Where did the term "brownie points" come from?

March 17, 2012 2 min read

[caption id="attachment_633" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Brownie Points - the  Dello Mano Way!"]brownie points - Dello Mano style[/caption]

Here at Dello  Mano we'd like to think that everyone is striving for "brownie points" - we certainly are!

A client came into our  store the other day and asked abut the term and it got us thinking.

For most of us, the term brownierefers to delicious squares of chocolate heaven but when followed by ‘points’, it implies something totally different. We use the term as an idiom for someone trying to earn favor or approval, “If I do this I might earn a few brownie points”. So what does a chocolate  have to do with earning approval?

Evidently not much.

The phrase brownie points could have originated from a number of sources. In the Australia,US, and the UK it is most commonly associated with girl scouts who are also called Brownies. Girl scouts get badges for a variety of milestones and it is commonly assumed that these badges became the source of the term.

However, there are other stronger influences that probably made the phrase popular. A gentleman called George R Brown developed a scoring methodology for railroad workers in the late 19th century that became very popular and soon people were referring to their scores as ‘Brownie Points’. Another suggestion is that the term came from the use of brown stamps post World War 2 to encourage customers to shop at grocery stores. The grocers would present customers with brown stamps, which could be exchanged for a gift later on. Finally a publishing house is credited with incentivising its delivery network of youths with brown vouchers for achieving their sales target. These too became known as brownie points.

Any thoughts or ideas about the term Brownie Points? Which do you think seems like the most plausible definition?

If by some chance you are looking to earn a few brownie points then Dello Mano luxury brownies are surely the answer :)


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