Saturday, March 01, 2008

Girl Scout Cookies

My daughter Annie provides today's post from Evanston, Illinois.

So I was walking down the street today…well more like sliding down the street...when I came across a stand for Girl Scout Cookies. Naturally I was delighted—I wait all year for this. So I go up to the stand prepared to buy some “Thin Mints” when I see this: Girl Scout Cookie 100 calorie packs.

I was horrified. Girl Scouts shouldn’t know what calories are much less be counting them. Now I must admit that I do purchase 100 calorie packs. I enjoy cookies that are shrunk down to the size of scrabble tiles. But I’m not seven years old.

If parents are worried about portion control then they should serve smaller portions not teach little girls about caloric intake.

And here’s the worst part. On the back of each of the cookie packs it says this:

Girls can burn calories and have fun with 30 minutes of activities like these: Ice Skating—126 calories. Gymnastics—72 calories…


Why don’t they just start giving out merit badges for weight loss? Or maybe their uniforms could only go up to size “medium” ...y'know, for incentive. Why can’t they just call them “fun packs” like the good old days? When these little girls start thinking they’re fat and asking how many calories are in their graham crackers and juice box, don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Cathy Fielding said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathy Fielding said...

It's the old "hook 'em while they're young, then you'll have 'em for life" scenario.

Shame on The Girl Scouts! It's bad enough the girls are pimped out to raise funds for the organization. Now, they want them doing it wearing a size 0!

Anonymous said...

No such 100-calorie packs are being offered through the sales my daughters are part of (Juniors, grades 4 and 6) in the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital. The ones sold here are baked by a company called Little Brownie; I've heard that the selection is different in other parts of the country, so what you saw must be a regional thing - it's certainly not nationwide.

Anonymous said...

While I absolutely agree that little girls shouldn't be taught to worry about such things as calories and weight (although I'm guessing many of them already do), Girl Scout Cookies are less an educational tool than a fund-raising device. As such, they're marketed to adults, not kids. And adults are buying up these 100-calorie packs of snack foods like crazy, despite the fact that they cost an average of twice as much as regular-size packages -- thus bringing higher profits to the companies (or organizations such as the Girl Scouts) selling them.

So I would worry less about the kids, and more about all those adults who are so weak in the face of sugary, fat-laden empty-calorie treats that they can't face a normal-size package of them without eating the entire thing.

Tallulah Morehead said...

Very funny, in a horrifying way.

Maybe they could market the Binge'N'Purge pack, with instructions as to just how many calories are in each regurgitation. "Eat all you want, Then Vomit Up What Will Make You A Fat Pig No Man Will Ever Love!"

Anonymous said...

Next: Rub two anorexics together and start a fire. And I believe the correct answer dad might give is, "When tampon commercials stop looking like The Wide World of Sports."

Them cookies is good though. Plus I learned something.

Anonymous said...

Tallulah: Another catchy slogan for the Binge'N'Purge pack might be "Toss Your Cookies!"

Anonymous said...

"So I was walking down the street ... ."

"So I go up to the stand ... ."

So, I see your daughter doesn't have your gift for writing!

Unknown said...

She has proven in the past that she is funny and can in fact write good posts.

So you might want to sample a larger number of her contributions to this blog before judging her by just ONE post.

I don't tell you that you are a pain in the ass after having read just one comment from you either.

Doktor Frank Doe said...

Well it's simple, Parents aren't parents anymore. They're simply guardians, big difference.

Anonymous said...

So...I'm sure Annie livened things up in her troop.

Anonymous said...

Sebastian said: "I don't tell you that you are a pain in the ass after having read just one comment from you either."

Ah, but we CAN tell that good ol' anon is a coward from that single post; it's easy to be nasty and critical when you don't even sign your name. (BTW, mine's Ruth - nice to meet you.)

Nice post, Annie ... dare I say "food for thought"??

Beth Ciotta said...

Wow, 'anonymous'. That was just mean. I'm saddened by your lack of sensitivity.

