Column: Like the Terminator, the cookies are back

Jan. 25, 2014 @ 08:06 AM

The Girl Scouts frown on selling cookies in front of liquor stores, tattoo parlors, pawn shops and Hooters.

Or so I’m told by a friend with a daughter in the Girl Scouts.

If at least one of those places would take up selling groceries, I’d stand a decent chance of achieving my goal of entirely avoiding Thin Mints.

That’s my goal not because I hate Thin Mints but because I am physically unable to not eat Thin Mints, so at this time of year I have to pretend that there are not Girl Scouts out trying to sell them.

For years, this was impossible because I always had a co-worker with a daughter in the Girl Scouts. Buying no boxes seemed heartless and rude. The co-worker might take it as a sign of personal dislike rather than an indication of willpower and resolve. Then, once having opened the door to buying, I lacked the strength to buy only one or two boxes, so I would buy six boxes but hide them. I always forgot about some of the boxes – for a while.

Eventually the girls aged out of the scouts.

For several years, girls behind picnic tables outside grocery stores have been my chief nemesis. If I’m lucky, someone else will be walking into the store at the same time I am, so I can pick up or slow down my pace and use the other person as a human shield and avoid making eye contact with the girls. Eye contact is the key to all sales. That’s why you never see a successful car salesman wearing dark glasses.

My wife does most of the shopping, so I can generally keep my Girl Scout-dodging to a few quick trips before the cookie-selling window closes.

But exercising willpower just keeps getting harder all the time. Now technology is bringing ever-present tools to keep temptation in front of you 24/7. Eventually, the theory seems to go, you will slip.

Case in point: When I learned last week that the Girl Scouts’ website has a “Find Cookies” feature, I couldn’t help myself. I typed in my ZIP code. It said the nearest place to buy Girl Scout cookies was 49.5 miles away, in Cornelius. I don’t know whether that means the local girls hadn’t set up yet or the website doesn’t work.

But even worse, there is a downloadable app for your smartphone that will also help you find a cookie booth. That’s all I need – a Siri-enabled enabler riding around in the car with me waiting for a weak moment, then helpfully using satellite technology to place me within six feet of a table covered with Thin Mints.

One day, probably in the not-very-distant future, the Girl Scouts will have their own delivery drones, and the cookies will appear on my doorstep before I even realized I wanted them.