Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

How much to buy for show and sell + other questions :)

Recommended Posts

I am thinking of taking over the popcorn kernel position for our pack. This is my second year (my son will be in wolves) and last years popcorn sale was not very advertised within the pack. We had two new tiger dens and there was a short 2min presentation by the popcorn kernels husband at our first pack meeting which was hectic/confusing for most of us first time tigers.


This year I think it would be very important to actually make a small presentation at the Den meetings, especially for the new tigers, and have some great incentives for the kids to want to participate.


So basically my questions are these, for more experiences popcorn people:

1. Our pack has never really done a show and sell, they only order what people preorder. When you do a show and sell, say at a grocery store or walmart, how much do you usually preorder for this? We will be with campmasters and their cheapest tin of popcorn is $10, and i think that would be a good and easy price point to sell in front of a store?


2. Rewarding the kids. The rewards last year were giftcards or some sort of cheesy watergun (I don't think 6-9 year old boys care much about giftcards). I believe they were given by the council or the popcorn company. It was not something done by our pack. But as a pack we can do special rewards as well? I was thinking along the lines of trophies. Having a few trophies out during the popcorn presentation to the kids would give them a visual and an actual award to achieve. Is that allowed?


3. Trying to keep selling popcorn in the mind of the parents/kids throughout the month or so that we sell it for. One of the ways I thought to achieve this was to give the kids postcards addressed to me and when they achieve the goal on the postcard, they would mail it to me. Kids who mailed all the postcards to me over the month would also get a special trophy/award. The goals on the postcards would be:

A] Ask your Parents

B] Ask 10 neighbors

C] Ask Mom/Dad to take the order sheet to work/gym/club

D] Ask at your sports/church/other activity places


I took those 'goals' from one of the popcorn selling tip sheets.




I think with how lax our pack has been in the past from popcorn sales (we don't really do anything but buy belt loops + pay for training , no events), that it would take a bit more involvement and motivation from the popcorn kernel.


Any advice/comments on my ideas/questions above? Am I just being too gung-ho over selling overpriced popcorn tins? :)




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

We order less popcorn for show and sell than what we sold for take orders.

concentrating on the cheapest $10 popcorn, a case or so of microwave popcorn, and the cheese popcorn 3 pack for $30 is individually labelled bags inside so we could sell each one for $10 to have some variety.


so if we sold 20 cases of the cheapest popcorn for the take orders last year, we might buy 20 cases for show and sell--knowing what we don't sell in front of the stores, we can use to fill the take order sales.


note the first year we did the show and sell, our take order #'s went down considerably, because everyone figured they'd spent time in front of the grocery stores, so they didn't want to go ask people to buy on the take order form.


as for prizes at the pack level. you could get the gift cards and spend them buying prizes that are more tangible. buy even little kids know what gift cards are nowadays it seems, cause that's what they get for their birthdays mostly.


we do take 1% of our sales(or less) and go hit walmart. We buy camping type stuff, mess kit, small pocket knife, spork, flashlight, lantern, camp chair, throw in a few big candy bars and some smaller candy bars, whatever you can find that you think would appeal to the kids.


Then everyone who sells popcorn regardless of amount gets one ticket with their name on it.

everyone who sells $100 in popcorn, gets another ticket.

$200 another ticket.


then we draw names. once you've won, you can't win again.

sometimes there are enough prizes where everyone ends up getting something.

you can do it where everyone chooses their prizes from the table, or you can hide the prizes in gift bags so you never know what you will get.


some people throw a pizza party or the top selling kids--kids get a lot of pizza parties though.

some pick up some mcdonald's meal ticket/gift cards

some let the kids throw a whipped creme pie at the cubmaster for each $100 they sell or whatever.


we also started the first year giving 5% of the sales go toward the kid's summer camp.(scout account) then 10% of the sales, and we are now at 15% IF we make our sales goal. last year we didn't make our sales goal :( due to lack of advertising like your pack did due to new management. So we went down to 10%.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

1)Show/Sell orders - Depends largely on how your council runs their popcorn sale, how much storage space you have for corn, and how many Show/Sell/Booth sales you have scheduled.


