As of January 14, Girl Scout cookie season is officially underway.
Bernadette Mauriello, the cookie manager—and one of the troop leaders—for Troop 30257, said that sales tactics this year will be modified in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
One such change will be the notable absence of tables set up in front of stores throughout town.
“The bigger stores don’t really want us to. They don’t want us outside. A couple stores in town reached out to us to see if we could set up out there, but people are scared because of everything going on, obviously,” Mauriello said.
However, Mauriello said, the troop has been working on another option.
“We’re trying to set up a drive-thru where we have everything all set up; everything’s bagged up, then people can just drive through. They’re trying to do everything virtually, so people can order online and then the girls will have everything ready so there’s no contact,” Mauriello said.
Mauriello said that the troop—and Girl Scouts in general—have been increasing their online presence, as well, as a way to explore another sales avenue.
Mia Galletta, who started selling cookies in the middle of 2020’s cookie season and is now in her first full year with the program, described the process.
“This year is really new, because of the whole COVID thing. You have to scan a QR code, then text or call to order the cookies, or you can do it contactless. I think it’s a great way to sell the cookies,” Galletta said.
Mia Mauriello, Bernadette Mauriello’s daughter, said that, once cookies are ordered, home deliveries are an option. She noted that this new system has its pros and cons.
“They can go online and buy cookies on our website, or they can email my mom ... I don’t like that we have to go up to people’s houses and put on a mask; I hate wearing a mask. But, I like that we get to drive to people’s houses and knock on their door. I’ve been putting notes on the cookies after they buy it, and I usually say ‘thank you’ and, to people that I know, I write a personal note to them,” she said.
Siena Ezzi, now in her fourth year as a Girl Scout, said that these home deliveries differ from those in the past.
“We usually go to the doors and ring the doorbell, but this year we’re hanging them on the door,” Ezzi said.
Vienna Ford, who has been in the Girl Scouts for three years, said that the lack of exposure to the elements is one of the benefits of the new system.
“I like how you don’t have to sit out in the cold for a couple of hours. You just tell your friends, ‘Hey, come to my house, or I’ll come to your doorstep and give you the cookies,’” Ford said.
This, however, does have its drawbacks.
“I think we’re kind of missing out a little bit, though, but we’re going through it. We’re selling to family and friends and that kind of stuff. I think having the booth is better, because you can get more people and get more cookies. With the virtual, you can’t really sell to strangers,” Ford said.
Ezzi said that she misses the booths as well.
“I don’t like it as much, because I really like interacting with people at cookie booths, and handling all the money,” Ezzi said.
However, increasing virtual sales has afforded the troop the opportunity to work on an all-new sales pitch.
“All the girls are working on their own, personal commercials to sell the cookies; everyone has their own links, and we’re trying to come up with commercials for the cookies. Everything right now is online, so everyone is working on their own little commercial,” Bernadette Mauriello said.
For some scouts, like Galletta, the response has been a positive one.
“I made a video, and all the parents started blowing through the comments with their orders. Mine was introducing the flavors, and everyone thought it was hysterical,” Galletta said.
Mia Mauriello said that some of the traditional favorites are still the biggest sellers.
“Either Thin Mints or Peanut Butter Patties are the most popular. The new cookie is called Toast-Yay!, and it tastes exactly like French toast. It’s my favorite cookie,” she said.
Galletta concurred with Mia Mauriello about the newest flavor.
“My dad says they are ‘critical.’ I had one of those, and me and my dad are always fighting over the box. My mom had to get two cases. They’re selling out quick,” Galletta said.
Despite the popularity, Ford noted that sales projections are down with the new model.
“We don’t really expect to get that much this year; usually the cookie booths helped us the most with the cookies,” she said.
Ezzi said that she has adjusted her expectations because of the pandemic.
“I hope that I can get at least 500 cookie boxes sold this year. Last year I sold over 800,” Ezzi said.
Bernadette Mauriello said that the troop, which is made up of Brownies and Juniors, has been adjusting by picking up fewer cookies, but sales have been going better than expected.
“We didn’t get a lot of cookies. We have 14 girls; we got 145 cases on Friday [January 15], and Mia sold out; we sold out, and so did a few other girls,” she said, noting that she picked up 75 more cases for the troop on January 21.
Bernadette Mauriello noted that cookie sales are the largest source of funds for the troop, and they have a very specific goal for what to do with the proceeds from both this year’s and last year’s sales.
“My troop didn’t get to spend any money last year because we didn’t get to go anywhere, so they really want to save up to go on a trip to Universal Orlando Resort. That’s their goal,” she said.
Girl Scout cookies will continue to be on sale until March 28.
For more information, visit www.gscsnj.org/en/cookies/cookie-homebase.html.