girlscoutcookies

“Hit the door,” said the irritated vice president of Human Resources.

Carefully closing the door, I braced for an unpleasant message from the leader of all-things personnel.

Holding up the company’s employee handbook, I was sternly reminded by Lou Mauerbruecke* about corporate rules expressly and clearly stating that one cannot solicit fellow employees in a business setting. Sigh.

No wonder everyone hates Human Resources. Right, Catbert?

Trembling, I had flashbacks of being called into the principal’s office back in high school for being less than precious. And I can still see the dusty trash-laden hillside that needed to be cleared during my hot Saturday morning detention.

This time my crime against humanity and the pursuit of the bottom line was much more egregious: I was busted for selling Girl Scout cookies at work. Yes, those evil-and-sinister Girl Scout cookies.

Anybody who remotely knows me would not drop me into the “rebel” demographic. I have no tattoos, weird-place piercings and occasionally I even take a peek at Bill O’Reilly on (gasp) Fox News. And yet I was the equivalent of Martin Luther going against Rome, pounding the Ninety-Five Theses on the church door and subsequently being ex-communicated by Pope Leo X.

As I reflect back to that awful day (I still have flash-back nightmares about this incident), I ask myself whether my sin was venial or mortal. Allow me attest that my transgression was meek and mild.

Is there any product on our sustainable planet that has a better brand image than Girl Scout cookies? What will it be for you? Do-Si-Dos™? How about Samoas®? Tagalongs®? Thin Mints? Trefoils? Come on…You know you want them all, and you want them now.

Apple at $87.1 billion in brand equity may have the most valuable-and-lucrative corporate moniker according to Forbes, but have Girl Scout cookies ever fallen from $705.07 to $419 on anyone’s personal stock exchange real or imagined? Apple always has to develop a 5G in the aftermath of 4G, and a 6G to follow the 5G, but Thin Mints will always be Thin Mints. Trefoils will always be Trefoils. Everyone likes it that way. Subsequent product generations are not necessary.

The point I made to Herr Mauerbruecke was that Girl Scout cookies literally sell themselves. Besides I was acting in a similar manner to so many other parents as I was helping my daughter. Lou didn’t seem to care.

As the head of corporate public relations, I took the risk of raising his blood pressure…alas his ticker led to his ultimate demise…and asked him whether it was smart public relations to bust someone for hawking Girl Scout cookies. Can you imagine being “walked” out the door for selling Do-Si-Dos, Samoas and Tagalongs? What if the media found out? I can see the headlines in my mind’s eye.

Yes I know exactly what the employee handbook says, but I was not trying to sell a Mercedes-Benz, a Silicon Valley townhouse or a Mexican time share at work…These are friggin’ wholesome legendary cookies made from sugar, dough and so many other wonderful artery-clogging substances. Might as well go six-feet under with a smile on your face.

Lou settled down and realized that I was right in being wrong. There are some rules that are not worth requiring someone to drown or burn at the stake. It was time for common sense in the name of good public relations.

How about if I simply placed the Girl Scout cookie sign-up form face up on the meeting table in my glorified director of corporate public relations cubicle? If someone from the chairman and chief executive officer down to the vice president of Legal wanted to sign up…how and why should I stop them?

Technically, I am not violating the sacred employee handbook if they are acting on their own free will in ordering Girl Scout cookies? This is a Democracy. Right?

We had the makings of a compromise. We could raise taxes and reform entitlements and everyone would be happy? Let’s forget that analogy. To quote the late Neville Chamberlain, it was “peace for our time” and we could all go back home and “sleep quietly in our beds.” “Jerry” promised to be good.

As a result of our compromises, the selling of Girl Scout cookies was quietly allowed once again in a corporate environment, and I could continue to put food on the Brett household table. Everything was just so Do-Si-Do.

* The actual name was changed to protect the memory of a friendly colleague. May he rest in peace.

http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/how_to_buy.asp

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girl_Scout_Cookies

http://baking.about.com/od/familybaking/a/girlscoutcookie_2.htm

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2012/10/02/apple-tops-list-of-the-worlds-most-powerful-brands/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neville_Chamberlain

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