girl scout cookies in the trash

It’s Spring, which means it’s Girl Scout cookie season. Little Girl Scouts and Brownies everywhere are marching door to door selling boxes of Americana. If you live a few flights up or don’t have any Girl Scouts in your neighborhood, you may have escaped the door-to-door sales period, but I would be surprised if you haven’t encountered little green- or brown-vested girls somewhere else. Rosy-cheeked and armed with multi-hued boxes, they sit at card tables in front of your local hardware or grocery store, at parks, or near the door of your morning coffee spot ready to sell Thin Mints and Do-Si-Dos. You may even work with people who push cookies for their daughters at the office. The Girl Scouts and Brownies are everywhere this time of year, and many of us can’t dodge buying a box or two (or ten). I mean, who can turn down a cute little 8-year old girl selling cookies to pay for the big end-of-year campout?

So each year I find myself with boxes of Samoas, Lemon Chalet Cremes, and Tagalongs, to go with the ever popular Thin Mints and Do-Si-Dos. But here’s the problem: I hate Girl Scout cookies.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate the Girls Scouts of America. Unlike the Boy Scouts, with their appalling homophobia issues, the Girl Scouts are quite likable. The organization works to empower girls of all ages, which I think is great. My daughters were Brownies for a couple of years, and if the meeting time hadn’t interfered with piano lessons, they would still be in their old troop hawking their own boxes of cookies.

My dislike of Girl Scout cookies has nothing to do with the Girl Scout organization itself and everything to do with the actual cookies. They’re just not very good. Actually, they’re awful. Whenever I see people look genuinely excited to get their boxes, I am confused. The chocolate in the Thin Mints and Samoas is waxy, while the Samoas themselves are so overtly sweet they make me nauseous. Trefoils are sort of like shortbread, but without the great buttery taste, so why bother? The Do-Si-Dos, which are peanut butter cookies, are probably the best of the bunch, but even they’re a poor facsimile of what a real peanut butter cookie should taste like. And don’t even get me started about the partially hydrogenated oils in every box.

I have kept my feelings about Girl Scout cookies bottled up for years as detesting them seems tantamount to hating grandma and apple pie. But I need to be brave and stop living a lie. So I am shouting it from the rooftops (or rather my computer). I hate Girl Scout cookies! There is nothing tasty about them and I’m tired of pretending Thin Mints are a treat. If this organization is going to bombard us with cute kids selling plastic-wrapped confections, can’t the cookies at least taste good?

Maybe they really aren’t all that bad and I’m just turning into a crabby old lady. The next thing you know I’ll be screaming at the kids to get off my lawn. Okay, it felt good to get that off my chest. That said, I’m sure I’ll be buying more boxes next year.

Confessions of a Girl Scout Cookie Hater 12 March,2009Denise Santoro Lincoln

  • I wonder if the peanut butter cookies are recall casualties? and I totally agree…compared to good quality store-bought cookies…they are not high quality cookies.

  • Denise Lincoln

    The Girl Scouts sent out a press release during the peanut butter recall saying their cookies weren’t affected. That said, I passed on buying the peanut butter ones this year just to be on the safe side.

  • I too, don’t like these cookies. I totally agree with you, the thin mints are too waxy. I used to think it was me being a cookie snob, but I’m so glad you think so too!

  • anon

    How does the Girl Scouts of America “empower girls of all ages”?

  • ajk

    How does the Girl Scouts of America “empower girls of all ages”?

  • Denise Lincoln

    The Girl Scouts official mission is to help girls “build character and skills for success in the real world.” From what I’ve seen, the organization tries to teach girls leadership skills while also instilling in them them a sense of philanthropy and community. Girls can join when they’re about 5 and then you can be a Girl Scout through high school and beyond (I think).

  • Kevin

    I LOVE Samoas … but all they sell around here are Caramel de-lites which are similar but made with milk chocolate and NOT dark chocolate. Evidentally the Girls Scouts use two bakeries ABC Bakers (Caramel de-lites…yuck) and Little Brownie Bakers who make Samoas. I will no longer buy cookies as long as they are selling de-lites ….
    I WANT MY SAMOAS ! ! ! !

  • sam

    The Boyscout policy is not homophobic, it is consistent with their moral code. There are many moral codes which condemn homosexuality. Dropping emotionally charged words in a post about cookies is destructive and divisive and further alienates people with whom you disagree.

    We as a people will never love our neighbors if we continue using untempered speech and indiscriminately stirring the pot.

  • Jane

    If you would like to support the Girl Scouts but don’t like the cookies (I don’t like them either), you can always designate that the cookies go to Operation Thin Mint, and they will be delivered to people serving in the military.

  • Denise Lincoln

    Great point, if that option is available. Unfortunately it wasn’t through our local troop. I think only some GS organizations offer this service.

