The Girl Scouts Are Coming For Your Credit Information

Jeanne Sager

girl scout cookiesQuick. When someone says Girl Scouts you say . . . cookies? Badges? Cute little berets? Credit card information?

Oh, not that last one? Welcome to 2011 and the new age of Girl Scout cookie sales. The pig-tailed set in the San Diego area has paired up with a tech firm to make it impossible to say "nah, sorry, I don't have any cash on me." All they'll have to do is whip out their iPhones and run the captured customer's credit card.

According to a press release from the tech firm, mophie:

Payment will be processed through Intuit’s GoPayment application and customers will sign a receipt via the touch screen, which will then instantly e-mail a record of the purchase to the customer.

Sounds convenient, and the leaders at the San Diego troop are singing its praises. 

Introducing mobile payments will not only help the San Diego chapter of the Girl Scouts reach their sales goals but also demonstrate how this iconic organization is committed to growing with its members and community.

Oof, growth is good. I guess. I love the idea of keeping our girls up with the trends. But I'm an old-fashioned kind of mom. I want my Thin Mints doled out by a little girl so caught up in concentrating on giving me the right change that her little tongue sticks outside the edge of her mouth. I want to have some human contact with this kid, teach her about sales, not have her swipe my card then move on to the next customer. It's too clinical. Too much about the almighty dollar above the experience.

I thought the whole point of the Girl Scout cookie sales was to teach little girls something. Where's the education here? There's no hand counting a customer's cash and handing over their change. there's no responsible handling of that cash until the day it has to be turned over to the troop leader.

I suppose it could be said that there's a responsibility learned by keeping track of the iPhones, but even that gives me pause. Because if someone gets hold of my credit information, I'm in a heap of trouble. So the idea of handing my credit card to an 8-year-old gives me the shakes. Knowing that she will sit there for the rest of the day with a little machine with my credit information on it makes me want to hide my valuables.

Girl Scouts are good kids, but all it takes is one 8-year-old who puts down the little iPhone to go grab something from her mom's car, and somebody with sticky fingers has a gold mine of information. It's not unfathomable. Adults have done worse -- how many times has your bank called to say your information has been compromised (not hacked, but compromised) and they're changing your card number?

I'm happy to see the Girl Scouts evolving, but I'll stick to a cash contribution to the Scouts this year. How about you?


Image via Yuki/Flickr

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