Girl Scout cookie time. It's one of the mile markers of the work year—like open enrollment, receiving a W2, and performance evaluations.
For devotees of Thin Mints, Samoas, and Do-Si-Dos, it is a sweet, snacking time. But for other people, it's a difficult season when coworkers solicit them to buy unwanted cookies.
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For those of you who want to buy cookies, we have no wish to discourage you. It is, after all, a tasty way to support a worthwhile organization.
However, to those who don't want to buy, we offer these tips for tactfully turning down a cookie-selling coworker:
1. Claim that you're on a diet. It's still early enough in the year to claim that you're trying to make good on a weight-loss resolution. When asked to buy cookies, simply pat your gut and explain that you're doing your best to shed some pounds. To make the act more believable, say that you're already down a pound or two.
But remember, a claim that you're on a diet will have long-term repercussions: Plan on eating your lunch-time cheeseburgers in secret for several weeks. Once the heat is off, you can resume your normal eating habits in public—if anyone questions you, just concede that you just couldn't stick to the diet.
Also, don't get caught munching on a more truthful coworker's cookie purchase.
2. Plead that you can't afford them. "I'd love to buy a box," you say regretfully, "But I'm pinching pennies."
It's a valid excuse, but be prepared to have your work-day purchases—like all those lunches out and your $12-a-day Starbucks habit—scrutinized by the spurned fundraiser.
3. Pretend to have already bought some. "Shoot," you say upon hearing the sales pitch, "I wish you would have caught me a couple days ago—I bought, like, 10 boxes from some girls in front of the grocery store."
You can also claim to have bought from a neighbor, family friend, or relative.
Use caution with this claim, however. If you live near the coworker trying to sell you a box, chances are she's pretty plugged in to the local Girl Scout scene. If so, she might be able to uncover your deception with a few probing questions about troop numbers and when and where you bought the phantom cookies.
4. Stage a pre-emptive strike. When your coworker approaches, order form in hand, be the first to initiate conversation. Choose a topic that is sure to prompt your coworker to flee.
- The results of an elderly relative's recent colonoscopy.
- Those bums in Washington.
5. Become an unapproachable person. This one requires a year-round commitment. You need to be a jerk. To everyone. All of the time. Creating an aura of unpleasantness is an effective way to always avoid having to buy Girl Scout cookies. But, we must warn you, it is an equally effective way of damaging professional relationships, stunting job growth, and derailing your career.
Luke Roney is content manager for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews, salary information and a free career happiness assessment.