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In My Opinion

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Crumbling under cookie pressure

By Celia Rivenbark

My favorite poster ever is a photograph of a little Girl Scout, standing in her crisp green uniform with a victorious smirk on her face. In the background is a house completely ablaze. The caption?

“Maybe Next Time You’ll Buy the (bleeping) Cookies.”

Pure genius. Because as adorable as she is, the wee Girl Scout, her uniform impeccable with a vest cluttered with badges for all sorts of heroics AND weaving, is pretty single-minded this time of year.

They are perkily persistent.

“Girl Scout cookies!” And, then, if you keep walking, “GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!” Yes, well, it wouldn’t hurt to look now, would it?

“How many boxes?” the world’s most adorable salesperson asks me. I am poised to say, “Just one” but there’s something in her eyes. Something that seems to say, “That’s a nice car you got there. Be a shame if something were to happen to it …” Would she ask me: “What’s it going to take to get you to drive off with multiple boxes of cookies TODAY?”

I think hard. “Four?”

And, then, without taking her eyes off me, she tilts her head ever so slightly toward a roundish woman cowering in the background and says:

“Mom, get some more out of the van.” She makes change quickly, thanks me and dismisses me for another “mark” hovering near a tantalizing pyramid of Caramel dLites.

This year, it’s the Lemonades that got me. I bought one box, then another and finally a third. On Saturday. Last year, it was the Thin Mints (the perennial No. 1 best-seller, you know), which I stash in the freezer for yearlong consumption. Last year, when my usual sources dried up, I actually resorted to arranging a “buy” with a mother I don’t even know on Facebook. She was a lovely woman but I couldn’t help but think that while it’s not exactly illegal, it feels a little sketchy to arrange cookie buys with strangers.

Thank heavens I just discovered the Girl Scout cookie-finder app, which, yes, I have now downloaded on my phone. Using GPS technology, you are guided to where the cookies are closest using “an improved cookie-finding algorithm.” Guess cancer cures can wait. We need our cookies, am I right?

The whole Girl Scout cookie operation is weird if you think about it.

They operate like those shifty types who unroll tarps covered in Rolex watches (fakes, I assume), talk quickly and insistently and when you go back an hour later, there’s no sign of them. It’s as if the cookie rapture has come and they are all gone.

Obviously, the cookies are tasty and at $3.50 a box in my area, pretty reasonable. But it’s the notion that you can’t get them all the time that makes them so desirable. It’s all about the excitement of the chase, the special pleasure of delayed gratification. I imagine it’s the same way some people might feel about an elusive lover who finally surrenders to your advances or, possibly, the McRib.

rivenbark.com

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