The Huntress

The Wait
Forty-seven minutes left. Too soon. Too soon! I won’t repeat the same mistake as last time. I made my move too quickly, too boldly. They saw me coming. This time I’ll be the one in control.

The Regret
It was in mint condition. An official Girl Scout mess kit from the 1950’s in the original box. It was just gorgeous – two pans, a plate, collapsible cup – it even had the fork, spoon and knife set. They almost never have the silverware, but this one had it all. It was early in my eBay career, so I didn’t know how things worked. I didn’t know that when you bid on something right away, four days before the auction ends, it’s like pouring blood into the ocean. They can smell you from miles around. God, I was naïve.

I actually got on that train thinking that by the time I got home, I would be the owner of a pristine Girl Scout mess kit. In the original box. When I felt my phone buzz twice in rapid succession, I figured it was just eBay’s way of thanking me for my business, but when I opened up the emails, a different story unfolded.

5:59pm – “Hi Jenny – There’s a new highest bid on this item, but there’s still a chance to make it yours. Increase your bid to have a chance at winning the Official 1950’s Girl Scout Mess Kit (in original box)!

6:00pm – “Hi Jenny – We’re sorry, you didn’t win the Official 1950’s Girl Scout Mess Kit (in original box) this time around. While this one got away, there’s other stuff to find. Don’t give up.”

How did this happen? I had been the only bidder for the past four days. And who can type fast enough to bid in the last minute? This would be my first experience with snipers, lowest of the eBay low. I would not soon forget the pain and anger of this loss.

The Genesis
In the beginning, there was Natasha. Friend? Enabler? Visionary? Who’s to say? But she was the first to plant the seed in my head – a tiny grain in the form of a conversation about Girl Scout merit badges and how she was fond of them.

I began researching images on eBay, which led to my very first purchase: a small clear plastic bag containing five vintage Girl Scout patches. I was hooked. I needed more.


Soon, under the handle Artemis71, I began the hunt. I moved quickly and silently, backing off when my prey was nervous, moving in when they were unawares.

Patches begat pins.


Pins begat sashes.


Sashes begat pocket knives.


Pocket knives begat handbooks.


Handbooks begat cameras.


Cameras begat a vintage 1965 official Girl Scout uniform, complete with dress, beret and bowtie.


And I saw the uniform, and behold, it was very good.

The Fitting
Thirty-two minutes left and no bids yet on the vintage Girl Scout sewing kit. Hold back, Jenny.

Why Girl Scouts? Where did this sudden obsession come from? I never was a part of Scouts. None of my friends were either. Sure, I love Samoas as much as the next office worker, but it was more than that. With Girl Scouts, there is the promise of… something. Youthful curiosity, a sense of adventure, camaraderie, belonging, survival.

“Guess what I’m wearing right now.”

“Why do you always call me with that question, Jenny?”

“You never guess right anyway, so I’ll just tell you. I’m wearing a vintage 1965 official Girl Scout uniform, complete with dress, beret and bowtie.”


“Nat? You there?”

“I’m still here. Is this another one of your eBay purchases?”

“Sure is. And it fits me like a glove.”

A glove that was stretched across the bust, snug around the hips and about three inches too short, but a glove nonetheless.

“Where exactly do you plan on wearing that?”

“Where don’t I plan on wearing it is the question. Soda shops. Sock hops. Drive-in movies. Casual Fridays. Pretty much everywhere. Get used to the idea, Nat.”

“I’ll do my best.”

“Hey, I gotta go. I just realized this dress kind of smells like nursing home breath.”

The Life
Eighteen minutes left until I can start working toward my seamstress badge. This sewing kit will complete my collection. But I need to wait – I must be patient. The Girl Scout Laws guide my actions now.

1. A Girl Scout’s honor is to be trusted.
2. A Girl Scout is loyal.
3. A Girl Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others.
4. A Girl Scout is a friend to all and a sister to every other Girl Scout.
5. A Girl Scout is courteous.
6. A Girl Scout is a friend to the animals.
7. A Girl Scout obeys orders.
8. A Girl Scout is cheerful.
9. A Girl Scout is thrifty.
10. A Girl Scout is clean in thought, word and deed.

