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Thread: The lemonade stand and other youthful enterprises

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    The lemonade stand and other youthful enterprises

    Living on a busy road has been pretty much a thorn in our home-owning sides ever since we moved in. There are frequent delays pulling out of the driveway especially during rush hours, there's the noise which sometimes exceeds 'background' level (particularly when some jerk is laying on their horn at 11 p.m.), and of course there's the safety issues for Junior as he can't play ball in the front yard and needs a grown up to help him cross the street.

    This weekend for the very first time we discovered a silver lining. On a lark Junior announced yesterday that he wanted to start a lemonade stand. We applauded the idea and provided him with a tv tray, folding chair, pitcher full of lemonade, paper cups, cigar box (with 8 quarters to make change) and piece of cardboard/blue marker which he used to make his sign. Because I had to be somewhere at 5:00 I took note of the fact that he opened for business at 3:05 p.m. After helping him set up, I plunked myself down on the living room couch in anticipation of reading 'The Three Musketeers'. I intended to check up on him every 15 minutes or so to see how things were going but no such interval occurred. Junior barged in after two minutes and announced that he needed to make change for a $5. Ten minutes later he ran in announcing he needed more lemonade. We fortunately had another can of frozen lemonade handy, which he proceeded to go through within 15 minutes. Grandma and grandpa planned to stop by that afternoon, so we leaned on them to bring another can of lemonade, which they provided. For the brief interval that he was out of lemonade we gave him some colored ‘freeze pops’ and he proceeded to sell all five of them at $1 a piece (he was charging 50 cents for lemonade).

    It was 93 degrees outside and at 4:07 Junior announced he was “too hot and was tired of selling lemonade and wanted to watch Donald Duck instead”. We counted up his proceeds and in 62 minutes he made $23.50!! That’s roughly how much I make an hour! Based on what I observed, it seems his average customer was probably middle aged women and I'm pretty sure a healthy percentage of his sales were owing to the 'aww isn't that cute' factor. At the same time he picked up a fair amount of pedestrian and bike traffic. Coupled with the hot weather it all worked admirably in his favor.

    As a youth I recall operating a lemonade stand for one afternoon. I don’t recall exactly how much I made but I’m pretty sure you could have counted customers on one hand. When I was a little older, I used to mow a couple of the neighbors’ yards for $5 a piece which seemed like a lot of money at the time. In addition, I remember doing a couple of fundraisers: one time I sold popcorn for YMCA Indian Guides and sold magazine subscriptions (with no great success – I only got a candy bar or two as a spiff) during junior high.

    How about you, were you a Captain of Industry as a child? What were your earliest money making endeavors?

    Last edited by Maister; 16 Jul 2012 at 10:33 AM.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Funny you mention this, because my daughters have been clamoring to have a lemonade stand. We've been hesitant because our subdivision gets no drive-thru traffic and we're afraid it will be a waste of time. Maybe I'll reconsider now!
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  3. #3
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I remember trying a lemonade stand once when I was little, but living on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere (BFE quotient 100), sales weren't so good. I think it was mainly an excuse for my mom to keep me out of her hair for an afternoon.

    When I was a little older, I had friends who lived right on a very busy golf course and we would walk all the backyards in the early morning picking up loose balls and then sell them back to the golfers and we could usually make enough to take ourselves to the movies each weekend. When I was in junior high a golf course opened next to my parents house and they had a driving range on the edge closest to our property. I could usually fill a bucket or two full of range balls each week and I would take those over to my friends house to sell to passing golfers there too and those weeks we really made some good money (we tried selling them to golfers by our house but it didn't work as well).

    My best youthful enterprise was selling puppies though. We had a dog, an Alaskan Malamute, that seemed to have two litters of puppies each year for about four years straight, and each litter was about 15 or 16 puppies. They were mutts (half Malamute, half neighbor's lab or collie or something), and they were huge, but they were very nice looking dogs. There was no way that we could keep all those dogs and we had given away as many to our friends and neighbors as we could and we would still have so many left over. My mom was a pharmacist in town so my dad would drive me up to her store and drop me off an hour or so before she got off work and I would sit there with the dogs in a shopping cart on the sidewalk and sell them to folks walking past. I remember that we first tried to just give them away but that wasn't working at all so I started charging $10 and they were all gone within about 20 minutes so we upped the price to $20 on subsequent trips. I think people were suspicious of the free dogs for some reason and were more willing to pay for them than just accept a freebie.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I used to babysit for $3/hour, $20/day, $100/full weekend and used to make pretty good money at it. It helped that my best friend and I used to cover for each other with our regular families (we lived in different neighborhoods so no competition) in the event we couldn't sit. I also worked with our apartment manager/super doing the odd job here and there, during the summer I helped maintain the pool, checking chemical levels, making sure it was skimmed and vacuumed, checking that the pump and filters were good. I also used to help him turnover the vacant units getting them ready for the next tenant. That was usually good for $100-150 a month and taught me good life skills that I still use today as a construction project manager. My general contractor is always amazed at my understanding of construction material, techniques, and process.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Maister, last time I checked, your property was not zoned for transient food vending...

    I had lemonade stands (and similar sugar filled beverages), mowed lawns, raked leaves, and shoveled snow when I was a kid. But it was not until HS and College did I truly realize the wonders of capitalism. Specifically, I had a talent for waxing skis and snowboards. When the client had a lack of cash funds, food and beer were more than acceptable forms of payment. My father was surprised and proud when he helped move me out of my first dorm room and found 20 or so, unopened cases of beer in the closet. It had been a good year.

    On the other hand, I did get in trouble for selling my mom's homemade lasagna. I would drive the hour home for dinner on occasion, and my mom would make a double batch. One for the family to eat, and the other she would wrap in single serving squares and package up for me to take back (worried that I was not getting enough to eat you know). Well, a pan would have 12 to 16 servings, and at $5 per serving, it was a very lucrative deal. Until parents weekend when a friend commented on how amazing her lasagna was and he was saving up for the next time I had some available.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    I sold The Grit door to door for about a month. I also ran the lawncare part of my dad's part time home repair business. Outside of these, I"ve been a wage slave since age 15.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    I see more and more GROWN ADULTS runnign lemonaide stands. Sad.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Growing up Ghetto we had Kool-Aid stands instead of lemonade stands.

    Keeping with that theme, way to pimp out your kid maister for the allmighty dollar. The sooner the kid knows how to make the chedda' the less his college loans will be!

    The worst paying kidde job I had was delivering a free newspaper once a week to about 500 houses for $2 a week. The newspapers were dropped off at the house but I spent the night before rolling them up so I could toss them onto porches. Learned the value of making a buck though.... it was the hard way. Had to save up for two months to get those suede gym shoes (it was the 1970's), then another ten months for the bass guitar. My parents were sure happy that I never got an amp until I was in college!

    The next kiddie job I had I was 12 and caddied until I was about 15 and could get a better gig. I was in great shape back then as you would be surprised at what walking several miles a day with 50 pounds strapped to your back would do! I would spend that money on pizza, beer, amusement parks, and to cover my portion of high school tuition. I still can recall going to college and how my out of pocket expenses on school actually dropped (even though I had no fin aid, dad was too proud to fill out the paperwork).
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  9. #9
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Maister, last time I checked, your property was not zoned for transient food vending...
    Oh yeah, well, um, our special land use permit and uh, use variance applications are both in the mail and, um, we got a call in to the County Health inspector...it's just that he hasn't stopped by yet....
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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