The Non-Consumer Lemonade Stand

by Katy on August 8, 2008 · 1 comment

One of my son’s favorite summer activities is the age-old lemonade stand.

He stands on the corner repeatedly yelling, “Lemonade, cold delicious lemonade, 50 cents a cup!” to anyone unfortunate enough to throw their shadow onto our street.

When my son was younger and more shy, he always wanted to have me be the one to call out to passers by. I would subvert his passivity by yelling, “mystery meat” and “leftovers!” (He quickly learned it’s better to do things for himself.)

It’s a really good location. We’re right next to two major bicycling routes. And since Portland, Oregon has more bike commuters than any other American cities, we rake in the moolah.

Let’s just say those cyclists get mighty thirsty. And they carry their wallets. (Unlike those pesky runners, who never carry money!)

What makes our stands Non-Consumer?

No waste.

We always use fiesta ware mugs from the cupboard.

So, not only are there no disposable cups to ship off to the landfill, but the customer actually has to stand and visit with you while they sip their drink.

It’s a community building activity.

We have met so many neighbors this way. People have already passed my niceness test if they stop for lemonade. As a result, I’ve had countless wonderful conversations with friends and neighbors.

Today’s lemonade stand was made special by the addition of the Seattle cousins, who have no problem yelling at strangers. The three-year-old Shirley Temple look-alike was a definite draw. 

The day’s total came to just over $15. The money was split amongst the three participants, and happily spent on modeling clay at our local art supply store. (A favorite haunt for my artsy boys.)

What does my son learn?

How to make change, how to transact courteously with strangers, how to make a few extra bucks, and then how to spend all his money. (Okay, this part isn’t ideal, but we’re working on it.)

Some day my son will have an entire franchise of lemonade stands along every Portland bike route. Then again, I don’t think I have enough mugs for that.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ed Thompson September 16, 2008 at 12:37 pm

I enjoyed your lemonade stand story…especially the “ninceness” tests.
Ed Thompson


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