I can do this. I can live honorably, helping friends, making things, feeding rabbits, recycling cans, whistling tunes. I can do a good turn daily. It’s the life I was born to lead.

The Kill
Only four minutes left when I make my move. Enter maximum bid, confirm bid and click! eBay tells me I’m the highest bidder, but still I don’t feel comfortable. I wait at the computer, hoping my bid will be enough to fend off any last-minute snipers. I realize I’ve been holding my breath, and as I exhale, it arrives:

Hi Artemis71 – Congratulations on winning this item!

It was a clean shot, a good kill. The sewing kit is mine.


The Cycle
The eBay gods shone down on me today, and now my collection is complete. I can retire from the hunt and finally sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor. My phone vibrates.

Dear Artemis71,

Based on your past purchases, we’ve found some items you won’t want to miss out on!

• Vintage Girl Scout backpack
• 1954 Girl Scout calendar
• Vintage Girl Scout wristwatch

Don’t let them get away!

Your friends at eBay

Wristwatch? No one said anything about a wristwatch! And so the huntress pushes aside her frozen pizza, stands up to stretch her quads and silently walks into the forest, bow in hand.

28 Responses to “The Huntress”

  1. vahid Says:

    Two things:

    The patches are clearly the gateway drug of Girl Scout paraphernalia. Seeing these photos I can’t help but want a sash of my own, covered with patches to proclaim my life’s accomplishments to the world.

    Secondly, you have never once called me and said, “Guess what I’m wearing right now.”

  2. kapgar Says:

    Based on your description of how it fits, I wasn’t sure if you were talking about a vintage Girl Scout uniform or O.J.’s glove.

  3. jenny Says:

    vahid: gateway drug is right! don’t you even start… learn from my mistakes! but now if i tell you to guess what i’m wearing, you’re going to know it will inevitably be a vintage 1965 official Girl Scout uniform, complete with dress, beret and bowtie.

    kapgar: if the dress doesn’t fit, you must acquit!

  4. Dave2 Says:

    I would like to buy some cookies…

  5. jenny Says:

    dave: let’s see… so can i put you down for 12 boxes of thin mints, 4 boxes of samoas, and 6 boxes of sugar cookies? great!

  6. hello haha narf Says:

    oh dear lord, i can so see me doing this. well, probably because i have done it. except with teenage mutant ninja turtles, pink and the brain, longaberger baskets and m*a*s*h stuff.

    i’m totally crushing on you right now.

  7. Seamus Says:

    Is that a gambling patch at the top of the heap?

  8. Ren Says:

    I will not be showing this post to my wife or my kids. Nope, definitely not.

    Doesn’t setting an appropriate maximum bid eliminate the sniper problem? Or is that just not a good story? Or is there distrust of seller collusion that will cause you to overpay if you put in a real maximum bid?

    That bow tie seems a little off….

  9. Penn Darvis Says:

    Please to be posting photos of you wearing said scout uniform.

    Or alternatively please to be showing up at my door in said scout uniform with a box of cookies for sale.

    Papa likes!

  10. shari Says:

    First you say you won’t, then you say you will. Keep me hanging on, but we’re not moving on, we’re just standing still… Ebay, you’ve got me on my knees. Ebay, you’re killing me.

  11. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    I’m impressed at the speed with which you managed to go from ‘curiosity’ to ‘hopelessly obsessed’. Very efficient, indeed.

    Also, I second the each of the motions made by Senor Darvis.

  12. delmer Says:

    Rats! Kapgar beat me with the OJ glove reference.

    Anyway, who knew Girl Scouts had knives? (Hey, that’s sort of OJ-ey!)

  13. George Says:

    Why not snipe yourself? It is not dirty, just smart.

    There are sniping services (,, etc.) that you can use, as well as desktop software.

    I recommend a service rather than software as more potential problems can arise when using the software (you may forget to leave your computer on, there may be a power outage, etc.)