  • Shawn

    The Boy Scout policy is homophobic. It’s funny how people can try to defend this as being part of a “moral code”, but if their policy discriminated against a person based on their race or religion these same people would be up in arms.

  • Denise Lincoln

    Shawn — I couldn’t agree more. I find it difficult to be tolerant of intolerance.


    If you truly cannot appreciate the deliciousness of the samoa, you must be missing most of your tongue, or have lost sense in your tastebuds. …Something is awry. I would visit my local health care professional if I were you.


    You’re pretty much right about the other cookies though. Well said.

  • Michael Walden

    I can’t stand Cookie Scout cookies either! Long ago, I liked the peanut butter cookies, back when they were called “Savannahs”, and the shortbread cookies back when they were sprinkled with sugar and called “Scot-Teas”. I’ve never ever liked the thin mints, which have always tasted like chocolate covered toothpaste. Maybe my palate has aged away from them but there are so many better cookies out there. And at four bucks a box – we’re not talking about good value, either. I know it’s a charity drive but, hey – give me something for my money!

  • Today was the last day of the Girl Scout Cookie sale. The troop that was set up in front of the grocery store was featuring their Gifts of Caring Community Service Project, where customers buy cookies to be donated to one of three charities: a local food bank, the military, or the Red Cross. Since I love their cookies but hate to have them around, I was happy to be able to donate the cookies to someone who would appreciate them. The Girl Scout cookie sales has got be one of the earliest social ventures around.

  • gloria

    I am concerned about the quality of these cookies more than the taste. I believe they should sell cookies that are only made with natural, organic, wholesome ingredients. The cookies that they sell now are quite unhealthy. For many years people have been buying these cookies without questioning the ingredients …

  • i am a girl scout and have been since i was 6 years old. They are the cookies of the world whether they are sold by girl scouts or girl guides they are the best cookies on the planet

  • Blair Tindall

    Yeah, they’re awful. I was a girl scout from grades 2-12, brownies through cadets — the whole nine yards. I couldn’t stand them even as a kid. They’re grainy, cheaply-produced, and bland. I hear people waxing poetic and wonder why. Many people slammed doors in my face when I sold door to door in NC, and I could hardly blame them. Why can’t they have some nice soft macadamia nut cookies or oatmeal ones?

  • misterkay

    Hear hear, though a year late. In total agreement with the sentiments. Cookies are supposed to be treats and if you’re going to treat yourself do it right i.e. good quality chocolate, freshly baked creations, mouth watering flavors. The cookies themselves are on par with the generic supermarket brand cookies in the large extra value packages. Now it’s 2010 and cnce again girl scout cookie time has come (it’s midwinter here in the East–no signs of spring just yet). Bad enough that the dull, uninspiring snacks are merely unpalatable, the worse part is being obliged to purchase several boxes of the crud when your boss asks for your support. I used to say “Can’t I just make a donation to the girl scounts instead!” which is generally received with a blank, vaguely menacing, stare. So I’ve learned well enough best to buy them and promptly give them away or leave them opened in the office ktichen. However I feel a touch of cruelty in so doing.

  • Hi misterkay — This year our local troop is actually offering the option to purchase cookies that will be donated (not sure to who). At least this way you can purchase them from your boss but not have to eat them.

  • Elizabeth

    I think Girl Scout cookies are bad for you, are made with ingredients that have been found to be bad for you and a total waste of my money. The problem with donating them to charity is that I would be giving them something that they too may not enjoy.
    The Girl Scout troop in our area would not let my daughter join. We sold them in our hometown as Brownies before we moved. When we moved, all the troops here acted like cliques and refused members they “didn’t know.” When I offered my time and energy to be a scout leader I found out I had to pay hundreds of dollars to classes to be a leader. We gave up on Girl Scouts.

  • P.

    The cookies are cheaply made so they could be sold for a relatively cheap price, but still the profit margin would be worth it for the Girl Scouts and their fundraising efforts.


Denise Santoro Lincoln

I am a writer, editor, mother of twins, and enthusiastic home cook. I was raised by an Italian-American mother who, in the 1970s, grew her own basil (because she couldn’t find any in the local grocery stores), zucchini (for those delicious flowers), and tomatoes (because the ones in the store tasted like “a potato”). My mom taught us to love all kinds of food and revere high-quality ingredients. I am now trying to follow in my mother’s footsteps and am on a mission to help my daughters become adventurous eaters who have a healthy respect for seasonal food raised locally. My daughters and I grow vegetables and go to the farmers’ market. We also love to shop at Piedmont Grocery and Trader Joe’s. When I’m not hanging out with my daughters or cooking, I like to contribute to cookbooks (including Williams-Sonoma’s Food Made Fast and Foods of the World series), work as an editor, and write about food for Bay Area Bites and Denise’s Kitchen. My food inspirations are M.F.K Fisher, Julia Child, and Alice Waters — three fabulous women who encompass everything I love about food.

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