Annie, I found your post both delightful and disturbing. Although 'bigted' has a point. The cookies are probably marketed more toward adults. People like me, a woman with zero willpower when offered a box (or three) of the famous Girl Scout 'Thin Mints'. And, okay. I admit it. I'm quite fond of the Peanut Butter cookies as well.

Jeesh. I'm in trouble.

Chris Hansen said...

I have two girl scouts in my home, and my wife is a troop leader, so we deal with cookies all over the house for weeks. It seems like every year the scouts have at least one "low fat" or otherwise healthy option. Last year it was "Brownie Bites" or something like that, and the year before it was some kind of powdered lemon cookie.

I actually think it's a good idea to provide at least one moderately healthy option (er, perhaps it's not actually healthy but rather "less unhealthy")...

And I agree with bigted, too -- they're not so much marketed at the kids as they are the adults.

As for willpower in the face of really tasty treats (such as those peanut butter "Tagalongs"), a lot of people struggle with that, myself included.

I also don't think it's a bad thing to have girls (and boys!) learn about healthy eating. In fact, my daughter's "Juniors" troop did a badge on the topic; for part of it, they looked at the ridiculous fat and calorie content of most fast food.

Some might think that it's a bad thing to introduce kids to this stuff, but with so many bad options for (fast) food, I think it's best that they learn about healthy eating when they're still young. Once they're teenagers and start going out on their own and making their own eating choices, I'd prefer they think twice about another burrito from Taco Bell...

Mmmm... Taco Bell... I think I'll make a run for the border ;-)

By Ken Levine said...

So I'm reading anonymous and thinking to myself, what an idiot.

Actually, there's nothing wrong with the two "so's". The piece was written in a breezy conversational style and the two uses in fact help establish the tone.

My two thoughts for anonymous: leave your name or I will delete you in the future and go find other blogs that conform to your grammatical standards. Don't need you here. I'm sorry, I mean... I don't need you here.

Anonymous said...

For Bigeted et al,

I completely agree that 100 calorie packs are marketed for adults. However, young girls have to sell them. And aren't they going to wonder what it means and why it's an option? Won't they ask what "100 calories" means? And then proceed to wonder how many calories are in other things they consume? I just don't think its a product that they should have to endorse when you can buy 100 calorie items anywhere.

I'm glad you realize that a rant on my dad's blog is the extent of my writing ability. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Woops. Then again writing "Bigeted" instead of "Bigted" is an accurate display of my typing abilities...


Emily Blake said...

At the same time, kids are exercising less and less and getting fatter every day. And here they are selling cookies. I don't condone anorexia, but it might be a good idea to teach kids that you can't eat box after box of cookies and never gain any weight. Of course the ideal way to do that would be to teach them about nutrition and exercise, not calorie counting.

Incidentally I can't find any Girl Scout cookies and I really want some Tagalongs.

Beth Ciotta said...

Emily, go here.

If you put in your zip code they'll tell you where to find GS cookies in your area. Sadly, they are out of season here in New Jersey.

Anonymous said...

This is all my fault. After proofreading Annie's original (excerpted below), I urged her to "dumb it down" a bit:

"A brisk perambulation along a snowswept boulevard this winter afternoon proved more akin to a glide, one that delivered me to a most delightful destination: a makeshift kiosk designed for the public distribution of those addictive comestibles known as "Girl Scout Cookies." I approached the humble display well nigh quivering in anticipation that only a simple commercial transaction need be completed before I would find myself luxuriating in the sensual bliss reliably provided by that most beguiling of biscuits -- the 'Thin Mint.'"

I should have known this might raise the hackles of some of the noted intellectuals who visit here, such as "anonymous." My apologies.

Anonymous said...

Well see, there's the problem. You walked up to a Girl Scout cookie STAND. What? Aren't they supposed to be WALKING the neighborhood door-to-door? Y'know, getting some exercise? Instead it's 'sit on your butt and count calories'.
BTW Annie, your rule that states "If a movie is over three hours long it should be ineligible for a 'best editing' nomination" That's freakin perfect.