    Just remember that sniping is not magic. Regardless of when your bid is placed, it still has to be the highest to win (unless two bids are the same or there is not enough difference between them to meet eBay’s minimum bid increment, in that case, the first bid in wins).

  14. Greeneyezz Says:

    O h M y G O D!

    I saw your reference about the Girl Scout Mess kit and thought, oh wow, that brings back a memory.
    But when I scrolled to your pics of the sew on badges we got, I was suddenly transformed to a pimply-faced pre-pubescent girl who started to sing Kume-bye-yaa!

    Yes, you are quite the Huntress.



  15. Robin Says:

    If you are going to have the paraphernalia, you really need to start dealing, I mean selling the cookies. I really need a source year round for Thin Mints…

    As a buyer on eBay, I hate the last minute bidders. As a seller, though, …LOVE them!

  16. Tracy Lynn Says:

    I got kicked out of Girl Scouts. Those bastards.

  17. Ignominious Bob Says:

    Announcing that you win the item, as opposed to referring to a winning bid, is part of the genius of Ebay.

  18. jenny Says:

    hello haha narf: okay, now i totally need to find out what longaberger baskets are. am i going to be addicted to those as well?

    seamus: it’s a painter’s palette, but i like that you see gambling in everything…

    ren: see, my max bid will change if someone else starts bidding against me. so when i don’t get the chance to rebid, i don’t get to force myself to see how far i’m willing to go. maximum is a relative term for me, clearly.

    penn darvis: i already made the mistake of posting a photo of myself wearing a blindfold once and ended up on a blindfold fetish site. so, yeah… i think posting photos of the GS uniform might be a bad idea.

    shari: sing it, sista!

    sir: i move quickly when i fall in love.

    delmer: i know! they have knives, they start fires, it’s awesome!

    greeneyezz: you were a girl scout? i’m SOOOO jealous right now!

  19. claire Says:

    I didn’t last long in Girl Scouts. Not sure I made it past being a Brownie. Did learn to tie a square knot–even behind my back– though.

    Boy Scouts got to do all the cool stuff as far as I was concerned back then. Their troops had more $$$ and resources. (My older bro was one from elementary through high school.) Your post makes me want to sell his uniform and my BS pocket knife from the 1985 Boy Scout Jamboree. Hmm….

  20. No Girl Scouts Memories Here | Midnight Cliff Says:

    […] much the little event she planned has changed my life, but that is another story), wrote about her ebay quests to collect all things vintage Girl Scouts. She never really was a Girl Scout, but the combination of vintage and the hunt of ebay started Jen […]

  21. jenny Says:

    robin: i have considered trying to become a troop leader just so i could house the stash of cookies. and then i take off with all of them, bernie madoff style. best ponzi scheme ever.

    tracy lynn: no, for reals? did you stab someone?

    igno-bob: ain’t it the truth? eBay makes me feel like a champion!

    claire: i’m telling you, there’s a market for that stuff! just don’t tell your brother…

  22. Cheryl Says:

    I suspect Tracy Kaply stabbed someone in the eye using the spoon from her mess kit, thus beginning a lifelong passion.

    If you decide to start collecting YMCA Indian Princess gear from the mid-’80s, let me know. I could hook you up with a genuine plastic bear claw necklace and more.

  23. Vivian Says:

    Dear Jenny,

    That pocket knife is so cool.


  24. Dustin Says:

    The bottom right patch…is that a bar chart? I didn’t realize the Girl Scouts required Excel mastery these days. Good for them.

    P.S. Put me down for 27 boxes of Tagalongs

  25. ashbloem Says:

    God I love you so much.

  26. Tracy Lynn Says:

    I was also an Indian Princess, until The Unfortunate Incident.

  27. Frank Says:

    I noticed a few comments regarding the YMCA Indian Princess program from a few people. Is there some way to contact them? I am in the program now with my daughters and am collecting memoribilia for this program and would like to find out if they are willing to part with whatever they have. Please reply to my email address.


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