Jump to content

The Great Popcorn Debate

Recommended Posts

I wanted to take this away from the other thread as it was going off topic. Personally I despise the concept of selling door to door. Now, I am on record as saying I hate to sell, so maybe its just me. It rankles me to no end when I answer the door and find the latest purveyor of fundraiser junk. I know its for good causes, but I just dislike being accosted at home and will not subject my neighbors to another round of "gimme gimme".


In another thread there was talk about being sure rank advancement was not portrayed as a contest, and I agree with that. I also dont think popcorn sales should be as competitive as they are. Year after year the same family wins because they have a huge extended family and the father (an executive) puts a few order sheets in the employees break room. His kids clean up. They sell in the thousands.


And I know the troop benefits as well with the sales. I just wonder how much more the principals would receive if the premiums were reduced or eliminated.


The rest of the troop gets so demoralized, they dont want to sell anything. I know its not the family's fault that they are tight and the father has employees who will buy popcorn from him, but the scout hasnt done a whole lot to sell. And announcing who "sold" the most rings rather hollow whe the kid doesnt know more than half of his "customers"


I like car washes, rummage sales, etc. Where people go on their own volition and receive a useful service. One thing we have done for our Chartering Organization is auction off blocks of "Scout Hours". The person bids on a block of 20 hours of labor, pays the Chartering Organization and the scouts perform yard work, hedge cleaning, washing windows etc. all supervised by adult leaders. The CO keeps the money.


I know fund raising is a necessary evil of a non-proprietary organization, I just hate to beg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 42
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I agree. Popcorn is the only thing I will even mention to relatives, friends, co-workers or neighbors. Last fall our pack had a "booth" in front of the local grocery store one Saturday. I heard it went well. We did not make it because my son got sick. I think they kids got as many donations as they did sales. Many people just gave them a couple of bucks to help out.


The troop we just joined has a huge yard sale every spring. The troop and the boy's accounts benefit. The boy's sell popcorn and get all the profits put in their individual accounts.


Not everybody can sell the popcorn at work. Many kids have no neighbors to sell to or no one to go with them. Many do not have close knit extended families that can afford all the stuff.


I bought some Girl Scout cookies in a shopping area a few weeks ago. I complimented the girls and the parents on how the girls actually knew how to make and count out change correctly! I was impressed. These were 4th or 5th grade girls, who knew to say "that was six dollars, seven, eight, nine, ten and ten will make twenty. Thank you."

They had learned a lot more than from Mom taking the order form to work.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I must disagree with ya'll. My son is a Tiger. We didn't start selling popcorn until 2 weeks after everyone else. My family bought a little. But my son, decidied he wanted to go door to door. I went with him every step of the way. When we were out, I noticed that no other scouts were out. My son ended up selling over $1700 worth of popcorn. We have people asking for us to come by next time so that they can buy more.


As we drive around , my son says "They bought popcorn" and "Hi, Mr. ----". He is normally shy, but with him getting out and going door to door, he has shown that he is confiedent.


I agree, going door to door is a pain, but if you think about it, girl scouts at one time went door to door. Now people are seeking them out at "cookie time". Our popcorn will be at that point, someday. Until then, I will take my boy door to door, if that is what he wants.


For selling so much, he chose a tent. He is very proud of it and loves to go camping in "the tent that popcorn bought".


Tim Dyer

Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't mind going door to door with my son with the popcorn. It really irks me the stuff the schools want everybody to sell, it is overpriced knick-knacks. I made my son do the talking as we went to the neighbors. When we delivered, I had him go to the door, make change and mark the names off the list. We stuck to our part of the neighborhood, and didn't go on the streets where we knew their were other Scouts. We also didn't go to houses of people that have said no in the past.


Tdyer, wait until next year and you will hear "I was just wondering when you would be back around, I was just wanting some popcorn."



The only "problem" with the popcorn is the cheapest thing is $7.00. You see people scanning the page looking for the cheapest thing. If they could just have a $5.00 item, I think it would be nice.


Some units around here have the "red wagon sale". The boys and parents load up their red wagons and pull them around the neighborhood on a Saturday (when people are in the yard) and sale that way. I hear this is very successful.


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think popcorn is useful on many levels.


I like the fact that it benefits the boys individually as well as the Unit and the Council. I like that we have a nationally recognized fundraising activity. I think the boys develop a good work ethic and self confidence through selling door-to-door. My son is constantly amazed by the number of people who stop to tell him of their days in scouting and how much they enjoyed it.


In the several years we have sold I have only had three people say they were disatisfied with the quality. I let them pick any type or size popcorn product they wanted as a replacement. Every one of them selected the same thing they had originally saying it was probably just a bad container.


This is not a slight to any poster here just an observation from my own experiences, most the scouters I know who say negative things about Scout Popcorn, have never sold it.


As a unit leader, most years we were able to finance our entire year's program from one popcorn fundraiser.


