U.S. News


Girl Scout fined $400 for selling cookies

Thirteen-year-old Emma McCarroll from Wyoming was selling Girl Scout Cookies with her mother from their family's driveway.
Girl Scout cookies for sale.
Posted at 7:31 PM, Apr 25, 2024

A 13-year-old Girl Scout in Wyoming was fined $400 for selling cookies from her family driveway with her mother. The Cowboy State Dailydescribed the municipal code officer who issued the citation as "by-the-book" in their enforcement.

Emma McCarroll told the paper she and her mother were asked if they had permission by the landowner to vend on the property. The mother, Erica Fairbanks McCarroll, says she tried to explain that they were in her parents' driveway, where they parked their vehicle.

Fairbanks McCarroll told the paper she believes the officer never understood that she was related to the property owners, "my parents who own the driveway," she said. The property in question is in Pinedale, Wyoming, a township that has just over 6,000residents.

The town's Mayor Matt Murdock defended the officer's actions, telling the Cowboy State Daily, "You can't sell within the Wyoming Department of Transportation's right of way,” and said the mother "was told and she refused to move."

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The town's code states that "written permission of the owner of the public or private property where operations are being maintained shall be in the possession of the operator at all times."

The Girl Scouts' website says, "Girl Scouts should observe their council’s jurisdiction ... when marketing and selling products in person or at a cookie booth." It states, "For cookie booth sales, all booth locations are designated and approved by the council. In addition, all council guidelines regarding booth set up and take down and staffing booths must be followed."

Emma McCarroll told the Cowboy State Daily, "Sometimes I just think that government can be unreasonable." She said, "It wasn't reasonable to be fined $400 for selling cookies in front on my grandparents' property."

She said last year she set up the same table on her grandmother's private driveway in a rural area off of a dirt road out of view in a "cluster of trees," the paper reported. A city report said the officer told Emma and her mother to move their vending setup to a parking lot nearby where it would be legal, but the officer said they did not move fast enough.

They were issued citations for unlawful obstruction of a road and sidewalk without permission from the council, for blocking a sidewalk with rules enforced by the state's department of transportation, and for parking a vehicle on a sidewalk. The fines totaled $400.

The family paid $508 for an attorney and were able to have two of the citations dismissed.