Anonymous said...

Harry Truman would have been proud, though I have to admit, I probably would have included the mention of beefsteak and a supporter.

Give 'em hell, Kenny

Tallulah Morehead said...

So I'm reading JBryant's addendumb to my post.

So I'm embarassed I didn't think of "Toss Your Cookies" myself, since it is the PERFECT line for that gag.

So I'm wondering how to find and kill JBryant if he tops me so perfectly again.

So I realize that I usually LOVE being topped, but only in a sexual way.

Juss_ILP said...

I'm not sure what to say about the 100 calorie packs. I'm not even sure that they even accomplish what they are marketed for.

I once overheard a conversation in the grocery store between a husband and a wife. The husband was begging his wife to just pick up the regular bag of Doritos. As he stated (and rather convincingly to me), "Those 100 bags dont last as long, I have to eat 3 bags just to get a regular portion."

Anonymous said...

Annie, so long as you didn't spell my moniker "bigoted," I'm fine with it.

By the way, a bunch of Girl Scouts had a cookie table set up outside my local Ralphs this morning, so they're clearly up to competing with the approximately 5 billion varieties of snack foods sold inside.

Cap'n Bob said...

I like the suggested ways for a girl to burn calories, like gymnastics. Hmmm, should I buy my daughter a jump rope or a set of uneven parallel bars?

I'm amazed that one poster couldn't find any of the cookies. Are there no supermarkets in that town? I was accosted mere hours ago by some delightful little moppets trying to sell me some cookies outside Safeway. Had I not already ordered two boxes from a neighbor girl last month I would have succumbed. Now that I think of it, I wish I had. You can't have too many thin mints on hand.

And to the "so" objector, it's called a litany and is perfectly valid.

Anonymous said...

oy. that poster? she's wearing the same style of girl scout uniform i wore. mine cost $10 and it was a fortune for my folks at the time.

we sold cookies door to door for 35 cents a box.

this was around 1958.

Anonymous said...

i should add, however, that our uniforms were of a lighter weight material with short sleeves - this was florida, btw.

and for the life of me i never could get my yellow tie to stand out like that. right over left, left over right...and then pull.

Anonymous said...

tallulah said: "So I'm embarassed I didn't think of "Toss Your Cookies" myself, since it is the PERFECT line for that gag."

Thanks, tallulah. That's why they refuse to pay me the big bucks. Sheer jealousy.

tallulah said: "So I'm wondering how to find and kill JBryant if he tops me so perfectly again.

So I realize that I usually LOVE being topped, but only in a sexual way."

Well, maybe we can work something out. I don't want to die, unless perhaps "a fate worse than death" is the other option. Send pics.

Alto2 said...

And what badge do they earn for selling those 100-cal packs? "My First Eating Disorder" badge?? Just awful.

Anonymous said...

Really!?!? Don't you think it’s about time we start teaching kids how to manage a healthy lifestyle though good eating habits? Teach them how calories are a measure of energy and how that is converted once we eat it. We spend way too much time marketing food to our kids it is no wonder that obesity has become a problem in our country. Over the past 20 years, the proportion of overweight children ages six through 11 has more than doubled and the rate for kids 12 through 19 has tripled (CDC).

You’re misplacing blame here Annie… Eating disorders are not a result of teaching kids to eat healthy. Generally teaching healthy eating habits would include teaching kids about the dangers of not eating enough. I think the only thing Girl Scout cookies teach kids is how to push product. You’re way off base here. Honestly, the Girl Scouts should probably be selling fresh fruit.

CarolMR said...

This sounds like something Nanny Bloomberg here in NYC dreamed up.

Anonymous said...

