This lemonade stand phenomenon might just bankrupt me. I don't know if it's just that we live in the perfect neighborhood or if it's the entrepreneurial kiddie version of gracious, Southern entertaining genes but lemonade stands seem to spring up every few days around here. I have taken to not giving up my change at stores so I have some on hand for the ubiquitous 50 cent pure sugar lemonades I have to purchase on my trips in or out of the neighborhood. With what I've spent on single, sticky drinks so far, I could have bought stock in Country Time and seen a return on my investment (ok, maybe not a return in this economy but it would seem to be a good choice in my long-term stock portfolio given the sheer amount being bought here for purposes of the lemonade stand).
Why might you ask, am I forking over money each and every time I pass a stand? Well, with three children of my own, there's a darn good chance that one of the three is involved in the small business opportunity and if I don't support friends and family, who will? Furthermore, it keeps them out of my hair since school's out. Besides, how many hours can you really spend at the pool before you have second degree burns? According to W., who did burn himself this badly already this year, that number is somewhat under six hours a day. Given that we currently have more than 12 hours of sunlight, this leaves more than 6 hours during which time we should be avoiding the pool. Besides, paying my kids for lemonade is far less costly mentally than plunking them in front of the tv for 6 or more hours a day.
I have enjoyed hearing about all the things that the money earned at these stands will finance. Some have been charity events. Two of my three children helped at the stand benefiting the Humane Society (total donation made: somewhere in the neighborhood of $30). All three of my children helped with the stand that benefited the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society when I was fundraising for my marathon last year. There have been other cancer fundraisers as well.
Today's lemonade stand was something else entirely though. It was one straight out of my childhood: strictly benefiting the children running it. And yes, one of my greedy, little, capitalist offspring was involved. Actually, it was designed to help fund the building of a clubhouse (will believe that when I see it) and the greedy one was sucked into service at the stand by the promise that he will be a charter member. This is all the more appealing because T. is only 7 and the other boys are 11 and 12. T. would do just about anything he can physically pull off in order to be included with the older boys. I figure it's a fair trade though as the older boys get appealingly cute slave labor, which is especially good when you are trying to sell something, and then are saddled with his frank, extremely chatty, and literal self whenever they play outside forever hereafter. Plus it kept him busy and the tv off. Win, win. Totally win.
Even better, by the time I drove home (after promising to buy lemonade on the return trip since I was running late to take R. and another little dancer to lunch between their rehearsals), they had run out of lemonade and I was spared a syrupy sweet drink, at least for today.