Janesville56.2°

Patrons crumble when this Girl Scout sells cookies

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
January 19, 2008
— Girl Scout Madeline Rotzoll put a new spin on her sales pitch this year.

“We’ve got a new 100-calorie pack of cookies called Cinna-Spins. They’re like a little bit of cinnamon,” she told David Potter, her grandmother’s neighbor.


Still, Potter wanted to know what flavor cookies he ordered last year as he browsed the order form on his front porch. After Madeline pointed out the answer to his question, he thanked her.


“They come at the end of February,” Madeline told Potter.


Any sales team would be lucky to have Madeline, a member of Girl Scout Troop 420 sponsored by St. John Vianney School. The 8-year-old third-grader last year sold 515 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to become the top seller in Janesville.


“I went around to neighbors and relatives,” Madeline said.


Boosting her sales were an aunt, who bought 40 boxes to treat co-workers, and a man who works with Madeline’s grandparents at General Motors. He bought 50 boxes to send to soldiers in Iraq, Madeline said.


Madeline said her success is no accident. She practices her on-the-phone and in-person sales pitch.


“I think about what I’m going to say. I use my manners, and if they don’t want anything, I say, ‘Thanks anyway,’” she said.


Sometimes she practices selling with her 5-year-old sister, Sophia, a Daisy Girl Scout, who can’t wait until she’s old enough to sell cookies.


“I say, ‘No Maddie, you’re wrong’ when she’s giggling,” Sophia said.


“That’s not professional, is it?” said the girls’ mother, Sara Rotzoll, who also is leader of Madeline’s Girl Scout troop.


Selling cookies teaches the girls business, math, communication, responsibility and teamwork, said Brooke Virgin, product sales director for the Girl Scouts of Badger Council.


“When the money comes in, I have to be organized and good at counting,” Madeline said.


But what she enjoys most about selling is the money she gets to earn for her troop. For each box of cookies a Girl Scout sells, the troop keeps 55 cents. Last year, Madeline’s sales earned $275 for the troop. And the whole troop earned $1,100.


The money was used to buy merit badges, girls’ and adult leaders’ annual membership registration, field trips and service projects, Madeline said.


The first year Madeline sold Girl Scout Cookies, she sold 350 boxes. This year, her goal is to sell at least as many as she did last year, which will be easy, she said.


“I have new and some old customers. My grandma takes my order form to work, and I sell lots to neighbors, and I’m calling relatives,’’ she said.


It’s not all for the good of the troop.


“We do earn prizes and get a $50 gift card to Wal-Mart if you sell 400 boxes,” she said.


So far, Madeline estimates she’s sold around 250 boxes.


“I do it after school, before it gets dark, and right before I do my homework,” she said.


“When we hit 500, we get to go to a banquet dinner, get a plaque and you get a tag that says the year,’’ Madeline said.


If Madeline wins the $50 gift card, she’s going to use 30 percent of it to buy “stuff,” including arts and crafts materials for her troop. The rest of the money will be used to help buy Easter baskets for ECHO clients.



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