It all starts with a polite knock on the door.
There stands a duo of sweet, smiling Scouts wrapped in meritorious green uniforms.
The next thing you know, you're reaching into your wallet to deposit $3.50, or many multiples of that, into the small hands of one of Carson City's Girl Scouts. They have 30,000 boxes of carb-licious, sugar-saturated Thin Mints, Caramel Delites and peanut butter sandwiches. And somebody has to eat them.
Two of those smiling faces are Kathleen Bryant, 12, and her best friend, Melissa James, 11. Kathleen has crisp blue eyes and a crop of wavy brown hair. Melissa has a blond bob and a silver-toned smile that she'll reveal on the doorstep of every house in her neighborhood. She has a lofty goal of selling 550 boxes by the end of March, the official cookie-pushing deadline.
Melissa is confident she'll meet that goal again, considering that's how many boxes she sold last year. And she's got motivation: sell boxes of cookies and go to Hawaii with Troop 409.
Kathleen, a Carson Middle School student, spouted Girl Scout cookie wisdom while chasing her friend around 7-foot towers of cookie cases stacked inside the James' garage.
"The most original ones are the shortbread," she said. "But the Thin Mints and Caramel Delights are the best tasting and most appealing. They sell the most."
Her Troop 164 seeks to raise enough money to go to Six Flags or Wild Waters in Las Vegas.
But life as a Girl Scout isn't all about becoming a top seller.
Melissa said she started scouting "to sell Girl Scout cookies. In Brownies, I wanted to be a Girl Scout so that I could play with knives - I mean carving stuff."
So far she's only carved happy faces into a stick.
This year, cookie buyers will notice two major changes: the prices and some of the names. Girl Scout cookies increased by 50 cents in Nevada to $3.50. In California, the same box of cookies costs $4.25.
Piñatas (not Kathleen's favorite) are iced berry piñatas. Other cookie names change by region and bakers: Samoas to Caramel Delites, peanut butter sandwiches to Savannas, shortbread to Trefoils.
"We have 2,565 cases; I memorized that number," said Melissa.
"And 12 in each case," added Kathleen.
"That's 30,780 boxes," said Melissa's mother, Christie James, who is coordinating cookie distribution day out of the family's house.
Girl Scout cookie-booth sales begin today in front of all groceries and many large retail stores, said Troop 409 leader James.
To her, the boxes of cookies are little pieces of Americana. Last year, Troop 409 raised about $700. Money raised sends Scouts to camp and on other troop adventures.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.
Girl Scout cookie wisdom
• Girl Scouts USA has six of its cookies on the list of top 15 cookies in the country
• Twenty-five percent of all cookies sold are Thin Mints
Girl Scout. The mints are ranked as the third-highest-grossing cookie, behind Oreos and Chips Ahoy!
• Thin Mints are only sold three months out of the year
For information on each cookie, go to www.girlscoutcookiesabc.com.