Viewpoint

Girl Scout cookies become digital tagalongs

From an editorial Friday in the Dallas Morning News:

The most endearing part of buying Girl Scout cookies is that moment a youngster looks you in the eye, manages a smile and musters the courage to make the sales pitch.

Who could say no?

“I already bought some” feels like such a lame excuse. There’s always room in the freezer for another box of Thin Mints, right?

The exception might be when the gaggle of girls in the grocery store lobby pops the question in unison. Unfair? A bit. Still, it’s Americana, and we’d rather have the little darlings there than not.

It’s with this sense of sentimentality that we heard the news about sales of Girl Scout cookies going online. Will it obliterate the personal touch? Will the appification of America separate the generations further?

Here’s hoping the answer is “no” to both. The truth is, there’s more to be gained by allowing young entrepreneuers to hone sales and marketing skills with the most modern tools. It would be a weird message to forbid them from competing in the mushrooming e-commerce world. They know that’s where fortunes are made, and they might as well get started early.

You can schedule a doctor or barber house call with an app. You can order delivery of “prescription” eyeglasses or made-to-order pizza. You can order a new car without talking to a human being. You can shop for a mate.

Now Do-si-dos will be just a click away, as they should be. To peddle them, the Girls Scouts will be able to customize their own sales sites on the organization’s new “Digital Cookie” platform. Lucky buyers may even get an “evite” directing them to a girl’s secure site.

Actually, the Girl Scouts may have had little choice in putting cookie sales online. The Internet is drunk with secondary market sellers who buy up boxes of cookies in season and resell them later to customers who can’t tolerate Thin Mint withdrawal pangs in the fall.

Take a look at Amazon or eBay, among other sites. Could you believe an asking price of $39.99 for a “new” box of Tagalongs? Just how old are those cookies, and just where have they been – in some moldy Bosnian warehouse? Yeeech!

The Girl Scouts shouldn’t be content to compete with their own stale products.

We hope the digital option doesn’t mean that Girl Scouts will pull back on door-to-door sales or grocery store gaggles.

That’s a great way for neighbors to stay in touch in our compartmentalized world. The Scouts might as well spread their evites that way, too. But please, they should never completely do away with cookie delivery by the Scouts themselves.

It would be an app too far if Thin Mints showed up via an Uber driver.

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