Bob White



Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I am glad popcorn works for some people, I wanted to see if anyone else felt as I do. I just see door to door sales fundraisers as glorified begging. Then again, I hate to sell so I admit I may just be me putting my own spin on things


Happy and prosperous selling to you all and be sure to have a buddy when you sell(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't really like the "door to door" thing myself. But that may be because I live in a rural area and not in a neighborhood or sub-division!


I have let my opinion out about the Popcprn on another thread, but to elaborate a little bit:


We can't run a 50-50 because the BSA (or maybe it's just our Council) says you have to give people something of value for their money and a ticket isn't something of value. We can't run a raffle for the same reason. Personally I think we're being a little hypotritical (SP?) selling Popcorn for $15 for a small can of Carmel Popcorn. Is that Value? Not to me. I have sold the Popcorn, and still do , But I am not thrilled with the quality and I only buy the popping kernels. Don't like the Microwave Popcorn, or the Carmel corn and that chocolate covered stuff is disgusting (in my opinion).


I know it's a great cause and the council and the unit keeps most of the money, but I just don't see it as "value".


Just my $0.02 worth.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Scoutmom,

It's not that what you sell has to have value, theBSA says it has to provide a product or service. 50/50, raffles etc. are games of chance and only offer a a possibility of recieving something in return. So they do not qualify. Other activities such as bike-a-thons, bowl-a thons etc. are also forbidden since they do not offer a direct product or service to the donator.


As far as the Value of popcorn. I'm confident that every customer realizes that they are paying more then the cost of the popcorn and that the additional profit is there as a fundraiser for scouting. It's left to each potential customer to decide if they see value in supporting the BSA and get popcorn in return. Evidently millions of people see a definite value in the overall purchase. I know in our council more people purchase popcorn every year. We have had a steady increase every year since it's introduction.

Link to post
Share on other sites


My council holds an annual bowl-a-thon & does quite well!


I have never been a big fan of the popcorn sale. My Troop only recently started selling popcorn & most of the Scouts do very well. What I don't like is the Scouts only get a max of 39% of what they sell. I feel the split should be 50/50.


Ed Mori


Troop 1

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ed


I guess it would have to be 50/50/50 since it is split three ways unit/council/supplier.


Actually at 39% the unit gets the largest cut of the three parties.


if you split 50/50 with the council, you would get a smaller share than you do now.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Your area is providing the troops with a higher percentage than we get. Here the fall sale gives troops 30% if they participate in incentive gifts and 32% if they don't take the premiums for sales milestones. Spring sale has no premiums except the over $1000 sales one provided by the popcorn manufacturer and the troop gets 31%.


And there is a $5 item available from Trail's End. It is a 6-pack of microwave popcorn. Most councils do not offer it for sale because of the very idea someone stated earlier, people look over the order form and search for the least expensive item to order. But you can talk to your council and ask them to start including the $5 items on your sales forms and/or have them for Show and Sell sales.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We get 40% profit if the unit has 2 people attend all the district planning meetings related to popcorn. The council and district gets about 30%. Don't forget they have expenses too -- training, paperwork, salaries, camps, etc.


I don't like the units saying "look Johnny sold $400 worth, we want everybody to sell that much."


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never been a fan of door to door sales. Neither were any of the adult leaders or other parents in the troop. So...we never did door to door sales. We did, at one time, do candy sales outside places like supermarkets, post office, banks, etc. But never popcorn. We always sold candy. We had the benefit of having Scouts who knew how to make the long, sad face that seemed to say, "Please help us...we're homeless!" Quite amusing to watch, and we did sell a lot of candy, and we did generate a lot of donations.


But, as time went by, we sought other methods of generating funds for the troop that did not involve sales. The town we're in has all too many sales of this sort, for youth sports, Girl Scout cookies (and nobody can compete with them...), church groups, schools, etc. Eventually, as with OGE, we began to settle on service oriented affairs, where no product was sold, manpower was expended (by all - equal opportunity), and service was provided. One event of growing popularity in the area was, and still is, Christmas tree collection after the holidays. The troop collects the trees with trucks and trailers (all donated, by the way), for a mere $5.00 each, and takes them to the local dump where a local tree and landscape company donates manpower and equipment to turn the trees into chips with their machines. That project by itself funds the troop operation and basic needs for the whole year and then some. And it's a service, all volunteer, all profit. All the time and gas and mileage, etc., is donated.


Selling is fine for many, and I wouldn't try to change that. But for those who choose a different road, there's plenty of options out there. And we've heard the argument that the popcorn sales also fund the Council, and our service projects don't. Well, we make our donations to the Council. Every year the troop committee reviews the income after the events, and decides upon a reasonable figure that doesn't hurt the troop needs and program, and that money goes to the Council. It may not be as much as the Council might think they would have gotten on popcorn sales, but the way we look at it, we wouldn't sell popcorn because we don't do sales. And 30% of nothing is still nothing, which is what the council would have gotten. A percentage of our take on service projects is quite a bit better than that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...