Why Going Online Could Cause Girl Scouts' Values to Crumble

It's that time of year again.

No, not awards season. I'm not referring to the Golden Globes, the Grammys, or the Oscars.

What I'm talking about is greater than all awards shows combined. What I'm talking about is greater than the million dollar dresses, the shiny trophies, and the inevitable Kanye West controversies.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Girl Scout cookies have arrived. It's the time of the year where it's acceptable to eat an entire box of samoas in one sitting. It's the time of year where you can pop thin mints like they're breath mints. It's the time of the year where you can lie to yourself and pretend that trefoils are kind of healthy.

As a college student, this time of year is bittersweet. Really, the only way I can acquire Girl Scout cookies is by begging my parents to send a box (or five) in a care package. My parents, the angels that they are, sent me four boxes. I demolished them in less than a week.

As I sat in my bed picking crumbs from tagalongs out of the sheets, I started to think: where can I blow this month's food allowance on Girl Scout cookies? I pulled out my laptop and researched a little bit. I was astounded at what I found.

This year, the Girl Scouts of the USA have gone digital. Girl Scouts can now control all aspects of cookie sales completely online. Young Scouts have the ability to track orders, handle money, and communicate with buyers through a digital platform. In hindsight, it gives girls the experience of managing and running their own companies. But to what cost?

While I think it's so important to be able to connect with technology and social media in this day and age, I have mixed feelings about Girl Scouts selling cookies online. As a former Girl Scout, I remember selling cookies to be a hectic but rewarding experience. I remember clumping from door-to-door with my mom or dad, trying to sell as many cookies as possible. Even though I was nowhere close to being the top seller in my troop, the experience as a whole was worthwhile. I was a shy kid; even now I find it hard to go out of my comfort zone and talk to strangers.

Giving young girls the opportunity to develop face-to-face contact and interact in a business environment is something the Girl Scouts have always valued. Although the Scouts claim that girls will still go door-to-door to sell cookies, I have my reservations. Who would choose to trudge through the snow and freezing temperatures to sell cookies when the same task can be accomplished from the warmth of a home? Nowadays technological skills are valued so greatly in our society. Young Girl Scouts will learn the values of digital proficiency but forget the importance of human interaction.

Despite my hesitancy to fully accept the digital cookie, the system the Girl Scouts of the USA have developed is remarkable. Here's how it works: in order to buy cookies from a Girl Scout, she must invite you personally. Without this invitation, you can't access her online profile or contact her. In addition, girls under the age of 13 are completely anonymous on their profiles. These security measures are implanted to not only keep young girls safe online but also teach them about the importance of being secure in the virtual world.

Selling Girl Scout cookies online has its pros and cons. I guess at the end of the day Girl Scouts have to choose what is the most important. Is the convenience and anonymity of online sales more important than the face-to-face human connection that the Girl Scouts have valued since 1912? As long as I get my box(es) of samoas to hoard, I won't complain. Just food for thought.