SEATTLE -- After seven years of selling Girl Scout cookies, Alina Guyon has mastered a few secrets of the trade.
She knows the best locations.
She knows that credit cards can drive business, even if they come with an extra processing fee.
And she knows the Girl Scout iPhone app can help customers find the nearest cookie sellers.
Guyon's troop competes with dozens of other local troops for the best locations to set up their cookie stands.
"It's very strategic," she said. "We've done most of the sites downtown, probably all of them from my troop. We keep track of how well they sell each year. The ones that sell more, we'll go back to. The ones that sell less, we'll not go back to. "
Outside the downtown Barneys, for instance, girls can sell 100 to 150 boxes every hour. Compare that to a stand outside a grocery store, where they may only sell 50.
That makes a big difference to the troops, which pocket 85 cents in profit for every $5 box of cookies.
"There's a lot of competition," said Guyon, who had to wake up at 5 a.m. once in February to reserve a location to sell cookies.
"It's pretty crazy," she said. "Everyone will be on the computer trying to get the one site they want."