions like that though, NPR's Planet Money did a fascinating dive into online arbitrage—making a profit by reselling items at a price higher than you purchased them—which could be at play with some of these stores.
But even if a storeowner is buying the cookies from their daughter and raising the price just enough to cover their own operating costs, the Girl Scouts of the USA still say don’t buy. In an email to me the GSUSA said, “The reselling of Girl Scout Cookies is strictly prohibited.” So whether a den mother or a shifty businessman owns the Amazon store, they clearly don’t care much for the Girl Scouts’ rules. The GSUSA did emphasize to me that cookie hunters should use the "Council Finder" feature on their website to find out where to find out where to get them.
Beyond the rules though, there is also the question of whether the online cookies are actually any good. Many one-star reviews on Amazon complain of stale or expired cookies and the GSUSA said that because there is no way to tell who is selling the cookies there is no way to guarantee either the authenticity or the quality of what you buy. Of course, I had to find out, so I ordered a box of Tagalongs from DailyDealz to see what I would get. The cookies were neither stale nor expired—as the store’s owner said, they were from this season. They were, however, totally melted.
So as you look at your Amazon cart, filled with boxes of melted cookies the Girl Scouts don’t want you to buy that may be of unknown origin, ask yourself: Are you really so desperate for a snack? Hopefully not.
We'll encourage you to go back to getting cookies the old fashioned way: Ordering them from your boss’s daughter when she’s roaming through the office.