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Lessons from the lemonade stand

Submitted by on Wednesday, 16 March 2011 2 Comments

It was the kind of capitalism that capitalists would frown on because, while it didn’t take a village, it did require three sets of siblings.

First came the idea, which actually was stolen from another set of siblings who had opened the neighborhood’s first lemonade stand of the season over the weekend. It kind of reminded me of the company that now is charging $1,500 for a formerly $10 medication to prevent premature births, but at least the second folks on the scene didn’t jack up the price in this case.

Next came the capital facilities – a card table from two sisters’ garage.

Then came the raw materials – lemonade mix from two other sisters’ kitchen plus a bowl of leftover candy that I’d been dying to get rid of anyway.

Finally, the intermediate goods. Or maybe it was excess inventory. “Ask your mom see if she has any cups,” a sister told Big Guy. “She always has way too much leftover party stuff.”

Necessary supplies procured, they moved on to division of labor. The girls with the table set up the physical plant, while the other sisters were in charge of production. Big Guy and Boots became the marketing department, with Boots making a sign and Big Guy blasting a sales pitch people probably heard on the other side of the post.

“Ice cold le-MON-ade! Get your ice cold le-MON-ade!” he called. Luckily, despite a reminder that went out recently that unapproved sales are forbidden on post, nobody went all Philadelphia on them and called the MPs. And no one questioned whether the FTC should look into his blatantly false advertising – the lemonade was long past icy cold.

In a matter of hours, it as all over and the proceeds were divided. It came to $2 per business person, with Boots being shorted 12 cents. He still falls for the appeal of all those coins, though he probably won’t by the end of the summer.

Notice I said “proceeds” and not “profits.” They still haven’t received our bills for the cups and lemonade. We could always consider those donations but, then, that could be considered state interference in private enterprise. On the other hand, the businesspeople might well claim it’s an unwarranted and excessive tax.

Capitalism or socialism? You make the call.

Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Genevieve said:

    LOL! I loved how you weaved recent news and humor into this post. I can see Big Guy, or rather hear him, out there now.

  • Debra said:

    I amazed that you couldn’t hear him for real. You were, after all, within a couple of hundred miles of him at the time!