What a strange Girl Scout cookie season this has become.
On Sunday, Chris Rock did a staged bit where he sent Girl Scouts into the audience to sell cookies during the telecast.
“I want you to reach into your millionaire pockets, and I want you to buy some of my daughters’ Girl Scout cookies,” he urged the fancy Hollywood crowd.
“Are we going to deny my princesses from cookies? Alright, Tina Fey, get that money, girl. Charlize Theron, yes. Matt Damon, yes. Leo, you made $30 million — come on!” But what one hand giveth the other taketh away.
On Tuesday preacher Franklin Graham vowed to forsake the cookies because “the Girl Scouts organization sure isn’t what it used to be!”
In a Facebook post shared nearly 7,000 times, Graham riffed on how St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson recently asked Catholics to review their sponsorship of Girl Scout troops.
Carlson based his concerns on what he called a “troubling pattern of behavior” that is “increasingly incompatible with our Catholic views,” citing the organization’s support of transgender and gay rights.
“Archbishop Carlson is exactly right,” Graham wrote. “The ‘ways of the world’ are incompatible with biblical values.
“I don’t know about you, but I won’t be buying any Girl Scout cookies this year.”
Cranky TV chef Gordon Ramsay won’t be buying any either. On “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last week the “Hell’s Kitchen” host said the cookies looked “like dog biscuits.”
Then, taking his first-ever taste of the iconic sweets, he spit out a mouthful of Thin Mints, which he called a “cheap half-rate dinner mint.”
Ah well. Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is clearly a fan. This photo of him lusting after a box of cookies quickly became a meme.
Girl Scout cookie sales have fallen off in recent years. In 2015 sales fell to 194 million boxes, or $776 million in sales, Fortune reported. That was about a million boxes fewer than in 2014.
Girl Scouts have been selling cookies to fund themselves for nearly 100 years, making the first batches in their own homes, according to the organization.
When suburban shopping malls were built in the 1950s, the girls set up their iconic tables of cookies to sell.
Today’s Girl Scouts sell cookies in person, online, and through emails and sales videos. They have mobile apps and business cards. Some run personalized websites where customers place orders and pay by credit card. This year the Scouts launched a new digital platform for cookie sales.
They also hand out recipes, send thank-you cards and wrap up cookies in gift baskets.
Girl Scouts have gotten downright creative with their sales pitches. Last year a 13-year-old Girl Scout set up shop in front of a San Francisco marijuana dispensary, where she sold 117 boxes in just two hours — nearly a box a minute.
Another Scout did the same this year in Portland, Oregon. The dispensary even also sold a Girl Scout cookie strain of pot to customers. (The Girl Scouts were reportedly not very happy about the set-up.)
Top seller Elena Welsh in San Jacinto, Texas, sold 5,131 boxes of cookies two years ago at $4 a box, enough to buy herself a car, her troop leader joked.
Elena’s super-selling techniques involve a personalized sales pitch and detailed marketing plan — she tracks her sales data —ringing hundreds of doorbells, using a dedicated email address and a “cookie hotline” phone number to take orders.
She set up shop at 60 of her troop’s 100 scheduled booth events, so she knows that between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. is the “sweet spot” for cookie sales.
One Scout’s mom whose sales tips were spread all around Pinterest suggested girls dress in costume when they go door-to-door because “it is almost impossible to refuse an adorable Girl Scout dressed like a giant cookie.”
And the hair! Don’t forget about the hair. “Even if your daughter is long past the pigtail stage, wear them. Never underestimate the power of cute,” she advised.
During the Oscars telecast, Chris Rock called out the name of Linda Dunn, a mom in his daughters’ troop.
“Last night Zahra, my youngest, called me up and said: ‘Daddy how come we never sell the most cookies? How come Mrs. Dunn wins every year?’” Rock said during the broadcast. “It would mean so much to my little girl if we could beat Linda Dunn.”
Dunn joked about being called out on live TV, calling it a “personal throwdown.”
But with 90 million people watching the Oscars, she said, “you can’t buy that type of publicity for the Girl Scouts. That was a wonderful thing that he did.”
Then again, for some people, the cookies just seem to sell themselves.