Sunday, March 25, 2012

Travel Bite: Food Vendor Cell Conversations

Nuts 4 Nuts vendor, Midtown Manhattan

"Yo, Vinny. Wanna go to da Nutcracker wid me tonight at Lincoln Center?"

Big Apple Pretzels vendor, Midtown Manhattan

"Of course I can talk and salt at the same time. Unless it's Pink Himalayan."

Vinny's Nut House vendor, Little Italy, Manhattan

"Sure, I'll go to da Nutcracker. Should I bring da cotton candy or da Torrone Nougat for da Sugar Plum Fairy?"

Chestnut vendor, Hagia Sophia church, Istanbul

"Hmmm. I thought I downloaded that roasted chestnut app."

Mexican chotchke vendor, Olvera Square, Los Angeles (So it's not food. Sue me.)

"Slow day. Where's the cha-ching from all this bling? I'd make more selling Chiclets in Tijuana."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Girl Scout Cookie Cartel Makeover

Buh bye, Savannah Smiles. Hola, Lemon Escobars

You're probably thinking, “Must you skewer those poor Scouts again? Weren’t last year’s Notes from a Girl Scout Cookie Curmudgeon and My Healthy Girl Scout Cookie Makeover enough?” Well have you tried their latest offering, Savannah Smiles? It’s described as a “cool and crisp lemon wedge cookie that looks like a smile.” I sampled one (for research), and this lethal powdered sugar and lemon speedball was so addictive, I would’ve sold my mother for another. Of course Savannah’s smiling. Nothing cries 'crackhead' like someone hopped up on GMO sugar, soybean oil and corn syrup, rainforest-depleting palm oil, artificial flavor and lemon juice solids (isn’t 'juice solids' an oxymoron?). Wouldn't a more apt name be Lemon Escobars after cocaine kingpin, Pablo Escobar? The girls sell this stuff on the streets, they control the entire supply chain, and their customers wait in an addled frenzy for their orders to arrive.

Since this is the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, and 2012 has been declared the “Year of the Girl,” what better time to roll out a new business plan? According to the Los Angeles Times, cookie sales in 2011 brought $760 million in profits—100% of it going to the councils and the girls. And new Scouts' CEO, Anna Maria Chavez, is launching an initiative to groom girls for leadership posts because a survey showed that 61% are either ambivalent about leadership or say it's not important to them. So I’ve created a crack business initiative built on the Girl Scout framework: Courage, Confidence, Character. With one addition.

Courage, Confidence, Character and Connections

Courage It’s not easy to admit their cookies are a drug, but why sugarcoat the truth? The girls could be selling a pure, plant-based, highly profitable product. Derived from the coca plant, cocaine is more natural than the genetically modified and pesticide-laced sugar beets that are used in the sugar, soybeans in the soybean oil and corn in the corn syrup; coca is not depleting the rainforest and orangutan population through the harvesting of unsustainable palm oil; and it contains no artificial flavor. Sure, it takes cahones to join a Colombian drug cartel, and the girls will have to ask for a raise in their allowance for the upstart costs, but I think they’ll be up to the task.

Confidence If a kilo of coke can be purchased for about $1800 in Colombia, how much profit will you make selling it in New York City for $23,000? No, that’s not a simple math problem. That’s the bright future of our Scouts. Drugs bring in $300-400 billion a year, and it’s been said that illegal drug money may have saved the banking industry from collapse, as it was the only liquid investment capital available in 2008. What better way for a girl to gain self-esteem than to keep the global economy afloat? As they learn valuable lessons in economics, horticulture, chemistry, geography, ocean sciences and law, these young entrepreneurs will also become fluent in Spanish and another language: money. Nothing breeds confidence like cold, hard, Colombian-infused cash.

Character With the Scouts’ newfound wealth, they can start a philanthropic cookie company that sells organic, sustainable and free-trade confections. The profits could be used to rebuild the palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia that have been deforested from the manufacturing of palm oil for the current cookies. They can also start an orangutan preserve to safeguard the simians from further displacement. For an inspiring example of ‘character’, read about real Girl Scouts, Madison and Rhiannon, who created Project ORANGS (Orangutans Really Appreciate and Need Girl Scouts) to stop the Scouts from using palm oil. They’ve spent the last five years bringing awareness to this problem and have produced real results. Sign their online petition on Girl Scouts: Make Your Cookies Rainforest-Safe.

Connections When CEO, Anna Maria Chavez, introduces the girls to brother, Hugo, they will not only become schooled in international politics, they’ll be poised for world domination. You want leadership? Move over Hillary. There are some new girls in town.

Who’s smiling now?

The Lemon Escobar Recipe for Success

1 $50 dollar bill (or higher)

1 gram cocaine

1 lemon wedge

Roll up bill. Snort coke, rub on teeth, suck lemon wedge and enjoy!

This may not taste as good as my Chocolate Covered Mint Leaves (My Thin Mints), but it'll keep you even thinner.

1 serving = 1 gram

0 calories

0% Palm Oil

95% Profit

Related Links:

Notes from a Girl Scout Cookie Curmudgeon

My Healthy Girl Scout Cookie Makeover

Chocolate Covered Mint Leaves (My Thin Mints)