Caramel and Toasted Coconut-Covered Chaos

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Erin Baily

by Erin Baily (guest blogger)

Originally posted on 3/8/2017 – http://www.dreyfussblackford.com/caramel-and-toasted-coconut-covered-chaos/

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

~William Shakespeare

Being “Erin” when little girl Erin’s were few and far between, I know the difference a name can make. I can’t tell you how many times people were surprised when I showed up because they had expected Erin (or Aaron/Aron as was usually the case), the boy. It didn’t help that I was the only girl on the Little League team and looked like Leif Garrett, but that’s another story altogether.

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Let’s just say I know how a name can cause confusion. Despite this, I was still not prepared for what was to come years later.

Having never been a Girl Scout Mom (or a Girl Scout, for that matter), I had no idea what I was entering into when my daughter joined the Daisies and cookie sales were on the horizon. I am a marketer, after all. How hard could it be?

Having hocked a few products in my day, I brushed up on all things Girl Scouts – or so I thought. To help my six-year-old on her first cookie adventure, I did some reading, checked the ingredients of said cookies and with product list in hand, off we went.

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It only took a few customers and we were faced with the $5 question: “What happened to the Samoas?!@?#%?”

The what?

My dislike of coconut combined with my obsession with Thanks-A-Lots  (which, by the way, I only just learned the name of after years of sleeving…look it up) meant I had never noticed, ordered, nor tasted the cookie in question. It sounded familiar but then I realized they said Samoas, NOT Samoans. My Mommy mind had automatically gone to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the movie Moana. But I digress.

One thing was clear. To unravel the mystery would require more research, a stellar sales strategy and the purchase of protective gear so my daughter was prepared to share the news: Caramel deLites had taken the place of Samoas…at least here in Sacramento. YIKES!

You heard me. Caramel deLites ARE Samoas, but they really AREN’T, but they ARE the local substitute for them, but they really AREN’T the same according to aficionados. So, why DID they change the name? Had the State’s Pacific Islander population revolted? Did someone say, “I think it’s time we shake things up so grown women break out in a cold sweat in front of Safeway”? Or, maybe it was as simple as, “Let’s rename the cookie to reflect what it looks like/is made of”. Think The Mountain  and 8 House by BIG or The Flatiron Building by Daniel Burnham. The names fit! You can see it immediately.

Then I got another surprise. We delivered S’mores (the newest cookie on our menu) to my colleague and were met with a puzzled look. In a very serious tone he said, “This is not what I ordered”. Had I not heard him correctly? Maybe I wrote it down wrong? Nope. He THOUGHT he wanted S’mores because that sounded closest to the cookies of coconutty goodness he longed for. Since Samoas were not on the list and Dave couldn’t remember the exact name, he, like me with “The Rock”, made the leap.

Now we were (ok, let’s be real, I was) faced with explaining the cookie name change and product swithcheroo, as well as that another new cookie with a similar sounding name was further confusing things; wreaking havoc while not even having one sliver of coconut as an ingredient! Ahhh! Dave settled for the Caramel deLites but in reality, Girl Scout cookies by ANY other name are not, and never will be, Samoas.

Who knew Girl Scout Cookie sales could be so involved? Courage-boosting, confidence-inspiring and character-building, yes; but complicated. And I thought archi-speak was tough. Sigh. Just what was this Girl Scout Mom to do?

Well, I sat down, ate a whole box of Peanut Butter Sandwiches (don’t get me started on the Peanut Butter Sandwiches vs. Peanut Butter Patties debate) and contemplated how things would have been if I had had a boy. Then, as I devoured some frozen Thin Mints (they ARE best that way), I read the crazy truth about Samoas and Caramel deLites and finally sampled the latter. Not bad, but not Samoas…or so I have been told.

Cookie season is almost over. Whew. It was a great experience for my daughter but a marketing challenge nonetheless. Not sure how we persevered, but we did…through thick and Thin Mints.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the mission of the Girl Scouts. I bought/ate/helped sell multiple boxes/sleeves to support the cause. In fact, I still have a few left in our inventory. But please don’t come to me when your cookie pang strikes. That guy named Erin can hook you up. Or not.

Erin is a reporter by trade, a marketer by practice and a mom by kismet. She loves boxers (of the canine variety), writing and feeling the sunshine on her face. Erin has lived in Midtown, Curtis Park and East Sacramento.

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