Does your council have two separate sales dates, one for Show/Sell, and a separate for Take Order? With no overlap at all? Or is the Show/Sell happening at the same time as the Take Ordering?


What kind of return policy does your council have? Are you required to purchase everything you order with no return at all? Can you return only unsold, unopened Show/Sell cases? Can you return unsold Show/Sell individual pieces?


What is your council's payment policy? Do they require that all Show/Sell orders be paid in full before ordering Take Order? Do they have only one due date for all money from both sales?


Our council lets us return any unopened, individual item. They let us use unsold Show/Sell toward Take Orders. They also let us roll over all payment due to the end of the entire popcorn sale (Show/Sell + Take Order). I base my Show/Sell order on what our average total sales were over the last few years. The order I place for Show/Sell is what I think we will sell for the entire sale (Show/Sell and Take). I then have enough popcorn on hand to not only cover Show/Sell, but to get most of the Take Orders filled early as well. At Show/Sell return, Take Order ordering, time I return unsold popcorn not needed for Take Orders, and order any items needed that we sold out of at Show/Sell. It usually works out pretty close. We also defer our payment until the final, council end of sale, settle-up.


In general, since you have never done Show/Sells before, I would start slow, with 1-2 sale dates, and order lightly (just the most popular/cheapest) for Show/Sell. This is especially true if you face the prospect of getting stuck with unsold popcorn that you have to pay for.


Take a look at past years popcorn paperwork (if there is any) to get an idea of what sells in your area.



2) Incentives - Council incentives from the popcorn company are usually cheaper items, however we have found that the kids do like them, especially the knives, and camping stuff. The parents like the store cards because they can then get what they want. How the council incentives work is entirely up to the council, usually in partnership with the corn company.


A unit (Pack/Troop/Crew/Ship/Team) can have their own individual unit incentives for their Scouts. What these are depends mainly on how much money the unit wants, or can afford, to spend. A unit incentive program would have to be approved by your Pack Committee.


What I did - We established a sales goal for each Scout (not family), based on what we spent on our program the previous year, and what we wanted to do for the current year, divided up by the number of Cubs in the Pack. This goal could be reached by a combination of Take Orders and working Show/Sell booths ($$ allocated based on the total Show/Sell sales and number of shift spots). Every Scout that made his goal received an Estes rocket kit (we do a rocket shoot in Aug). The top 10 sellers in the Pack (of 30-40 Cubs) all were awarded the chance to toss a whipped cream "popcorn pie" (whipped cream on a foam plate) at the leader of their choice at our December Pack meeting. Every Scout who participated in the sale in any way (even just one Show/Sell shift) gets a Pack popcorn patch segment for their Patch vest.


3) Keeping the sale in the front of everyone's mind - We have basically two months (Sept/Oct). The Take Order forms, Pack due date/incentive/selling tips sheet, and Show/Sell dates/times signups, go out to the dens at their first den meeting of the school year. The Popcorn Kernel visits each den meeting. Depending on how the schedule falls out, we might hold a Pack Popcorn Kickoff Sales Blitz day where we meet at a park to go over that years popcorn program. Every Scout gets some popcorn to take door-to-door to sell in the neighboring area (gotta love those little red wagons!). When they get back to the park we play games, eat dogs, chips, and bug juice.


Den leaders are the backbone of the sale. They remind their boys/families each week to aim for incentives, sign up for Show/Sell sales, send sales emails to relatives out of town, etc.



Bottom line is to try what ever sounds good to you (with Pack Committee OK). You never know what will work (or not work) for you until you try it.


One caution - Spreadsheets are your friend! Keep accurate, and detailed, records, of who took what corn, who returned what corn, who sold what, who paid what, and who earned what incentives (council and Pack). Put together a receipt form, and have an ADULT family member sign for all corn taken/returned, and money due/paid.


