Girl Scout Cookies: There’s a shortage of Samoas and S’mores

Chocolate Milk in Maine. Cream cheese in New York City. Granite for headstones in Mississippi.

And now, Girl Scout cookies in much of Southern California.

Nothing, it seems, is safe from pandemic-related supply chain issues. Even the smiling shop assistants in sashes have had to scout for supplies this winter to sell online or on folding tables outside grocery stores.

In the middle of cookie selling season, when Girl Scouts are raising vital funds to fund the year’s activities, Samoas and S’mores are hard to find. And that’s a hit to Boy Scouts in the Los Angeles area, because troops can get up to $1 for every crate their members sell.

On the plus side, there seems to be no shortage of Thin Mints to be #1 – at least not yet. You can still find shamrock shortbreads and peanut butter tagalongs.

There are reports of shortages of S'more and Samoa (above) Girl Scout cookies in the Los Angeles area.

There are reports of shortages of S’more and Samoa (above) Girl Scout cookies in the Los Angeles area.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

But Samoas with coconut, caramel, and chocolate stripes (known in some regions as Caramel deLites, the second most popular cookie in the Boy Scout lineup) are a different story altogether. And so are S’mores, a relatively new offering with non-GMO ingredients.

“Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA) has been notified by Little Brownie Bakers (LBB), our cookie maker, that supply chain and labor shortages are affecting their ability to deliver the cookies we have ordered,” GSGLA said in a statement to the Times. “We are working intensively with LBB to resolve this situation.”

Kentucky-based Little Brownie Bakers offered a succinct written statement: “We work diligently to fill orders and get cookies into the hands of hardworking Girl Scouts. We appreciate our Cookie fans’ support for Girl Scouting and their patience this season.”

I’m sure these girl scouts could use a few more boxes.

Victoria, 10, Alyssa, 11, and Valentina, 7, were selling cookies outside a grocery store in Granada Hills on a Friday night, cheerfully greeting customers and carefully monitoring each $5 sale.

The girls, whose parents asked that their last names not be used, had a small supply of Samoas and no S’mores.

“It’s still fun,” Alyssa said. “It’s not like we ran out of every single cookie.”

The girls said they look forward to the cookie sale every year, shortage or not.

“Especially when you do it with friends,” Alyssa said, wrapping her arms around Victoria and Valentina.

Josh Goldstein bought 10 boxes of Girls Scout cookies for himself and some for his friends.

Josh Goldstein bought 10 boxes of Girls Scout cookies for himself and some for his friends.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The squeeze is being felt in San Diego, where troops extended the selling season by two weeks through late March. The delivery of cookies to the Orange County Girl Scouts has been delayed due to transportation issues with that group’s supplier, ABC Bakers.

And it’s bad for Girl Scouts in the Los Angeles area, according to emails sent to troops this month.

In an email on Feb. 4, GSGLA said girl delivery — which allows customers to order cookies online and have a scout deliver them in person — would be shut down for s’mores that day. And the same goes for direct ship options.

Those options would remain open for Samoans until “our supply runs out,” the organization said. As of February 27th, Samoas were available via the Digital Cookie portal; Customers need to buy at least four boxes and pay the shipping cost.

“We now have stocks of both in our closets and local storage but do not know if or how soon this stock will be replenished,” the organization wrote, adding that the troops were meant to be “sisters to all Girl Scouts” by providing them Don’t overstuff this article.

GSGLA, which represents 32,000 Boy Scouts in Los Angeles, Kern and San Bernardino counties, and the bakery are keeping a low profile on the extent of the shortages and other details, and declined to answer questions about how many boxes of treats will not be available and when stocks could be replenished.

They wouldn’t say if the supply chain issues are at the front end — for example, bakeries not getting essential ingredients shipped and therefore not being able to bake enough cookies. Or if they are at the back end – that cookies are sitting in warehouses and there is no way to get them to their destination.

The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles have not provided any additional information outside of their statement, citing ongoing negotiations with the bakery. Calls to the Girl Scout National Office went unanswered.

Chris Hillman buys Girl Scout Cookies from Madar Mee and Emma Diaz

Chris Hillman, center, buys Girl Scout cookies from Emma Diaz, 7, left, and Madar Mee, 10, in Mar Vista.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Other regions of the country have seen their own cookie snafus. In January, NPR reported that the Washington, DC area was experiencing a shortage of the Scouts’ latest offering, a candy called Adventurefuls. The Girl Scouts’ website describes the treat as “a delicious brownie-inspired cookie with caramel-flavored cream and a touch of sea salt.”

But the pain is not evenly distributed. The Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast, who have troops from Ventura County to Santa Cruz County, has not experienced any similar bottlenecks.

“Girl Scout cookies are currently being made by two licensed bakeries, one of which has reported production delays for a small percentage of the cookies,” the Central Coast organization said in a statement. “California’s Central Coast Girl Scouts are unaffected by this shortage.”

The Southern California shortage is an ironic twist for the Girl Scouts after the 2021 season, when the organization ended with a massive cookie surplus.

Many troops have been unable to sell from traditional booths in grocery stores, libraries and other locations due to the pandemic, only going digital. They ended up with an additional 15 million boxes of biscuits, 12 million of which never left the warehouses.

For the girls, the current cookie shortage is impacting the lessons and skills cookie selling is designed to teach, such as B. Self-confidence and a sense of responsibility.

“The most important thing for me and our girls is that they tried to sell cookies and then they won’t have any cookies to fill their orders,” said Rita Satuloff, mother of 12-year-old Scout Shayden. “They may need to contact people and say, ‘I’m sorry you ordered these cookies, but I can’t bring them to you.’

“It makes it very embarrassing for our 12-year-old,” added Satuloff, who serves as Troop 71045’s accountant. The family lives in Venice.

“What it will do is… stop her from approaching people in the future,” said Mathew Satuloff, Shayden’s father. “We taught them a lot of skill, but not how to disappoint people.

“Let’s save that for the adults,” he said. Girl Scout Cookies: There’s a shortage of Samoas and S’mores

Russell Falcon

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