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🍪 The Girl Scout cookie shortage

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A man stranded without service in snowy Oregon attached his phone to a drone, flying it skyward until it was able to send his SOS text message. Rescuers found not only him, but another man who’d also been stranded.

In today’s email:

  • The saddest shortage: Where are the Girl Scout cookies?
  • Visual: Big Tech reins in the perks.
  • Our best stuff from the week.
  • Around the Web: A karaoke app, the dogs of Chernobyl, small-business influencers, and more.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Mark and Juliet talk about Girl Scout cookie drama, Microsoft’s progress with Bing, and an Alabama mayor’s TikTok strategy.

The big idea
Girl Scouts

Where are the Girl Scout cookies?

Since 2020, shortages have spread across industries, but this one hits right in the sweet tooth. The Girl Scouts of the USA are in a cookie shortage.

Girl Scout troops sell ~200m cookies per year, bringing in ~$800m to fund activities. They’re so popular, other cookie companies cut advertising and lower sales expectations during the January-to-April selling season.

But this year…

… cookies are in short supply, especially for online shoppers.

When the Girl Scouts began selling cookies in 1917, members baked them. But as sales scaled, troops turned to commercial bakers.

Today, ABC Bakers in Virginia makes ~25% of the cookies, and Ferrero-owned Little Brownie Bakers (LBB) in Kentucky makes ~75%, per CNBC.

Since January, LBB has experienced delays due to supply chain issues, labor shortages, and weather-related power outages. Ferrero maintains it’s still on track to meet initial orders, but many Girl Scouts have been unable to meet their sales goals.

And then there’s eBay

The saddest kind of reseller has got to be a Girl Scout cookie reseller, but here we are.

The hottest flavor is Raspberry Rally, a new limited-edition “sister” to Thin Mints. Typically, they go for $4-$7 per box, but the often sold-out cookies are now listed on eBay for up to 5x as much, per The New York Times.

Assuming this isn’t the work of a particularly entrepreneurial middle schooler, the troops aren’t benefiting financially from the increased demand.

For that reason…

… and because they can’t guarantee quality otherwise, the Girl Scouts have asked buyers to purchase only through local troops. Speaking of, you can find yours here.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003) has become a cult classic for its odd script, overacting, and unintentionally funny lines. Now, “Better Call Saul” star Bob Odenkirk is starring in a remake for charity.

SNIPPETS

Bing binge: Microsoft’s head of Bing said the platform crossed the 100m daily user mark. “We are fully aware we remain a small, low, single digit share player. That said, it feels good to be at the dance!”

Please leave: GM is offering voluntary buyouts to a majority of its 58k corporate employees in a $2B cost-cutting effort.

Beethoven’s big day: Apple said its dedicated classical music app, with 5m+ tracks, will launch on March 28.

Venture cap’s nap: In February, global VC funding fell to $18B, the first sub-$20B month since February 2020.

Meanwhile… in March, Utah-based personalized demo startup Consensus raised $110m, OpenAI rival Anthropic raised $300m, and UK-based Envisics raised $50m for its in-car hologram tech.

Shares of Silicon Valley Bank plummeted 60% yesterday after the tech-focused bank announced losses of $2B+. The four biggest US banks lost $52B in market value following the news.

Discord launched three new AI experiences: Clyde, a conversational chatbot; AutoMod AI, which alerts moderators to possible rule violations; and Conversation Summaries for the TL;DR.

Civic duty: In Oneonta, Alabama, Mayor Richard Phillips has gone viral for his TikTok videos pranking city colleagues. Occasionally, tourists come to the 7k-person town just to get a selfie with him.

Update: Police in Japan arrested three people for alleged “sushi terrorism,” a gross trend we previously covered here.

No more laundry
perks at big tech offices
Olivia Heller

Big Tech reins in the perks

Over the course of a few weeks in January, then-Google employee Nicole Tsai posted cute clips highlighting many of the perks available at the company’s LA office.

One post showcases a slide, hand-rolled sushi for lunch, and a happy hour Tiki bar. A top comment reads, “Daycare for adults.”

The next day, Tsai posted another TikTok titled “A day in my life getting laid off at Google.” Unfortunately, and unexpectedly for her, Tsai was one of the 12k employees Google cut in January.

“The pingpong tables have turned…”

… The Wall Street Journal’s Anne Marie Chaker said on the broader subject. The tech industry has long been known for lavish office perks introduced to attract and retain top talent.

  • A 2022 survey from MetLife found 31% of tech workers consider pet insurance a must-have benefit, compared to 18% of all employees.

But abundance and job security in tech is no longer a given. In 2022, 1k+ tech companies laid off 161k+ employees, according to Layoffs.fyi. Already in 2023, 471 companies have laid off 127k+.

While cutting office perks risks disappointing some staff, it can also be an easy cost-saver in tumultuous economic times.

Facebook — which cut 11k+ workers in November and could slash thousands more — recently cut free laundry services. Twilio has cut sabbatical, wellness, and book budgets. And, in January, Google let go of 31 in-house massage therapists.

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Listen Now

Key lessons from three ‘Shark Tank’ products

Ever felt like “Shark Tank” should dive a little deeper?

You’re in luck. Another Bite is the new podcast for entrepreneurs and everyday folks who love to dish on great products. And not-so-great products. You understand.

Join hosts Ariel, Jorie, and Jon in enjoying memorable pitches and extracting valuable strategies from the hit TV show.

Next up in the tank:

  • What the sharks saw in Scrub Daddy
  • How Cougar Energy missed in the drinks market
  • The Groovebook smartphone photo-printing service

Tune into the groovy-daddy-cougar chat.

*Chomp* →
Recs
Weekend Reads

Welcome to Weekend Reads

In case you missed ‘em, here’s this week’s best…

AROUND THE WEB

📅 On this day: In 1926, the Book-of-the-Month Club published its first selection — Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes, or The Loving Huntsman. The novel follows a woman who refuses to marry and instead takes up witchcraft.

🎤 That’s cool: Smule is an app that lets you sing karaoke by yourself or with others around the world.

🐕 That’s interesting: Scientists are studying the dogs that have lived around Chernobyl’s abandoned nuclear plant for generations and are genetically different from other dogs in nearby cities.

✏️ From our blog: Small businesses can still access influencer marketing. Here’s how. 

🐠 Aww: The flashlight fish’s bioluminescent spots kinda make it look like a superhero.

Shower Thoughts
  1. Turning the music down helps you see better in parking lots.  SOURCE

  2. When you sleep with your arms on top of your bedding, you are a human paperclip.  SOURCE

  3. Michelangelo must have been absolutely jacked from chiseling.  SOURCE

  4. A kiss is technically a headbutt, just not a violent one.  SOURCE

  5. It’d be impossible to tell if a sloth was clapping sincerely.  SOURCE

 
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