It used to be a near-universally held belief that Girl Scout cookies were a national treasure, and that the heroes who sell them should be treated with respect. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore in 2022.
Instead, it appears that young Girl Scouts are encountering bullying and abusive comments from adults when they try to sell their products in public places.
Oona Hanson told Insider that this is a trend she’s noticed over the last decade while volunteering with the young saleswomen. However, she made it clear that it’s been getting worse in recent years.
“People are getting even more aggressive with girls and the volunteers,” Hanson said.
The publication noted that unkind comments are inspired by a variety of complaints. Some of the most common ones include that the cookies are unhealthy or too expensive.
Hanson directly referenced the former complaint and alluded to the negative effects that comments about dieting can have on young, impressionable minds in an impassioned message on Twitter.
“PSA for those buying Girl Scout cookies,” she wrote. “Please do not make comments about weight gain or joke that you can’t have Thin Mints in the house or talk about your low-carb diet or yell at the girls for ‘poisoning’ people.”
The concerned parent made it clear that these are all things that young girls have encountered during cookie season, which Today noted generally runs from January through April.
“Remember you can simply say, ‘no, thank you’ if you don’t want to buy anything,” she added.
In terms of the cost of a box of cookies, Girl Scout cookies do tend to cost more than alternatives on the market, according to Insider. However, sales are put to a good use. Vox reported that the entirety of funds benefit the group.
That leads into another complaint… Potential buyers also apparently harass Girl Scouts thanks to rumors that proceeds of cookie sales benefit Planned Parenthood.
The Girl Scouts association makes it clear on their website that they do not have a relationship with the organization. FactCheck.org largely dismissed any allegations of a partnership between the two groups, too.
Despite that, several volunteers relayed stories about unsavory encounters with customers who are against abortion. Users on Twitter have publicly come out against the once-beloved cookies and cited these rumors as a reason.
Although bullying appears to be a real concern, Girl Scout leaders are taking steps to keep children safe. For instance, you’ll likely notice that adult volunteers are present whenever you see Girl Scouts set up to sell in public places.
Becky Burton, a higher-up in the organization, revealed that they are trying to teach the girls to ignore negative comments. “You don’t know what’s going on in that person’s life, and we teach our girls just to be gracious,” she told Insider.