In Atlanta, Girl Scouts will keep Thin Mints price the same

The idea of plopping down another dollar to get my Thin Mints and Trefoils put me in panic mode.

Would I buy the usual number of boxes or cut back to meet my annual budget?

It was only after I reached out recently to the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta to inquire about the price hike that I breathed a sigh of relief.

“I’m glad you asked,” said Leslie Gilliam, communications manager for the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.

It is and it isn’t.

It is in Massachusetts. It isn’t here in Georgia.

Rumor had it that our annual cookie fix would cost $5 a box this year instead of the $4 we’d just gotten used to.

Gilliam told me that prices are regulated on a council-by-council basis. This year’s price hike is specific to the Massachusetts geographic region only. Cookies here, thank God, will remain at the lower price. That doesn’t include, however, the gluten-free Toffee-tastics. That will remain the same $6 price.

When news hit that there would be a price hike, the local council responded with a press release assuring Georgians there would be no such price hike here.

I somehow missed that, but so did a lot of other people I know.

After the price hike heading into 2015, I’d decided $4 for a box of shrinking cookies, palm oil or not, was enough. I wasn’t going any higher, but I couldn’t imagine abandoning the Scouts altogether. As a former Girl Scout, I know firsthand the difference the program can make in a girl’s life.

Growing up Scouting was my ticket out of the neighborhood. Hiking and camping in the great outdoors became a favorite pastime.

I hear that’s changed a lot since my days in the Scouts. Now there’s additional emphasis on things like global issues and technology.

Cookie sales, though, remain, and until I spoke to Gilliam, my plan was to buy fewer boxes this next time. I don’t have to now.

Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta is one of the top sellers of cookies in the country. In 2015, local Scouts sold some 3.9 million boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Savannah Smiles and Rah-Rah Raisins.

Don’t you just love those names? Almost make me want to break out dancing.

Sheridan Stevens, a member of Troop 14541, sold more than 2,200 boxes in 2015, when the local council saw a 50-cent jump in price, the first in more than a decade.

Sheridan, 11, of Atlanta is what the Scouts refer to as a Dough Getter or top cookie seller.

Price hikes have never been a deterrent, she said.

“True Girl Scout Cookie lovers buy Girl Scout Cookies to support Girl Scouts whatever the price,” she said. “My customers and my troop also donate cookies or the proceeds from cookies to food banks and other places in need.”

Last year, Sheridan’s troop donated $300 to the Rally Foundation, which helps children with cancer, and this year, it donated nearly 100 boxes of cookies to Meals by Grace, a local nonprofit that delivers food to poor families.

Sheridan wasn’t aware of the Massachusetts price hike but said she understands “how the cookie crumbles.”

Everything from production and advertising to shipping and warehousing are factored into the cost of a box of cookies.

She’s right. Increases in the prices of Girl Scout Cookies reflect rates of inflation and, of course, demand.

Back in the day, I sold them for as little as $1. It didn’t seem like it then, but that was quite the bargain.

“The cookie program has been a part of Girl Scouts since 1917, when they sold for about 25 cents a dozen,“ said Amy Dosik, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. “Of course, those cookies were homemade. That would be challenging in 2015, since we sell almost 4 million boxes a year in Atlanta alone.”

What hasn’t changed are the skills a girl learns from participating in the cookie program: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and ethics. They get to attend summer camps that they might not otherwise be able to afford, participate in fun activities like the STEM Expo, and this weekend will gather for their annual rally at the Cobb Galleria.

We can expect to see them making door-to-door sales starting Jan. 1. Deliveries and cookie booths start Feb. 15.

But as they say in the Girl Scouts, it’s more than S’mores.

“I want to meet all kinds of people and the Girl Scout Cookie sale has helped me do that,” Sheridan said. “I’ve gotten a lot more confident around adults, and I can speak with anyone now. Some of the business people I’ve met said when I’m an adult, they’ll hire me.”

That’s why I’ll continue to buy them no matter the price.

Guess that makes me a true Girl Scout supporter.

Just last week, I purchased my first boxes of Girl Scout candy — chocolate-covered almonds. I just hope I can work off the extra pounds before my cookies arrive.

Visit GirlScoutCookies.Org to learn more about the cookie program, including where to find cookies in your area.