The Girl Scouts have an unusual problem this year: 15 million boxes of unsold cookies. The 109-year-old organization says the coronavirus—not thinner demand for Thin Mints—is the main culprit, per the AP. As the pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. "This is unfortunate, but given this is a girl-driven program and the majority of cookies are sold in person, it was to be expected," says Kelly Parisi, a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of the USA. The impact will be felt by local councils and troops, who depend on the cookie sales to fund programming, travel, camps, and other activities. The Girl Scouts normally sell around 200 million boxes of cookies per year, or around $800 million worth.
Parisi said Girl Scouts of the USA did forecast lower sales this year due to the pandemic. But coronavirus restrictions were constantly shifting, and the cookie orders placed by its 111 local councils with bakers last fall were still too optimistic. By early spring, when troops usually set up booths to sell cookies in person, US coronavirus cases were still near their peak. Hundreds of girls opted not to sell cookies in person. As a result, around 15 million boxes of cookies were left over as the cookie season wound down. Most—around 12 million boxes—remain with the two bakers, Kentucky-based Little Brownie Bakers and Indiana-based ABC Bakers. Another 3 million are in the hands of Girl Scout councils, which are scrambling to sell or donate them. The cookies have a 12-month shelf life.
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