Role Daddy: Kids With Spring Fever Need First (Lemon) Ade
It's a childhood classic, The Lemonade stand. Last weekend, the first real warm days of Spring 2010, my kids approached their mother and I, asking if they could set up a Lemonade stand. Sure, why not. So their mom got to baking and mixing up a few pitchers of Newman's Lemonade, while they stood entirely too close to her and repeatedly asked her if they were ready yet.
Then they started talking price. Their first notion was to charge exorbitant sums of money for their wares. $10 for lemonade, $20 for a brownie. After all, that way they could sell 2 cups of lemonade and 1 brownie and have a pretty substantial net profit. Thusly allowing them to polish off the rest of the lemonade and brownies themselves with their pockets fat with cash. But we talked them through their faulty understanding of Supply and Demand and ultimately settled on 25 cents per glass of lemonade, 50 cents per brownie. Very reasonable. Especially since their overhead came, not out of their piggy banks, but out of our grocery bill.
Next we set up shop. We made a table out of a piece of plywood and two saw horses. The cash till, a dirty bucket from the sandbox, sat on one side of the table. The brownies and pitcher of lemonade sat in the middle. They made large illustrative signs to lure in their customers who might be driving, walking or bicycling by. Though, like police checkpoints, they should be forced to post notice of their lemonade stand in the papers to warn people. Some might want to alter their route to avoid this lemonade stand. Lots of pressure. The second a car or pedestrian or bicyclist dared to set foot on our street, the harassment began - "LEMONAAAAAADE!!!!! AND BROWNIES!!!!! BUY SOME LEMONADE!!!! AND BROWNIES!!!!!!!" All up in everyone's grill like a Krishna at the airport.
Their kill ratio was high. Most people like a good cup of lemonade and a brownie. And everyone else is probably willing to flip them a quarter in order to shut them up.
Crosby, my 8 year old set out to stroll the neighborhood's adjacent streets to alert every resident about his lemonade stand. And he did so with one hand up his nose and the other down his pants. Somehow, they came out in droves anyway. When all was said and done they had more than 40 bucks in their till. Not a bad haul. Show me a grownup who can sell that many brownies with his hand in his pants.
I think that large corporations should take note of this phenomenon - People will buy anything from a kid. The Girl Scouts organization is definitely hip to this, but perhaps some brokerage on Wall St. should follow the lead and see what happens if they set up a first-grader to make cold calls.
Eric Ruhalter Just released his hilarious new gift book - "The KidDictionary Volume 2: More Words Parents Need To Describe Their Kids." His kids are selling it at www.TheKidDictionary.com. Go there and watch the funny videos that look inside this indispensable work of literature.