Local News

Girl Scouts threaten lawsuit over unsold cookies

Posted February 3, 2014

— A Roanoke Rapids woman says the local Girl Scouts troop threatened to take her to court if she didn't pay up for boxes of cookies her 8-year-old daughter didn't sell.

Reagan Phillips wanted to quit the Girl Scouts a couple of weeks ago because other girls in her troop were teasing her. So her mother, Jherrae Phillips, tried to return the 288 boxes of Girl Scout cookies they had promised to sell to the troop for other girls to sell.

"I didn’t think it would be a big deal to do that," Phillips said Monday.

Charlotte Bradley, the local cookie sales coordinator, didn't see it the same way, presenting Phillips with an ultimatum in text message.

"I’m sorry, you either sell the cookies and give us the money, or don’t sell the cookies and we’ll take you to court," Bradley's text read.

Bradley declined to comment Monday.

Phillips said she didn't pocket the money from any sales or eat any of the product and not pay for it, so she was flabbergasted by Bradley's response.

"To not take the cookies and then threaten to sue me because I didn’t sell them, that is absurd," she said.

Phillips said she was so upset that she and her daughter sold 107 boxes of cookies, worth about $375, on Sunday. She then fired off an angry email to the North Carolina Coastal Pines Council of the Girl Scouts in Raleigh, which oversees the Roanoke Rapids troop.

Council spokeswoman Krista Park declined to comment on Phillips' case but said the organization always tries to work with families and troops to sell surplus cookies.

"When someone has outstanding cookies, we do work with those troops to account for those cookies," Park said. "Somebody has to be accountable to those cookies. When cookies have been purchased by troops, they are accountable to sell those cookies. It can be a concern at the end of the cookie sale if there are unsold boxes."

Litigation is a last resort, she said.

"After we make every attempt, we may call on a professional to handle delinquent accounts, Park said.

Phillips called the Girl Scouts' stance "very extreme."

"I did not want to go to jail over cookies," she said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Fred Kozlof Feb 10, 2014
    user avatar

    This is ridiculous that we allow the cookie company to use slave labor, to harass people at all the major stores and places of employment. This whole COOKIE thing has to stop. It's a racket that apparently the GSA don't have the guts to stop. It's now immoral.

  • AnotherGuest Feb 10, 2014

    Unfortunately it's clear that GSA have lost their way.

    To the Girl Scouts Moms who sold thousands of cookies: First we appreciate your work. But guess what? Other Moms have other things to do than sell overpriced cookies to support local and national councils. I'm thrilled that you and your Daughters have added to the nation's diabetes epidemic, but I confess I don't have that kind of time. I have a daughter to raise and I was hoping she'd be part of something more than cookie selling.

    More seriously, yes the Mom signed on responsibility for it, but it's because the Council can't just let girls take orders anymore. They need the girls out there pushing cookies immediately on the public. If they did the old fashion order form route, this wouldn't be an issue at all.

    This should not be a business. And if it was a business, then my responsibility to my Daughter is to do the math and learn to not get her ego caught up in a MLM scheme.

  • Fishy Feb 7, 2014

    KINGCHELSEA1986, I really doubt that is the story. If it was, the mother wouldn't be worried about selling the cookies. She would have gotten other organizations involved and filed a lawsuit. There would be lots of public protests and it would be a nationwide story. This would have been a much bigger deal if it was racially motivated.

  • SoldiersWife<3 Feb 5, 2014

    I'm not even sure why the media is covering this story. As such, we have bigger issues going on in the world and if this organization is indeed threatening legal action in court, then let them spend thousands getting back a few hundred with my tax dollars. No organization is ever going to have perfect sales events, whether it's Girl Scouts or 4H. The thing is, Girl Scouts all over the country are going to see and hear about this, so why not teach them about more important things going on in the world besides the almighty dollar? We have troops in Afghanistan that would love to have these cookies dropped to them, so let this organization cut their losses and do something positive with it. After-all, our soldiers are the one's who are keeping their children from getting drafted.

