Pass the Thin Mints

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You have to hand it to 8-year-old budding entrepreneur and North Carolina Girl Scout, Wild Freeborn.

The annual Girl Scout cookie sale poses challenges to Scouts and parents nationwide, particularly this year. Most don’t go door-to-door anywhere unless accompanied by a parent. Others have grouped together at a table in the mall or set up outside the busy entrance of a store. Still more rely on parents to take the sign-up sheet to work in the hope of enlisting co-workers to buy some cookies, often-times trading on a promise to buy softball candy, etc., from someone else’s kid later on.

So, Ms. Freeborn decided to post a video on YouTube, with the help of her father, using what he called “up-to-date marketing principles.” After earlier trying to drum up door-to-door sales, she quickly racked up online sales of more than 700 boxes (local sales only) in the hope of ultimately selling 12,000 boxes to raise enough money to send her troop to summer camp.

But then she ran afoul of the Scout’s ban on Internet sales after complaints from other parents, and the Girl Scouts national group also cited fairness, as well as safety issues.

Other issues aside, maybe the Girl Scouts, which has been around since 1912 and is faced with dwindling membership, can take a few marketing lessons from Wild Freeborn (did I note that she was only 8?). Some Girl Scouts leaders have argued that face-to-face sales are “character building.”  But don’t they have a badge for ingenuity, too?
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