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Boundaries, Cookies, Marijuana Oh my!

February 5, 2018

So, you all know that it’s Girl Scout cookie season. What many of you may not know is how cutthroat cookie sales can be for some families. It can get intense. It can get heated. It can get ugly.

For our family, cookie season is intense, but we do our best to keep it fun. We do our best to keep things fair. We follow the rules. We don’t push the boundaries. We try to remember that cookie sales are not really about cookies. Cookie sales are about teaching the girls critical life skills – goal setting, business ethics, decision making, money management and people skills.

In life there are always people who push boundaries. There are people who bend the rules. We all know people who skirt around rules and boundaries just for fun. And we all also know people who stay as far away from boundaries as possible.

So when one of the local news stations aired a story about a Girl Scout selling cookies in front of a marijuana dispensary the gloves came off so to speak. My Facebook groups were full of people commenting, accusing, blaming, cursing and generally being not nice with regards to whether this girl was breaking the rules or not. People were judging her parents for allowing her to sell in such a place. As we walked around our neighborhood with our wagon, I would estimate that about one third of the people we met asked us about the news story. There were people who thought it was “genius” and others who shook their heads in disbelief.

The Husband and I were discussing the “fairness” and “legality” of this girls’ sale, and we disagree. (which is totally okay!)  In San Diego booth sales (sales where girls typically set up tables in front of stores) don’t begin until February 9. So to sell right now, we are allowed to do “walkabouts” or “standabouts.” Walkabout are when we walk with a wagon or some other mobile cookie mover to sell cookies. Standabouts are where we can set-up a table in our own front yard and sell cookies.

The rules provided by our local council are vague to say the least. For example, we have always been told that we can sell at the beach or parks as long as we are “moving.” We have to have a wagon or some other means of making forward progress. We cannot set-up a table and chairs to sell. But our cookie manual states that sales are not allowed on “properties or sites used by the general public.” What the heck does that even mean? Sidewalks in our neighborhoods are used by the general public, so we can’t sell on our own streets?

Our manual also tells us that sales are not allowed on “commercial properties.” In the case of the girl at the marijuana store some reports say she was on the sidewalk outside the business. So where does the “commercial property” line get drawn?

I have always operated on the idea that the sidewalks in front of stores, malls or other retail locations are off limits. But a representative from our Council stated on the news that this girl was within boundaries because she was on the sidewalk “in her community.” Again, how do we interpret “community?” The location of this particular dispensary is not in a residential area by any means. There is no housing around. It’s actually a large commercial location (there are several large stores in the same parking lot area).

I don’t have any answers or anything really profound to say on the subject. I know my opinion and The Husband’s opinion. What’s yours?

Regardless where you fall in this debate, our local Council needs to do some serious thinking about how to better establish and communicate the guidelines for all girls. In the meantime, we will continue to do our best with what we believe to be fair to all because after all it’s not really about cookies, it’s a lesson in life.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2018 12:27 pm

    The way I see it, no one told her she couldn’t do it. Absent of a definitive ruling by the Girl Scout Council or the local authorities, anywhere is fair game. Very clever of her to choose to sell her cookies in front of a dope store…

  2. February 14, 2018 8:32 pm

    Considering Jack in The Box (with so many 24-hour stores) runs “Munchie Box” commercials on late, late night TV, clearly aimed at those who crave munchies late, late at night, it would seem to reflect sound and fair business practices to “know your customer” and make your product convenient to purchase. I don’t believe business savvy necessarily overlaps with unethical business practices (though I question the wisdom of 24-hour Jack in The Box drive-thrus.)

    What do you perceive as valid ethical concerns around selling cookies outside marijuana dispensaries?

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