Nothing beats the experience of setting up your very own sidewalk store. In my day, it was simply a cardboard sign, a table and a jug of lemonade. This week my kids took the old fashioned lemonade stand to a whole new level (and made about 10 times more than I ever did). It all started when I pulled out the bin of beads and the skein of yarn solely as a way to get the kids’ hands busy while I read their American History to them. Next thing I know they’ve got a whole slew of beaded necklaces ready to sell. Sell? To whom? “Well to whoever will buy them,” Joseph calmly explained to me. “You should set up a little store out front on the sidewalk. Maybe some neighbors will pop over and buy a necklace,” I told him and then I went about my business.Next thing I knew, the boys were all sorting through toy bins and book shelves trying to find anything they could to sell.
“Hey Mom,” William called, “these books out here…whatcha planning to do with them?”
“I was going to drop them off at Half Price Books,” I replied.
“No need. We’ll sell these for you at our store,” he gleefully responded as he added them to the pile of stuff for sale.Dax pulled out the table from the schoolroom. Joseph made price tags and signs. I frantically searched the cabinets for lemonade ingredients. No such luck. But I found some Lemon Chiffon Tea, lollipops and Hershey kisses. Their first customer arrived. It was Grandma Nury. She tried her best to bargain with them. At first they resisted despite her protests that she should get a family discount. Then she made the comment that she really liked the rosary and was willing to pay $5 (not $6) for it. The “rosary” she was referring to was never meant to be a rosary. It was simply a necklace with a crucifix on it (although for all I know, maybe it has the correct number of beads on it…no one bothered to count). The boys looked at one another and silently seemed to communicate a message between themselves. Then they innocently looked at her and said, “Mmm, yes it is quite nice and we’ll gladly take $5 for it.” Omitting the truth for the sake of $5 or shrewd business men? I still haven’t decided, but I promised to mind my own business so I stayed out of it (although later we did have a brief discussion on the ethics of being honest and true in what you sell). Their first sale was a success!
Neighbors came by…some bought their overpriced goods; others laid down 50 cents and enjoyed their cup of Lemon Chiffon Tea. With each sale, the boys grew more confident: Joseph in giving change; William in advertising their goods; Andrew in waving to the cars. In the end, Joseph handed over the following statistics to summarize their experience (I added the last one):
Items to sell: 10Change in the envelope before the store opened: $5Business owners: 3 Investor: 1 Customers: 8Items sold: 9Money made: $31Tips received: $4Hours spent minding the store: 2.5Lollipops taken from the inventory to keep the little ones busy: 2The experience of a sidewalk store: Priceless