Girl Scout Cookies Go High Tech

It’s almost that time of year again, when little girls dressed in green start to peddle their boxes of cookies. There was a time when Girl Scouts would go from door to door selling their Tagalongs, Thin Mints, and Samoas. Somewhere along the way, someone got wise and sent their parents off to work with boxes in tow to pawn off on their co-workers. And if you were able to avoid the interoffice sales of the snack treats, you were then faced with small groups of Scouts setting up camp in front of your local grocery store. No matter where you go, they will find you. Even on the internet.

For the second year in a row, Girl Scout cookies will be available online. The Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. had initially held off of because of internet safety concerns. In 2015, about 2.5 million boxes of cookies were sold online. That sounds like a lot, but it accounts for only a fraction of the total 194 million boxes sold overall. To help with the cause, both Visa and Dell have invested $3 million to update the digital presence. The new platform will include programs and games, not for buying customers, but for Scouts.

Ellen Richey, vice chairwoman of risk and public policy at Visa, told the New York Times, “It’s the perfect marriage between technology and a premier leadership program that teaches digital, social and money skills to girls.” In addition to spurring interest in the technology industry, Visa hopes that the new features will attract more of the Scouts to sell more cookies.

“Girl Scouts is creating the next set of entrepreneurs. We want to help equip the work force of tomorrow,” says Trisha Thompson, the vice president for corporate responsibility for Dell. “If you catch girls young enough, you can spark the fire.”

But not everyone in the organization is thrilled with the recent changes and additions to the program. Some are questioning if there should be such a strong emphasis on financial literacy, but the organization’s chief executive, Anna Maria Chavez, says that technology is essential to the Girl Scouts’ future.

“We are doubling down on technology. More digital features will encourage more girls to participate in online cookie sales, and we are introducing online tools to make it easier and faster to recruit scouts and adults, including simplifying the process to become a Girl Scout.”

Still, some girls are voicing their opinions loudly, stating that they would like to focus more on activities like camping and climbing, according to the New York Times. Of course, cookie sales amount to about $800 million each year, which goes toward troop activities and projects. That’s just how the cookie crumbles.

So, getting your cookie fix should be easier than ever, but it’s not. First, Girl Scout cookies are only available for a limited time each year, and the timing varies from state to state. To find out when and where you can purchase cookies, you can download the Cookie Finder app that was developed by Dell. The app actually locates where troops are selling their cookies. However, according to the International Business News, not every Girl Scout council is featured on the app (you can find out which ones do by visiting the Girl Scouts website.)

It gets complicated to purchase cookies online, too. You have to be invited by a local Girl Scout to actually use the website. However, once you are there, you can purchase the cookies by the box with a credit card and have them shipped to you. “In true Girl Scout style, the girls initiate the cookie sale, whether online, via email, or in person at the cookie booth with their mobile app,” says the official Girl Scout website.

Cookie flavors and names change from time to time. Here are the cookies that will be offered this year.

  • Thin Mints
  • Caramel deLites (aka Samoas)
  • Peanut Butter Patties or Tagalongs
  • Shortbread (aka Trefoils)
  • Do-si-dos/Peanut Butter Sandwich
  • Cranberry Citrus Crisps
  • Lemonades
  • Savannah Smiles
  • Thanks-A-Lot
  • Toffee-tastic (gluten-free)
  • Trios (gluten-free)
  • Rah-Rah Raisin.

[Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images]