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Girl Scouts in Legal Battle for Right to Sell Cookies

Girl Scouts in Legal Battle for Right to Sell Cookies

For many people, that precious window of time when Girl Scouts sell their cookies is a time-honored American tradition.

And for years, many residents of Hazelwood, Missouri filled their need for Thin Mints and Tagalongs from the driveway cookie stand of Girl Scouts Abigail and Caitlin Mills. That is, until neighbor’s complaints of traffic congestion and barking dogs prompted city officials to shut down their operation.

City officials told the girls that they could hawk their cookies in front of grocery stores or door to door but selling them out of their driveway violated zoning laws.

This didn’t sit well with the Mills family. Abigail told the New York Times that being forced to shut down the stand was “ridiculous,” adding,

“Itís not like weíre even keeping the money. Itís a fund-raiser. But I thought if we sat by, they would continue picking on us and shut down all the stands operated by little girls and little boys selling lemonade.”

And now, their mother is suing the city on behalf of her daughters for the right to sell the cookies in their driveway.

Hazelwood’s city attorney, Kevin O’Keefe, believes the city was fair in shutting down the Girl Scouts’ cookie stand; after all, the government doesn’t get to “pick and choose” who gets to operate a business.

What do you think? Was the city justified in shutting down the cookie stand or were they taking zoning laws too far?

Image Credit:† Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar via Flickr

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and womenís issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


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6:07AM PDT on Aug 25, 2012


2:29AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

One person complains and it ruins things for everyone :-(

8:24PM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

I wouldn't let my children/grandchildren go door to door without an adult supervising. However stopping children from selling from the front of their home (under supervision from responsible adult) should be allowed no matter what. Councils trying to get money out of kids for permits etc??? Let children be children.

5:38PM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

Although you can still order Girl Scout cookies, the scouts are no longer allowed to go door to door as I did. It simply isn't safe for them to do that anymore. I wonder if the complaining neighbor ever has yard sales. If he/she does, maybe the Mills family can call the police and complain about traffic congestion and barking dogs from the yard sale.

Our country is rapidly turning into a police state. Since the police have no problems intimidating little kids into shutting down lemonade & Girl Scout cookie stands, what will they do next, pepper spray & tase the kids for not moving fast enough?

4:04PM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

I feel what a lot of people are missing here is that the council did nothing until as the story says
"That is, until neighbor’s complaints of traffic congestion and barking dogs prompted city officials to shut down their operation."

So this really is an issue with the neighbors and unfortunately if the council had done nothing then the neighbor's could have sued the council for not following their own laws. It is a sad day when people in the local community for a short time can't tolerate a little inconvenience.
Sounds to me like a mediator from outside needs to come and see if a compromise with the neighbors could be made.

11:00AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

What a good idea for parents to keep their children safe by having little girls sell cookies from their driveway. How crazy to enforce a bylaw that prohibits something as 'disturbing' as Girl Guide cookies.

4:16PM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

whatever happened with this???

4:16PM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

whatever happened with this???

3:48PM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

never actually seen a girl scout selling cookies - only parents selling for them...

2:13PM PST on Mar 6, 2012

The reason that Girl Scouts used to go door to door is that the cookies used to have to be ordered with a form based on what you had sold and then sent to you. Now, troops pre-order how much they believe they can sell and have the product with them for your to purchase making going door to door to sell cookies without a U-haul almost impossible. The girls themselves don't keep any money that they take in at the time, however, troops receive a portion of the profits for each box they sell to subsidize troop activies. Thus, technically, there can be an issue with the zoning laws if people decide to be booger heads (that's the polite technical term).

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Have to say - love the picture

All i have is Now & Here. I choose to be happy... Thank you for the reminder! :)

Nimue P., where do your raw almonds come from?

Good advise. Thanks for sharing.


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