Annie, - long time lurker here.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. Teaching children healthy eating does not, and IMHO, should not involve calories, or the dread word "diet". My Mom taught us to eat properly - everything in moderation but with the emphasis on lots of fruits, veggies etc. One sis just couldn't eat fries with gravy in moderation. She was overweight from the time she was 12 years old, as a lot of girls are, going through puberty, and subsequently spent all sorts of time and money on diet books and calorie counting, but she never could resist those binges on fast food - even worked in McDonalds for awhile (ugh - I'd rather eat okra, which I detest). Many, many years later, she is still overweight, still spending time and money on diet books and still counting calories. The other four of us never paid it any attention and not one of us is overweight. I don't know where Vawn got this obsession with diets, probably at school, but it never did a thing for her. I find it interesting that the "diet" industry is a multi billion dollar per year enterprise, and of course, the media pressure to be size 0 (what the heck is that?), for both sexes these days, is intense. By the way, in terms of sizes, when a teenager, I was a size 10. I weigh exactly 10 pounds more 40 years later, and am now a size 6?
Healthy eating should emphasize the bodies needs in terms of vitamins, minerals, roughage etc. Relying on the diet industry mandated terminology is IMO counterproductive.
Don't have a blogger/google account, however, it's Helen here.

Tallulah Morehead said...

JBryant wrote: "Send pics."

That's me in my avatar. Click on that daring.

Anonymous said...

tallulah: I would have preferred a photo to a drawing, but assuming that's an accurate rendering, you look damn good for 110. Just the fact that your breasts are still above your waist is very impressive. Unfortunately, I prefer to "date" women who are within a half-century of my own age. Do you have any daughters, granddaughters or great-granddaughters?

Anonymous said...

Myabe the product is targeted at the fat buyers and not the skinny sellers?

Anonymous said...

This is honestly one of the silliest threads I've ever read. [I]Adults[/i], not children, are the primary target market for these cookies. And frankly, it won't do our children one bit of harm to understand that cookies are a [i]treat/i], and that you shouldn't overindulge in them (hence, the popular 100 calorie packs). Teaching children about nutrition and moderation is not the same as telling them to be size 0s.

Austin Brown said...

Those 100 calorie packs cost like.. at least double of what a normal pack costs for other foods.

Tallulah Morehead said...

JB (Oh, that reminds me of J $ B, which I adore!),
I AM a cartoon, so that it is a photograph.

As for my breasts being still so high, that's artistic licence. Last year I saw my doctor because I was getting bruises on the underside of my breasts. Turned out to be toe marks. I was kicking them as I walked.

I had a daughter, darling Pattycakes. (She was ADOTPTED! Those rumors that she was my love child by C. Aubrey Smith are vile near-lies!) Patty disappeared without a trace in 1959, shortly before my "Perfect Match" liver transplant. She did, post-disappearance, publish a book about me titled MUMMY DARLING. It was all lies! The worst kind of lies! True Lies!

For further biographical information, consult my autobiography, MY LUSH LIFE, available from Amazon. (Patty's book is out of print.)

Thanks for asking. Cheers!

Richard Cooper said...

So I was just breezing by and caught Annie's post, and I thought, Bravo!

Of course, regarding the 100-cal packs, June Cleaver could just divide up the box into single-sized baggies for the kids instead of paying extra for the unnecessary pre-packaging.

But, on the other hand, if you eat an entire box of Thin Mints for lunch, your shit doesn't stink.

Kate Harding said...

Everyone talking about how the cookies are marketed to adults, did you not notice the part where the package says "Girls can burn calories..."?

Eating disorders are not a result of teaching kids to eat healthy.

No, but they are often triggered by dieting. And teaching a little girl to count calories and think of exercise only in terms of working off food is really not encouraging her to have a healthy relationship with food or her own body.

Great post, Annie.

Anonymous said...

As a new Brownie mom, I see nothing wrong with encouraging girls to exercise. Have you see the size of our American youth? Seriously. I applaud the GS for having that information. Maybe if the parents don't portion control, the girls can learn it in GS. Just for the record when was the last time you sat in on a GS meeting?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Big Ted. I was a girl scout myself 10 years ago and this was never an issue or a concern.

Great blog!