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Cookie crisis

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As my partner and I were leaving Wal-Mart one recent weekend, we were surrounded by cookie-selling Girl Scouts with pleading faces. I had a flashback from last year when we declined to buy cookies from a friend's niece who was selling them so her troop could go to summer camp. The little darling huffed, stomped her feet, crossed her arms and glared at us. "Dear, are you working on your temper-tantrum badge?" I inquired sweetly. But she was already storming off to confront her next customer.

The flashback faded as a half-dozen Scouts surrounded us. "Of course, we'd love to buy some cookies," Shawn said. The girls directed us to step over to the table where five soccer moms waited in the near-freezing drizzle.

"How many boxes do y'all want?" they asked.

"Oh, just one of the Lemon Drops," I said. Shawn and the soccer moms stared at me.

"And a box of Samoas," Shawn added. The moms cheered.

"And a box of Chocolate Swirls," I amended, not to be outclassed.

Nine bucks later we were back in the car heading home to Raleigh.

That evening the snack monster attacked. We stormed into the kitchen and tore into the first box. Wait a minute. Something was wrong. There was only one row of cookies in the box of Samoas. "The package machine in Girl Scout Land must have made a mistake!" we cried. Ripping into the second and third boxes, we found the same, a single row of cookies.

Unwilling to let the matter rest, I called the local Girl Scout office. The spokesperson there assured me that, although the boxes were indeed smaller and there was only one row of cookies instead of two, there were actually the same number of cookies per box--and some kinds even included an extra cookie--for the same price as last year.

Relieved, I dunked a cookie in my milk. "Damn, these are good," I managed to muffle through the crumbs.

"Mm-hm," agreed Shawn, wiping the chocolate off his fingers.

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