Also, I don't know how it is by you, but around here Show/Sell Booths have gotten very popular. I start calling Show/Sell locations in August (talk to manager) to make sure I get all of the location/dates/times reserved that I want.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

One more thing - make sure you attend your Council/District's Popcorn Kickoff meeting. They usually go over the council sale rules/incentives, give hints from veterans, pass out samples, answer questions, and hand out the unit packets with all of the forms/whatnot. Ours include a free dinner, and are rather fun.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

If our unit does popcorn I think I'm going to push us to do more military donation sales than anything. If you can avoid handling inventory and help out the Council and service people overseas then so much the better. Our council has said that it is okay to accept donations for military popcorn.


But Scoutnut has excellent suggestions on running show and sell.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the helpful replies. There is a popcorn meeting on may 29th for our council which I am attending. But I would like to have a lot of questions to ask, which is why I wanted to discuss it here first. I am sure I will learn there about the council having show and sell or if we need to front for the show and sell as a pack, but I also know now to ask just in case! :)


The only incentive we had last year were a few giftcards and a big watergun. I really don't think half the kids noticed it. And I know being a new tiger pack, only one of our families actually sold. The rest of us didn't realize how integral it was to the program, like i said the brochures were just passed out at our very first packmeeting when we were all still getting our footing. I plan to run the program a bit more personalized. We have around 6 dens and I plan to visit each one, not just present at the pack meeting where people don't really pay much attention.



I am very interested in the pack paying for things for the kids like summer camp or activities. Like i said, our pack only paid for leader training and belt loops/advancement stuff. Every other activity, even the Fall Encampment Saturday dinner, we had to pay individually for.


Campmasters.org offers online sales. Is anyone familiar with this company? or sold from them before? Do the online sales go to the pack and council or only the council if you know?


thanks again for all the help! Its going to be quite an eventful year! :)


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

You do need to touch base with your pack committee chair about what the pack rules for popcorn profit are. talk to them about what that % is earmarked for in the budget--it may cover the cost of all the awards and then not be enough to cover more than that. And talk about incentives. You may not have a budget to work with to award anything else over top of what the council provides.


also check how the dates for popcorn sales fit into the pack calendar(calendar for next year may not be completed yet). it makes no sense to work so hard for show and sell if it falls on the weekends of the pack campout or other big event for your pack. so you need to make sure the dates fit.


I do agree that pushing popcorn when you are first recruiting is incredibly hard to do. the new guys don't get it. the only way we can snag them to sell popcorn if we remind them that we are only charging this much but things cost more than that, so the more you sell the less you have to pay out of your own pocket.


Last year's popcorn kernel signed up for weird locations for show and sell, and then pushed it at the August pack meeting even though sales are really only the month of October. and it was hit or miss. It's the first year in 5+ years where we didn't meet our goal. Our goal is last year's sales plus another 1%, not a huge increase each year, but the number of scouts we have each year has always increased. Usually they've added 5-10% to our sales, last year we were down I think 15% from the prioe year--could be the economy but I think pushing popcorn for 3 months also accounted for a lot of that drop.


Our sales run like this, we tell council how much show and sell order popcorn we want by Sept 15, it comes in by the end of sept. in that time frame, we can sign up to sell at certain stores that council has pre-arranged, or we can find our own stores.


the month of October is when the take order forms go home(or are supposed to go home), and we have store sales during the month of October, as well as boys can take orders with their families. Orders are due back to the pack end of October.


set a very very very firm date to turn in your sales sheets AND MONEY. we collect money when you do the take order sales, otherwie people don't have the $ when you go back to deliver right before the hoidays. then call everyone that didn't turn it in even if you aren't sure if they sold. Then go to their house to pick it up if you have to. otherwise you get people showing up after you turned in your sales number and they sold stuff you don't have extras of--and people are wanting their product. What we don't use for show and sell can be used to fill take order sales, and then we order what we still need by the 1st of November ish. that popcorn comes in mid November and we go deliver the popcorn.


We can return up to 1 case of each kind of product to our council, but not more. We pay everything we owe by the first week of December. Prizes are ordered in November and they are gift cards, plus some kind of shooter if you sell over $600.


