Island scout tops in cookie sales
Keebler has nothing on Liz Meardon.
The island teenager in the last couple of years has sold some 10,000 brightly colored boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Regulars at the Bailey’s in Sanibel recognize the mostly quiet teen in a scout vest at her table outside store doors, usually with her mother or father, Tagalongs and Thin Mints’ boxes neatly arranged like toy soldiers. Some buyers, in fact, set their watches by Liz’s annual appearance at Bailey’s, her father David Meardon said.
Quietly but firmly she upsells, suggesting a $20 bill isn’t that hard to part with. And it mostly works. It’s hard to say no to a sweet kid, apparently. Buyers understand cookie proceeds benefit others. Scouts keep a fraction of every dollar in sold product.
A scout in Troop 228, Liz, who is 14, started scouting when she was in kindergarten in 2006, an average of 2,000 per year. Liz has received the Girl Scout’s Young Women of Distinction award for achieving her high cookie sales goals. Since 2010 she has sold more than 1,500 boxes each year. Of the 5,000 girls in Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Liz’s sales in 2011 were the highest, with 2,000 boxes sold. In the past two years she has sold more than 3,000 boxes every “cookie season.” In 2014, 145 girls in the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida council achieved sales of 1,000+ packages of cookies, and only eight girls-including Liz-sold 3,000 packages or more. With her cookie sales money she will be able to fund her trip to Paris and London with the Girl Scouts this summer. Cookie sales ended March 15.
Every year the Girl Scouts donate 10 percent of their cookie sale profit to a local charity of their choice. This year a part of Troop 228’s donation will be made to FISH of Sanibel-Captiva. The Girl Scouts also collected donations to “Mints for the Military,” where customers can donate boxes of cookies to active military servicemen and women. In 2014, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida sold more than 41,000 boxes for Mints for the Military.
The Islander asked Liz Meardon questions about her sales success, her goals.
Islander: Without giving away too much, how do you convince someone to buy cookies? What’s your pitch?
Liz: I smile and nicely ask everyone who walks by. If they say no, I also suggest donating cookies to the military or to FISH.
Islander: Have you changed your technique as you get older?
Liz: Yes, I used to be shy and would ask people to buy, but then let my mom or dad do the rest of the transaction. Now I do it all myself. I also started upselling. If someone gives me a $20 bill for one or two boxes, I tell them how many more they can get with no change. One woman asked to buy a few boxes and handed me a $100 bill. She ended up going home with two cases (24 boxes). You have to put the time in if you want to sell a lot of cookies. My mom calls it “meat in the seat.” Some days you sell 20 boxes an hour and other days it’s 50 an hour. You never know.
Islander: What’s your favorite scout cookies?? What’s the most popular cookie in Sanibel?
Liz: Tagalongs. I love chocolate and peanut butter. The most popular seller on Sanibel are Thin Mints. Samoas are second. There’s a new gluten-free cookie this year that’s selling well.
Islander: What are the advantages of your success? What do your friends think?
Liz: I got most of my electronic devices from Girl Scout cookie sales because my parents said if I wanted them I’d have the earn them. I have an IPad and IPad for selling 3,000+ boxes the last two years. I’m going to London and Paris this June on a Girl Scout trip after saving “cookie money” from sales the past three years. My friends at school sometimes wonder why I spend so much time selling cookies, but I think the troop is happy because with cookie earnings we’ve been able to go on lots of trips to places like Disney World and the Dude Ranch in central Florida.
Islander: What’s your dream job as an adult? Will selling cookies help get you there?
Liz: I don’t have a dream job yet but some customers have offered me jobs in sales when I’m older. I have thought about maybe being a nurse practitioner and helping kids with diabetes. The skills I learned selling cookies will help me no matter what I do.