We’re half-way through March. All week long, I have enjoyed blue skies, bright sunshine, and just when I start to think it’s getting a bit warm, a cool breeze flutters past to remind me that while months of hot, nasty, sticky weather may be just around the corner, it’s not here quite yet.
In the spirit of my recently engraved-in-granite resolution to eat less and exercise more so I can get back into shape, I decided to ride my bike to Target this morning to pick up a few things. I went downstairs to the garage to retrieve my freshly tuned-up bicycle to which I had just had the boys at the bike shop around the corner add rear wire mesh baskets that fold up flat on either side of the tire when not in use. I pulled on my fingerless, gel cushioned bicycle gloves, clipped another basket (with carrying handle) to the front of my handlebars, and my sweet ride was ready to roll!
I pedaled the one mile to the store, working against a formidable wind. As I approached my destination, I thought how much easier the ride home would be with the wind at my back. After I had secured my bike, I unsnapped the front basket, carried it with me into the store and placed it in the shopping cart to remind me not to get anything I couldn’t safely carry home with me on my bicycle.
While I was checking out, I decided to get $20 cash back along with my purchase since I was running low. The teller handed me the twenty along with my receipt, both of which I jammed into my pocket as I pushed my cart towards the exit.
On my way to my bicycle, I was suddenly accosted by five little girls in Girl Scout uniforms who, along with a couple of mothers in tow, had set up a portable table between the Target entrance and the bike rack where I had locked my bike. On top of the table had been stacked scores of brightly-colored boxes of numerous cookie varieties.
“Girl Scout cookies!” they announced together. “Do you want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”
Did I want to buy some Girl Scout cookies? Of course, I did! And that was the problem. Because Girl Scout cookies are the archnemesis of anyone who’s trying to get back into shape. I wanted to tell them, “No, thank you, ladies,” and continue on my way. And that’s probably what I should have done.
On the other hand, anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows that this is an opportunity not to be taken lightly. Because once all the Girl Scout cookies are sold, they’re gone until the next officially sanctioned fundraiser. And that won’t be any time soon. So anyone who hasn’t stocked up will either have to rely on the generosity of friends and family or suck it up and make do with substandard grocery store knock offs for months.
And that, my friends, is not a pleasant thought.
“How much are they?” I asked, weighing the possibilities and considering how many boxes I might purchase.
“Four dollars each.”
“Hmm…” Prices were up from last time. I looked at the boxes decorated with life-sized photographs of their contents, and my mouth began to water. I could almost taste those cookies touching my tongue buds!
“Okay,” I relented and pulled out the twenty I’d just cashed. “I’d like one box of Peanut Butter Patties, please…”
One of the little girls grabbed a box of Peanut Butter Patties for me and they all waited expectantly for me to choose another box. I had a twenty, after all.
“Um… Ooh, a box of Caramel deLites. I like those!”
My personal shopper grabbed the box and waited.
“Some Lemonades, please… and one more box of Peanut Butter Patties. Those are my favorites.”
“That’s sixteen dollars, please,” said one of the other girls.
“Is there a box limit? Are you cutting me off?” I asked, feigning surprise.
“Let’s make sure she’s finished shopping first,” offered one of the mothers.
“Can I get some more?” I asked the girls.
“You can buy all of them if you want,” said one of them, gesturing over the boxes with a lavish sweep of her arm.
“Can I have all of them for this twenty dollar bill?”
“No! You can’t have all of them!” protested one of the little girls.
“No? So how many boxes can I buy with this twenty?”
“Five,” volunteered another.
“Someone knows her math,” I said to the mothers and we grinned at one another.
At that point, I had four boxes and was due back four dollars in change. I was contemplating whether or not I should just go ahead and blow the whole twenty and get another box when one of the girls saw the coffee pot I had just purchased at Target. Time to move in for the kill. She pointed to a box of Shortbread Cookies on the table and added helpfully, “These are really good with coffee.”
Oh, she was good. She was really good.
“Fine,” I said. “I guess I’ll take a box of Shortbread Cookies, too.”
Knowing that I had been tapped for all the cash I had, several of the girls jumped up, grabbed my five boxes, ran around to the front of the table and very neatly packed them into the front basket of my bicycle. They were so excited about their Big Sale that nobody wanted to take my twenty despite the fact that I kept waving it around trying to pass it to one of them. When I asked, “Does someone want to take my money or do I get these cookies for free?” someone said, “Oh!” and the twenty was snatched from my hand.
I had just been bamboozled out of a twenty-dollar bill by the perfect storm of little girl cuteness combined with sweet baked deliciousness. When I got home, I jammed the five boxes of cookies into the back of my freezer and hid them behind some frozen vegetables. You did not buy these. They are not here, I told myself.
Girl Scout cookie season is coming to a close, and Girl Scouts everywhere will be going into hibernation, so if you haven’t hooked yourself up with a stash, you’d better get going! Time’s a-wastin’!