Online sales are open year round for us. My kids send out an email to friends and family usually in September, occassionally again right before the holidays for people to buy last minute gifts (cheaper than the Harry and David specialty popcorns). They usually sell a couple hundred dollars of popcorn that way or a few donations to the troops. We get regular profit % and it mysteriously shows up in our council unit account a couple times of year like an unexpected bonus.


Make a spreadsheet for type of popcorn at the top and names on the side and see if you can get it to add up automatically.

or ask another pack they probably have one already done(or the district popcorn chair may). test it to make sure it added right, one year ours missed a whole den of boy's popcorn orders (each den had a tab to total onto the main pack page and one den didn't transfer). Caught it before sales closed though.


On the spreadsheet, every kid gets a row for take order and a row for show and sales. you can combine them for prizes after you are sure everything especially money balances.


If you order a small amount of popcorn, don't check popcorn out to the parents. I find when you are first starting this it's better to set up a booth at a store and have kids sign up for times to work(with their parents), assign den leaders certain times if you can't be there the whole time. Otherwise you find you checked out popcorn to a kid who didn't show and then run out of popcorn. then he brings it back to you unsold and you could have used that popcorn at the store. If you want to make sure each time slot has popcorn available, you could divide your popcorn up and mark each box with the time that it's supposed to be sold at, but that seems like a bit of trouble. besides depending on where you are, certain times are going to sell way more popcorn than other times.


Pass out the popcorn sales sheets with an envelope attached if they don't provide you with envelopes.


oh, probably want to avoid the thing that hooks to your iphone to allow people to charge their popcorn to their credit card at least for your first year.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

My council sold Campmasters for a few years while we were having some servicing issues with Trail's End.


It is not bad, but Trail's End definitely tastes better.


I am surprised that the only incentives your council offered were a "few gift cards and a big watergun". Campmasters has a full line of incentives that increase in quality/worth as your sales level increases (from a balsa wood glider to a Coleman Camp package).


Perhaps they decided to forgo the incentives from Campmasters and just do their own.


Check out the Campmasters website for info -




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the first year with Campmasters. We did trails end last year.


But thanks everyone, have a lot of good questions to bring to the council popcorn informational meeting next week and to the cubmaster later this week.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Trail's End also has a full line of incentives, including a college scholarship program for Scouts selling $2,500 and over.


It definitely sounds like it was your council's decision not to spend money on incentives.


It should be interesting to see what kind of program they have worked out with Campmasters.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Took me this long to find out all of the information for the popcorn stuff. They finally got everything sorted with Campmasters and started having informational meetings last month.


We do have several council incentives, but they are pretty big ticket incentives, ie $1000 sold gets you free Day Camp, $1600 sold gets you a $250 gift card. These are incentives on top of what Campmasters gives us. I guess I never really saw any of the council incentives last year since our top seller was around $600 in our pack. I plan to try to motivate the kids to do better this year though!


The way the money is split is we get 25% + 5% if we fulfill a few requirements (hand in forms on time, 50% participation, attend kickoff etc), +2-5% based on how much we increase our sales from last year. So a possible 35%. I believe that with the proper motivation we can easily increase our sales by 30% from last year and earn the extra 5%.


They also have a prize list, which is basically lots of little stuff, ie sell $35 you get a keychain, $75 you get some toy etcetc. We can choose to opt out of this prize list (this doesnt effect the council/large campmaster incentives) and get an extra 3%. I am thinking it would be best to take the 3% because then we can just buy our own prizes/trophies and having to go through a possible 40-50 kids and have them pick prizes out of the list would be a bit much clerical work and easy to make errors on i think?



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

>>" I am thinking it would be best to take the 3% because then we can just buy our own prizes/trophies and having to go through a possible 40-50 kids and have them pick prizes out of the list would be a bit much clerical work and easy to make errors on i think?"

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is what our pack does: (YMMV)


We take the extra 5% offered by council, for not getting the prizes. We do hand out the patches and the toys they send (last year was an type of nerf shooting gun--no more marshmallow shooters).


We do not share fund with the scouts, for popcorn. We use the money to fund our pack events (at every pack meeting, we have something going on--Mad Science, Reptile guy, Santa, etc). It also absorbs some of the cost for camping, so we arent' charging $25 a person at each campout.


