Girl Scouts come through: Find your cookies in a zip

Do the Girl Scouts have a merit badge for “Best Guilty Pleasure Enabler Ever”? If so, give it to whichever genius came up with the idea for the digital “Girl Scout Cookie Locator.”

That’s right, Atlanta. The days of fretting over where your next Thin Mint is coming from are officially over. The Girl Scouts of the USA — who clearly know which side their Trefoils shortbread is buttered on — have an awesome “Find Cookies” locator on their website (www.girlscouts.org). There’s also a Girl Scout Cookie Finder app you can get for free in the App Store and on Google Play.

And hot from the proverbial oven is an Atlanta-specific site, ShowMeTheCookies.com, which the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Inc. believes is a first of its kind for a local council.

It’s all aimed at helping us poor deprived folks who don’t get Scouts knocking on our front doors — or are too embarrassed to order a whole case of Do-si-dos in the office from someone’s parent — find spots where troops have set up temporary cookie-selling booths.

“That’s the biggest question we get over the course of a selling season,” said Leslie Gilliam, communications manager of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Inc., which covers 34 counties: “‘If I don’t know a Girl Scout, how do I find cookies without setting up camp in front of my local grocery store?’”

“Booth season” officially kicks off here on Monday (a few spots will have booths Sunday) and runs about a month. It’s a classic, cookie-crunching case of supply and demand: Last year, more than 5,000 booths here were listed in the finder, where you type in a ZIP code and get sortable results. Meanwhile, there were a whopping 45,000 website searches and 35,250 app searches for booth sales here in 2015.

ShowMeTheCookies.com (which just gave basic cookie info before its new mission) should boost those numbers even more. Along with the booth finder, a second feature lets cookie buyers connect to local Scouts’ online stores. Simply click on a desired location on the “Digital Cookie Map” and it brings up a link to a girl’s cookie website where you can place an order.

“The ‘order from a girl’ plug-in is unique to our council,” Gilliam said about the feature, which only provides a girl’s first name and general information on her troop’s plan for the money raised. “While girls nationwide can take digital orders from friends and family, our council is allowing a safe, secure method for customers who do not know a Girl Scout or can’t go to a booth sale to order cookies online and have them shipped.”

Last year, the Greater Atlanta council was tops in the nation for digital cookie sales. And it’s easy to see why, when you read of one troop’s plans to use the money “hopefully to help animals” and another’s to go to camp for the first time.

“There’s more going on than you might realize,” Gilliam said. “That girl who bravely approached you about buying cookies is learning real skills like goal setting, money management and people skills.”

Teaching ‘em valuable skills. If anyone asks, it’s the only reason you’ve bookmarked a cookie locator and started laying in a year’s supply of Thin Mints.

Meanwhile, if you feel like doing something more than just gobbling cookies straight out of the box, check out this earlier AJC story featuring all sorts of fab recipes to make with Samoas, Do-si-dos and more.

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