5.10.2006

The Original Lemonade Stand

Ever since I was a child, I've had an entrepreneurial streak in me. I've been known to create grand schemes down to the last minute detail. The problem is that I'm also cursed with this annoying optimism that all of my ideas are always going to come to fruition in just the way that I picture them. Sometimes, they don't.

My first venture into the capitalistic market was the "Lemonade Stand." I know I was only 4 or 5 years old (because it was in our 'old house') and I think I got the idea from Sesame Street. I watched Betty Lou and Grover set up a lemonade stand and rake in the dough as all of their friends from Sesame Street and beyond stopped at the stand to quench their thirst from the scorching sun. I knew I could totally do that.

I convinced my mom to help me make a pitcher of Kool-Aid (we didn't have lemonade, but that was okay, since I preferred grape Kool-Aid over lemonade any day) and carry a small end table outside our house and up to the sidewalk. I got a little change purse and stocked it full of quarters in case anybody didn't have exact change. I made a little sign to advertise, stuck it on the front of my table, and sat... and sat... and sat.

My first customer was my mom. She bought a cup of the Kool-Aid (that she had provided) and then sat on the porch with a book, watching me from a distrance. It seemed that there weren't a lot of people out of the streets that day (probably too hot) and the cars that did drive by weren't interested in stopping for a refreshment. My dad got home from work and he also bought a drink. He paid with a dollar and let me keep the change. I could tell that things were looking up now.

I didn't sell any other lemonade that day. But, for me, I had a net gain of $1.25. It was a start.

Later, once we moved to the 'new house,' my neighbor friend, Sara, and I tried to have a car wash. We got all of our materials ready: water, soap, towels, posters... We didn't have much business, though. It probably didn't help that we were holding our car wash in my driveway, in a court, in a subdivision, in the suburbs of the Midwest. Not a lot of traffic, you know? Our bikes sure were shiny, though.

Probably my most ambitious project was when I was in fifth grade. Another neighborhood friend and I decided that we wanted to hold a carnival. So, in order to raise funds for the event, we held a garage sale and earned about $75. Our mothers told us to save ourselves the trouble and just split the money from the garage sale. We would hear nothing of it.


We planned and organized all the booths that we would need for the event. We purchased tickets and concessions and prizes. We rounded up the other kids around the neighborhood and drafted them into service to help run the different games. We rode our bikes far and wide to put up signs advertising the fair.

The carnival ended up being a huge success. All the kids from the neighborhood showed up. We binged on popcorn and soda and gave away all the prizes. However, we gave away most of the tickets and ultimately didn't profit from the event. Our investment was not high-yielding, to say the least. We probably should've heeded our mothers' advice and kept the cash from the garage sale. But, the garage sale wasn't nearly as fun as the carnival.


As summer starts to roll around, I know that there will be kids waiting patiently at lemonade stands for a customer to stop by. I always stop. I've pulled u-turns to go back to lemonade stands and dug through the abyss of my car searching for change to pay for a cup of lemonade from those kids. But, I always do it. And, I'll tell you what. Watching those kids scurry around to pour a cup and trying to count out the correct change is almost just as fun as setting up the Lemonade Stand for the first time.

7 comments:

Dave Morris said...

You are so right.

Your car IS an abyss.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

What a sweet, sentimental post. How nice your mom was to patronize your stand.

Thanks a million for the link!

Dave Morris said...

"Watching those kids scurry..."

That is so true. I remember helping my friend Nan with her lemonade stand when I was a kid. Like yours, there wasn't much activity beyond parents... but it was kind of fun when someone DID come by. We'd stand up, brush ourselves off, tense up a little. I remember being nervous, even though it wasn't my stand.

Blogarita said...

I try to buy stuff from the kids who have refreshments at their parents garage sales. You can tell sometimes it makes their day...which makes my day.

BTW, thanks for the link...I blogrolled you back.

Violet said...

Dave: Whatever, whatever, I do what I want.

LBB: You're welcome. I've liked reading your blog for a while now.

Dave: And I think it is cute that you still put up a lemonade stand on your driveway so you can try and hit on all the grandmothers that live in your neighborhood.

Blogarita: You're so right about it making their day. Back atchya on the link.

Diana said...

I remember those days of having my own kool-aid stand. They were so much fun, even if you didn't make any money.

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