Yard Sales and Lemonade Stands

My youngest woke me up this morning, at the snooze button hour of 6:30, by shaking his piggy bank over my slumbering head.  “Mommy, Mommy, I need a quarter.” he pleaded.  “What do you need a quarter for?” I asked.  “I need a quarter.” he repeated shaking the little piggy.  Enter older brother with a sly grin on his face; so I asked him.  “He needs a quarter so he can sit on my bed.” he informs me.  I look at the younger one, “Are you sure you want to pay your brother to sit on his bed when you have your own?”  “Yes, Yes!”  He is jumping up and down while his older brother is realizing he has hit pay day.  I open the piggy bank and fish out a quarter and hand it to #2 who hands it to #1.  The markets haven’t officially opened this morning but capitalism is underway at our house.

My oldest one has a pretty good grasp on money.  Last year he opened up a lemonade stand at the end of our driveway.  He got the idea from watching an episode of “Max and Ruby”.  Together we set up the puppet theater and he wrote the words “Lemonade 25c” in his squiggly handwriting.  Armed with a pitcher of Country Time lemonade he sat at the end of the driveway for two hours.  To my surprise, the kid earned more than minimum wage: fourteen dollars!  He was thrilled.  I was shocked.    The lemonade stand reopened a few more times that summer. Although not quite as lucrative as the first time, each time was successful.  Thank you generous neighbors for your patronage!


With the onset of a gorgeous spring, the lemonade stand re-opened.  As my son set up, I tried my best to give him some seed money so he could make change for his customers.  He refused to take it.  I patiently showed him how four quarters equal one dollar and pretended to be a customer paying one dollar.  He was adamant that he did not need change.  I finally succumbed thinking that the concept of money and giving change might be a bit advanced at this age.  But then I watched him pour a 25c glass of lemonade to his first customer and put the dollar bill in his cash box.  I realized this little entrepreneur had figured it out:  If you don’t have change, you can’t make change.

Later that night:  “I have more money than you do Mommy and Daddy,” our lemonade salesman of the year announces.  “Oh yeah, how do you figure?”  “It’s easy, you spend your money all the time but I don’t.  I’m saving mine so I must have more than you do.”

Would you still have more money than I do if you gave your customers the correct change?

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