More Girl Scout Councils Raising Cookie Prices to $5 a Box

What did Girl Scout Cookies cost when you were growing up? I sold Girl Scout Cookies, and although I was too young to really be aware of money beyond the fact that a quarter could get me a soft-serve ice cream cone from the school cafeteria, I remember them costing $2 a box, or maybe $2.50 a box. (Other bloggers share similar memories.)

I sold cookies in the early 1990s, which means it only took 25 years for the price to double. Some Girl Scout troops in California and Hawaii have already been selling cookies for $5 a box, and now more Californian troops, as well as troops in Eastern Massachusetts, are raising their local cookie prices. (Girl Scout councils are allowed to set their own cookie prices, which is why this trend is only hitting parts of the country. For now.)

Why? CNBC explains:

“The No. 1 factor was us hearing feedback from adult volunteers that girls had such a great experience selling cookies, but they weren’t earning enough money from them,” said Jan Goldstein, chief marketing officer at Girls Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, in a phone interview.

The price hike means the troops will now receive “an average of 90 cents per box of cookies, up from an average of 62 cents per box.” In other words: the cost of a box of Thin Mints increases by 25 percent, but the amount the Girl Scouts receive increases by 45 percent. When you look at it that way, you feel a little better about the price hike — right?

I should note that the last time I bought Girl Scout cookies, they asked me for a tip. Specifically, the e-card reader I used to pay for my box of Tagalongs asked me for a tip, because of course e-card readers want as many people to leave tips as possible (since they get a percentage of every dollar swiped). So we could, in theory, pay $4 for our cookies and leave a 28-cent tip and the Girl Scouts would come out even.

But nobody buys Girl Scout cookies because they’re cheap. They buy them because someone in their office is passing around a form, or because they know a girl in Scouts, or they’ve got a niece who’s a Brownie, or because they’ve got a powerful nostalgia for their own scouting days and the taste of a freezer-cold Thin Mint dipped in milk.

So yeah, the $5 price may mean we buy one fewer box of cookies this year. Some quick math on that, by the way: if a person bought five $4 boxes and the Girl Scouts earned 62 cents per box, the person spent $20 and the Scouts got $3.10. If that same person now buys four $5 boxes and the Girl Scouts earn 90 cents per box, the person still spends $20 and the Scouts get $3.60. Multiply that by, say, 200 people, and the Girl Scouts make an extra $100 bucks. Not bad.

How much do you pay for Girl Scout cookies in your area? If you were a Girl Scout, how much did your troops charge when you were a kid? Is there ever a price point at which you’d say “too much, I don’t want to buy your Do-Si-Dos anymore?”

Also, because we’re the kind of comment section that can handle a civil discussion with multiple viewpoints: which Girl Scout cookie is the best? (TAGALONGS. Or, at least, the Tagalongs from the 1990s. They tasted better then.)

Photo credit: Marit and Toomas Hinnosaar

Hat tip: Jezebel