  • jackielareau Feb 5, 2014

    View quoted thread

    In the 12 years that my daughter sold cookies, they only went up in price Once! Look at inflation rates for Anything! I've been in retail sales for 25 years, & the average is prices double EVERY 10 years! Look at housing, cars, sewing machines, or your favorite flavor of pop!
    Not to mention, this is a Fundraiser! I'd rather buy Girl Scout Cookies & support the girls & the organization than buy over priced wrapping paper & coffee cups!

  • jackielareau Feb 5, 2014

    This is ridiculous! My daughter was a girl scout for 12 years, is now a lifetime member & I was a leader for many years, as well as "cookie mom" as my daughter frequently sold 1000 ' s of boxes in her high school years!
    The news story didn't mention WHO made fun of the girl, but I know my daughter got made fun of by mean little girls who WEREN'T in scouts!
    As far as too expensive, do your homework & see where most of the money goes! Not to "high paid executives" but a large part goes to pay for camps & for girls that would not otherwise be able to participate!
    As for not being incredibly yummy, yeah, right! That's why Edy's made ice cream from the mist popular flavors & Nestlé made cookies of same.
    I feel sorry for this mom & the cookie mom that probably just did what she thought was right. I'll be the first to admit, I'd rather text someone than take 20 minutes to say the same thing, but sometimes you need to do the RIGHT thing, not just the Easy thing!
    Pls support the Girl Scouts!

  • anneahlert Feb 5, 2014

    I looked up this story elsewhere, and as I suspected, this is NOT a well-told version of this story... Charlotte Bradley is herein referred to as "the local cookie sales coordinator". What that means is, she is the Troop's "Cookie Manager". She is NOT a paid rep of the Scouts, but a volunteer mom who has no authority or right to make the comment that she did. However, Ms. Jherrae Phillips has 288 boxes of cookies unsold. If they cannot be sold by the rest of the Troop, that Troop is in debt to the tune of $1,152. Ms. Phillips took on the promise of selling such a large number of cookies. From what I can figure out, she ordered all these cookies AS IF THEY WERE ALREADY PRE-ORDERED by door-to-door customers, probably w/ the intent of having her daughter collect the incentive "prizes" for "X" number of boxes sold. Most Troops cannot sell this many cookies at booth sales, & will have to eat the full $4.00 loss for every unsold box. So I can see why Ms. Bradley was so upset.

  • anneahlert Feb 5, 2014

    I was a Troop Leader for some years in the Chicago area. While I'm sure each Council handles things differently, I'm also sure we're not getting the whole story here. In our Council, girls sell cookies door-to-door first, then (when the cookies are ready for delivery) sell cases at stores, etc. Each Troop orders for their specific door-to-door orders PLUS cases for on-site "booth" sales. The girls are supposed to agree as a Troop to sell a goal # of cookies, & what sites/times they will be selling. Once cookies are ordered, the Troop IS responsible to pay for the cases they agreed to sell, as well as any cookies sold door-to-door for which they are not reimbursed by customers. Troops canNOT return unsold boxes or cases. If door-to-door sales resulted in an order of 3 boxes of a flavor, the Troop is obligated to order an entire case (12 boxes), AND sell the remaining 9 boxes in the case. Parents are only responsible for any money collected, & giving unsold cookies to the Troop.

  • luvstoQ Feb 4, 2014

    There was an article in the Raleigh newspaper about a party given for the local girl scouts. It was a pre pep rally to get them hyped up to sale with them sampling cookies. The sale seems to be a huge part of their participation in the the GS. Wonder what would happen if the parents did not participate in the sales - would their child be allowed to stay. They've gotten far away from what they supposedly stand for - a big money making thing to support their headquarters and paid 'higher ups'.

    No more support from me - the cookies are overpriced and not very tasty.

  • clelliotthill1 Feb 4, 2014

    Something is wrong here. I buy cookies every year. I've always thought the moms and grandmas take orders first and the cookies are delivered later. Do you mean the cookies are not shared on consignment and cannot be returned for credit if unable to sell? Adults should solve yjis problem and leave girls out of it.