Girl Scout Cookie Time

March 08, 1995|By Newsday

It's that time of year -- Girl Scout cookie season. But thanks in large part to fear of crime, young cookie pushers today look to the workplace rather than the neighborhood as fertile sales territory. That often includes turning over the cookie-selling role to sympathetic third-party contractors -- moms and dads.

"We're adjusting. With two parents working and with more single parents, they just can't take their children around door to door," says Linda Gruskiewicz, executive director of Girl Scouts of Nassau County, N.Y.

So, during school vacations, Girl Scouts are setting up shop in company offices and cafeterias. And they're learning to market the new line of low-fat cookies over the phone to places such as health clubs and tennis centers, Ms. Gruskiewicz says.

In some areas, ordering is still in full swing; in others, leaders and Scouts are tallying up sales.

Some parents approach their new roles with enthusiasm; others mumble their apologies to colleagues. As for those on the receiving end of sales pitches -- some rise to the occasion; and others, especially those without children, see Girl Scout cookies as just another product in the long list of candy bars, raffle tickets and magazines that parents hawk at work.

Derek Riggs, 36, a production analyst for Avon Products in New York City, is one of those parents who has pitched in with pleasure to help his 9-year-old daughter, Ambryice. "I just put up a list outside my office, which is high-traffic, and people sign up," he says.

Jodi Greco, 34, a corporate travel agent in Melville, N.Y., let people know she was selling cookies by sending a message to co-workers through the company's computer system. She was up against a little competition this year from the boss' secretary, who was also pushing cookies.

Co-workers often look on office cookie sales as a convenience. "I just don't know any Girl Scouts," says Lynette Lager, a vice president of marketing and research for a large Wall Street company.

But, the bah-humbug crowd still voices strong resentment. "It gets to be a little bit much when there's this constant parade of people selling things," says a 37-year-old real estate executive who declines to be named for fear of being branded what he calls "grinch to the world."

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