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Forced to buy popcorn

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I agree with Lisabob. Our council does not require buying full cases, but we usually purchase a few extras and use for gifts. (School principal, church office staff, COR, etc.). Who knows, you may get a future customer hooked on the product. :)

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We have Show 'n Sell orders first & most units order enough to (hopefully) cover both Show 'n Sell & Take Order. That makes for a LOT of popcorn. All of the broken case orders tend to allow for more mistakes in picking & it does make it much messier.


Next year they are going to allow only full case orders for Show 'n Sell. It will make it easier to pull & to see mistakes. We will still be able to return unsold individual pieces at the end of the Show 'n Sell period & order individual pieces for Take Order though so we will not get stuck.


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gwd-scouter, if your whole troop sells just $600 of product and you are making the standard 33% unit-level profit of about $200, and now you have to pay almost $100 of that profit for excess product, then yes you have a problem. Heck, you could probably raise more money doing a soda can drive.


I guess if it were me I would take the math to the council professionals and politely explain to them why, sadly, next year, your unit will not be able to participate in the council popcorn sale. And that you'll be planning an alternate fundraiser instead (for which you do need council approval - guidelines are on the back of the unit-fundraising application) because, after all, you have to fund your unit somehow...unless council wishes to donate money to you (ha!)...or stop making you purchase whole cases...


This should get their attention because council only gets a "cut" of the sales from the popcorn fundraiser, and not from other unit fundraisers.


The alternative is to really push the popcorn sale at the troop/pack level next year, but if you have a small unit and/or you are competing with a lot of other units who also sell the same popcorn in a small town, this may not be very easy to do.



A good old bobwhite too!

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Help me up as I climb back on the old milk crate!

I am 100% for us supporting the Council, we after all are the Council. Hopefully at the end of the day we are the people who benefit from whatever benefits the Council receives from any income that comes in, be it from FOS or from the sales of popcorn.

Feelings about the popcorn sale differ from Unit to unit. I had a SM pop in last night who hates popcorn, hates the popcorn sale, but the Troop still supports the sale. I talked on the phone to another SM, who loves popcorn the unit he is with look at the popcorn sale as one of their big fund raising events of the year (The other Troop has a monthly hoagie sale.)

I know how much our Council depends on the popcorn sale. In these times when money seems to be tighter than ever we just couldn't provide the level of service that is expected without it.

With this in mind, I would want to see us sell every can or box of popcorn that we could. I would want to make selling it as easy and user friendly for the Scout and the unit as possible.

When we start upsetting the people who really don't like the sale any way we will lose them and the income that they bring in.

Like all fund raisers the popcorn sale is work. When units look at the sale they make a lot of decisions: Will we make money? How much work is involved? Is it worth it?

As a District we have a popcorn goal. As Chairman I really want us to meet or beat the goal. The District Finance Committee is responsible for doing everything they can to ensure that we do meet the goal.

They work hard trying to make sure that we do.

They hold an ice cream social which is really a Popcorn training and sign up.

They work hard finding a good time and place for the popcorn pick up. The Popcorn Chair and the committee tabulates all the orders. Come the day of the pick up units arrive and line up.

Of course life would be easier if everyone loaded only full cases, but that isn't being user friendly.

At the end of the pick up the worst thing that could happen would be for us to have opened cases of each product, but it would only ever be one of each.

As a rule, because I live in the center of the District and not far from the pick up site, I take the leftovers home (Along with the orders that haven't been picked up!!)

I know that once the units dole out the popcorn to the Scouts they will find that someone has messed up and need an extra can or box. Later in the week I drop off the popcorn at the Service Center. We only have four Districts, so the most that the Council can have returned is four partial cases of each product.

This is used for gifts or sold. Of course not every district has partial cases and there isn't partial cases of each product. It could be that there is only a few cans or boxes. When you think of the volume of sales (Over $650,000) it is a very small amount.

But if units who sold only five cans out of a case of six and let it be known that if they were unable to get what they want, that they will not order the five! I kinda think that someone would get the message.

If the plan was to force units to buy more and it ended up back firing someone is going to look very silly.


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Solution: don't sell popcorn. Council pushes popcorn because they get a portion of your profits from your sales. I am sure that you could find a fundraiser product that (1) a greater percentage of your boys would find it easier to sell and (2) produces a greater profit for you.


CM Jerry

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Jerry's right. It's pretty transparent to see why Councils don't want to be bothered with returned product. Once they "sell" the unit a full case, they've got their cut and don't want to give it back. We have some units who refuse to sell popcorn, but just stroke a check to the council every year as an FOS donation. They seem to be happy with that.


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I could be wrong....doubtful, but possible. I think the reason that council doesn't want to take the excess back from units is because they have to eat the cost. I remember taking back opened and unopened boxes from our old pack to council. We unloaded it in a big room already full of other unit's returned boxes. To my knowledge, they do not get to return it to Trail's End. Once it is ordered, it belongs to someone. It is easier and "less" costly to make each unit absorb the excess than to stick the council with it. Does anyone know different?

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This topic is close to my heart (or is it my sore back and feet) as I just worked our Council "Super Saturday" today...


- Popcorn that is shipped to the Council from Trail's End is not returnable. The Council is responsible for all that is ordered.


The way our Council works their pickup, we will not have any more than 1 partial cases of each product. Here is how we do it:


7:30am - 9:00: Units retuning unsold popcorn only (nothing going out, only stuff coming in). If the box being returned is a partial, it is held to the side until enough partials can be combined to create a full case. It is then taped shut, and treated as a complete case.


9:00am - Noon: Units with returns, and popcorn to pick up.


12-1 break for lunch (also known as clearing the line that is always behind).


1-3 Units without popcorn to drop off can come and pick up what they need.


Any partial cases that are dropped off, are held next to the pallets of full cases. If you need two boxes of "Butter Light" you take it from the partial. If there is no partial case, you open a case and take the boxes that you need. There is never more than one open case at a time.


This year, after nearly all 400 units came through today, our leftovers consisted of 1/2 of a pallet of "30 packs", about 2 pallets of microwave, and less than a pallet of of "caramel with peanuts", plus 3 individual cans of caramel w/ nuts. No other partial cases were left. If there were, it would have been no more than 1 of each of the products that come in cases (6 products?)


Because of the "no return back to Trail's End" rules, there was product that we ran out of stock on. As a result, the units will place a "final order" for whatever they are short of. That remaining product is delivered in a couple of weeks. It is not always the best solution, but the Council would rather have to order some remaining product to fill an order after the fact, than to get stuck with a $1000+ pallet of microwave popcorn.


Forcing the units to purchase the extra to fill out a case, is just not necessary.





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