Tom v. the Lemonade Stand

Lemonade StandI recently became aware of a Hulu show called Dan Vs. and have been rapidly making my way through the episodes. Today I happened upon the Dan Vs. The Lemonade Stand Gang and it reminded me of an incident that happened last summer.

I live in a neighborhood that is within walking distance of several grocery stores, my gym, a large number of nice restaurants, and a little park. On weekends I often walk to the grocery store or a restaurant for lunch and it was on one of these occasions that I was beset by the Lemonade Stand. On my way into Clayton I pass a church. While on the trip I noted a pair of young boys with a lemonade stand setup on the church lawn. Now I’m an atheist, it’s true, but I’m also a supporter of the entrepreneurial spirit and headed over to the stand with a smile on my face.

I plunked my dollar down and watched in horror as the boys pulled out, from its strategically hidden spot under the table, a two-liter jug of Country Time Lemonade. I have nothing against Country Time. I admit that I’m not a fan of the two-liter jug but mostly because I don’t drink soda. Next they half-filled a tiny plastic cup with the lemonade and handed it to me. No ice.

I walked right by them on the way back.

It’s not an important incident in my life. The dollar lost on a warm lemonade is not going to change my lifestyle but the moment sticks with me. Every time I see kids at a lemonade stand I think about that incident. I haven’t purchased lemonade from a stand since that day. I’m not sure I’ll ever purchase from a stand again. Maybe that’s my fault. Maybe I shouldn’t judge all children and all lemonade stands by the one instance, but I do.

Let’s not fool ourselves, that lemonade stand could well become a multinational corporation based on their business practices. They might fund the local Alderman campaign and have all the other lemonade stands ruled illegal. They might have the legislature pass a law ostensibly for public safety saying we must all purchase lemonade three times a day. They could be watching me right now! Reading these words with some sort of lemonade spy device. They might send the police to come and arrest me! Soon we will all be forced by to drink government mandated lemonade from the owners of that stand!

On the other hand, their parents could tell them what they were doing was wrong. They could raise kids that understand the difference between ripping people off and making money by providing a good product at a fair price.

I might be overreacting a tiny little bit here but I do think it’s symptomatic of our society and a business model based primarily on growth. And, gosh darn it, I’m still mad about that warm, half-filled, cynical cup of lemonade. I want my dollar back!

What would you do if you found out your children were involved in that sort of a lemonade stand operation?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Sword of Water (It’s good, it’s priced reasonable at $2.99, and it’s 300+ pages of rip-roaring fun)
Next Release: The Spear of the Hunt

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