Cookies were my favorite dessert until my daughter joined the Girl Scouts. Since then, cookies and I have had a falling out mostly because of the Cookie Mother. This was a kind of woman I’d never heard of before. I’d been warned about Soccer Moms with their rigid schedules, aggressive PTA bake sales, and sweaters tied around their shoulders, but no one had ever warned me about Cookie Moms.
When I first registered Claire I was excited. A human being had survived long enough under my care to make it to Girl Scout age. I had visions of her camping and learning how to glue Popsicle sticks together. What I forgot was, she wouldn't start camping until she was older, and also she had to sell cookies. Troop leader Brenda called before sales began to say that I needed to come to the next meeting to discuss the cookies.
"Make sure you bring your driver's license," said Brenda. "I need to make a copy of it and get your signature on some things."
And she did. Forms were signed, copies were made, fingerprints and blood samples were taken to assure that I would return the money when Claire made sales. It seemed they'd had problems with cookie money thieves before. They're shrunken heads were hanging from the back of the classroom as a warning to the rest of us in case we fancied snitching a box of Tag-alongs.
A week went by and I didn't take Claire to sell anything. Perhaps it was the formality and idle threats that forced my brain to forget cookie sales. Until the call came.
"Genevieve? This is Vickie the Cookie Mom."
Vickie the Cookie Mom introduced herself this way because that's her title. She's The Cookie Mom. It's what she does.
"I was just calling to see how many boxes you've sold this week."
"Oh, actually," I giggled nervously. "I forgot about the cookies. It's been-"
“That's fine. But sales will be over soon."
"Right. Thanks for calling-"
I got another call the following week, in which we had the same conversation only I felt more embarrassed than before. I'd forgotten cookie sales? Had I forgotten to bathe and clothe Claire too? At the next meeting we still had no sales under our belts and Brenda gave me a sympathetic look.
"We're going to set up a booth outside of Wal-Mart tomorrow. Would you like to sign Claire up for it?"
I signed her up, and made a mental note to call my parents and ask if they wanted a box, which of course I forgot to do. But I didn't forget about Wal-Mart. The day before the event Cookie Mom called to remind me and asked if I had made any sales.
"See you tomorrow," she said.
It was with shame that I drove my zero-sales daughter to Wal-Mart the next day. The girls were positioned to attack from both entrances, and Claire and I were on the right side of the store with Brenda and her daughter. At the other side were more troops with their moms, and to keep track of each others' progress they had brought (and I'm not making this up) walkie talkies. We knew from the walkie talkies that their booth was doing better than ours. That was probably because Brenda and I spent the whole time talking and letting the girls play.
Brenda confided in me that it wasn’t just the Scout Leaders who were nuts on the cookies. The people who bought them were just as serious. Especially the Thin Mint People.
"The Thin Mint People," Brenda explained. "They're crazy. They'll buy ten boxes at once. They just have to have them."
But it wasn't just them. Others were just as starved for the cookies. People were walking past our table and assuring us they'd be back. They wanted to know, "Are you leaving soon? I won't be long in the store. You just wait 'til I come out."
They weren't just being polite. All of them came back, mostly for Thin Mints.
The steadiness of the sales made the time go by quickly. Soon Brenda said it was time to load the unsold cases into The Cookie Mom's van.
"The Cookie Mom...she's here?" I asked.
"Yeah, she's right over there."
I turned around and there she was. A wide-hipped woman, with brunette hair chemically frozen in waves along the sides of her head, perfectly made up eyes, and matching accessories. She extended a manicured hand.
"Hi," she said.
Your bra and panties match, don't they? I thought. You’re one of those chicks whose underclothes don't just match each other, they match your whole outfit. Don't they?!
"Hi," I said.
I began to load the boxes into her van, and as I did we began to talk. It turned out that Vickie the Cookie Mom wasn't so bad. When I looked into her van I saw why she was Cookie Mother. It was spotless. And it smelled good! I don't just mean that it didn’t smell bad I mean it smelled good. The Girl Scouts must have taken one whiff of it and said, "We've found her. She is the Chosen One."
Before she left she reminded me that there were still a few more days of sales.
So…Would anyone like some cookies? If so, please send your orders to Cookie Mom's attic where I am bound and gagged. She says if I sell five more boxes of shortbreads she'll loosen the ropes.