June 21, 2022
I never carry cash, but I felt guiltier than usual about it the other day when I walked past dueling lemonade stands. The two tables were set up across from each other on a silent back street. If they were relying on foot traffic, I would be their only visitor for a while.
As I pondered what to do, I was approached by the advance guard. A boy rode up to me on his bike from the stand on the south side of the street. He asked if I wanted some lemonade. “How much is it?” I replied, thinking there might be a neglected quarter in my wallet. But a cup of lemonade runs for a dollar these days – inflation, y’know.
When I told him I didn’t have a dollar, the enterprising kid said, “Or it’s 75 cents.” I informed him that I didn’t have that either, but that I would come back later with the money. He returned to the stand and relayed this information to his family. Not wanting to leave anybody out, I said something similar to the girl on the north side of the street.
Now I had a decision to make. Dinnertime was coming on. If I stayed home much longer, I’d be breaking the promise I had made to those kids. This might convey the wrong lesson about adults and honesty. On the other hand, going back might teach them to trust people too willingly. It was a complicated question (the complications, of course, all stemming from within myself).
In the end, I did go back. The northern stand sold me a chocolate chip cookie, but the other family had packed up and gone inside. I guess that’s just how life works sometimes. What I can say, as a former kid myself, is that the young entrepreneurs won’t remember anything their customers did or said. They’ll remember waking up with the need to have a lemonade stand, sitting outside on a beautiful day with their siblings or on their own, and eating and drinking away their profits while just being kids.