An Old Fashioned Capitalist Summer

My kids are mostly free range in the summer. Other than two weeks in sleepover camp for the older two, they do basically nothing all summer long – well, actually they do quite a bit – but adults have little to do with it. Today, my 9 y.o. and her friend put together a lemonade stand. Each cup was “$.50.” However, the sign had very small writing in parentheses in the bottom corner saying “Or $.25 if you prefer.” They hoped that no one would notice the fine print in the bottom corner. They were equipped with my crystal pitcher (which I reluctantly donated b/c my daughter wanted a “classy operation”) and the usual cups and napkins.

However, this was no regular lemonade stand. After all, this is the 21st century. I found this out when I came by to do a surprise Health Department inspection.This particular lemonade stand was equipped with pop radio music which they were switching to classical when older people walked by. It also was equipped with an old laptop. Anyone who bought lemonade could surf the internet for five minutes, much like at an Internet cafe. They tried to drag out a small TV that we have in a closet, but it was broken.

The girls’ 5 year old brothers then happened along and bargained their way into this enterprise. I could hear some heated conversation from the house so I know that the girls drove a hard bargain. For a significant commission… (I think that they each were paid a quarter), the boys were hired as sales staff. The foursome decided to take their operation on the road so they loaded it all onto a wagon (except the laptop) and divided up duties. My 9 y.o. was the wagon puller, her friend was the bell ringer, one boy was the sign holder and the last boy was the “LEMONADE!!!!!” yeller. The sign holder was very unhappy with his job when they left so I predicted that he would either go union or negotiate a promotion.

They took a route that went by our neighborhood community garden where I imagine that they made some good sales since there was a women’s gardening class there today. About an hour or so after they left, I got a call from the mother of the other two kids who said that they had arrived at her house hot, sweaty, completely out of lemonade and $15 richer. She said from what she saw as they came up the driveway, both boys had become “LEMONADE!” yellers and the sign was torn up and laying in the wagon. I can only assume that a labor revolt happened along the way – instigated by the oppressed sign holder. Fortunately, my crystal pitcher was still in tact.

Gotta love summer!

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2 Responses to An Old Fashioned Capitalist Summer

  1. Wendy W says:


    Knowing where to find your potential customers is key to a successful business! My sister and I once set up a lemonade stand when the city was doing street repairs, and we made a killing off those construction workers on a 90+ summer day.

  2. Mammajenni says:

    Great story – thanks for sharing 🙂