We do purchase prizes. Top seller in each den receives a small tent (2 or 4 man). Top 3 sellers receive prizes--3rd place is a fishing pole/gear package; 2nd is a tent/camp chair/pad package, and 1st place is a bike/safety gear package. We may change prizes this year, but the last 2 years, this is what we've given. A small note--the top 3 sellers cannot win the den prizes--if the top 3 are all webelos 2, then the 4th top seller in the webelos 2 den wins the tent prize. We spend about 3% of our sales on this, so we are making 2% extra by doing our sales this way.


We also hold a drawing for show n sells. Each time a boy works a sell, he gets a ticket in the drawing. We draw for the freebie prize the council gives us (the gun) as well as t shirts or other pack materials. (This is where the CM gets to clean out the garage, lol.)


For selling, we only order limited product. Single serve popcorn boxes, Caramel corn with and without nuts, and single serve kettle corn. How much I order depends on how many sales we have set. This year, we have 6 4 hour slots plus 5 full day slots (7am-7pm). You can always use the extra to cover your take orders.


Our take orders are run at the same time as SNS. However, we don't do SNS past the first two or three weekends. After that, the market is saturated, and people stop buying--they've either already bought or they did a take order. So, we know how much extra product we have by the turn in orders date. We defer payment until the last day due.


One note: we make sure the parents understand that if they take the popcorn, we are to get the money back, not the popcorn. They are responsible for their orders. A few years ago, before we joined, a family sold a lot of popcorn. They had a couple of businesses sign the take order form for purchase, and told them they would pay at delivery, plus they had large orders from people. Come take order delivery time, the businesses were either closed or they refused delivery; most of the big deliveries were not sold and one family turned in over 3/4 of the popcorn presold. We recommend, gently, that any orders over $50 be paid for upfront (and preferably all of them are this way); and in the last two years, we've only had 2 scouts with unsold popcorn--and both were due to family members they thought they could trust to cover their order. We will happily take any money at any den meeting--the treasurer, CM and myself alternate times in our welcome center, so that it can be turned in, and a receipt given.






(This message has been edited by ccbytrickery)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since I obviously never got around to it earlier this summer: THANK YOU ALL for all the replies.


Its been a hectic last few weeks trying to get the final planning. I ran around like a madwoman last week securing us some locations which i think will be very very good. We didnt get Walmart, but high traffic hardware stores here we come! :)


I feel a lot more confident about my plan with the show and sell. Its just all up to my pack meeting last week to get people to sign up. I just hope the rest of the pack shares my enthusiasm :)


Oh, I do have one more question though, how much 'change' money should each location have? We will be doing 4 hours at each location during the weekend and selling the $10, $15, $20, $30 price point items. I should have $50 in 5 dollar bills? or more? I will not be working a location myself, so I will be able to run around if people need more change and hopefully have other parents who can help with that too. But would like to know what to start off with at each location.


I am a person who never carries cash myself, I have my creditcards and checkbook.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

$50 is plenty. Since you do not have any odd costs that would require singles 5's should be good. I would throw in one 10 too. Remind the folks staffing the booths to make a note of any donations.


Remember to balance the money after each sale, and do not forget to take out the "kitty".


I found it very helpful to write down on the back of the sign up sheet for each location how much of each variety you started the booth with, and how much you had at the end. Then total what the costs were for what was sold, add in donations, and match it to what you have in your cash box.


If all goes good, what you sold should match the money you have.


Keep the sign up/sales sheets for each booth sale. Remember to write on the sheet where/when each sale was. These sheets will help you balance the product sold to what is left, and what will be needed to fill take orders. They will also be helpful when you are picking next year's locations/times.


One other thing. Since you will not be at all of the booth sales, make sure the booth sale volunteers that are there note on the sheet if the Scouts that signed up actually show up. You will need that for allocating booth sale costs at the end of the popcorn sale. I always totaled all booth sales together and came up with an average cost per shift/per boy. That way boys who worked more than one shift got more sales dollars.

Share this post

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
Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...