Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Buyer Beware

One day last week, my boy came home from an afternoon play date with his pockets full of quarters. He explained that he and his friend had sold the fruit from her orange tree! He told me that one of the neighbors was so lucky that they happened to be selling oranges; she needed some for a recipe. She happily paid their 4-for-a-buck swindle asking price.

My boy asked if we had anything growing on trees at our house that we could sell. I reminded him about the avocado plantation on the back 40.

Later that evening, my children did this:

Here, let's take a closer look:

They left all of these explicit instructions because this was a self-service fan stand. They set it up before bed that night, expecting heavy midnight foot traffic on our cul-de-sac.

Isn't that adorable and entrepreneurial?

They left no stone unturned:

a little advertising,

a system for payment,

an attractive display,

polite gratitute...

But wait a minute, what does that sign on the bottom say?

Cynical little shits, aren't they?

After the disappointment of slow sales from the graveyard shift, they set the whole thing up again in the morning before we left for school.

As we were backing out of the driveway (carefully), my boy asked me if they had spelled everything right on the signs.
I pointed out the "where" instead of "we're".

He said: "Well, now people will know we really are kids."

Ya think?

Of course, they did not sell a single fan. Part of me wanted to sneak out there and put money in the bucket, just like I'd done when they had an impromtu art sale on their bedroom doors one time. But where is the lesson in that? They need to learn that if they want to earn money, they have to consider things like product quality and target markets.

Those fans are crap!

I see a lemonade stand or two in our future this summer, maybe even a garage sale.

I'm glad I did not cave on this valuable lesson.

Crap doesn't sell.

But there was that time in the mid 70s when Megan Cronin and I made perfume out of magnolia petals and sold it door to door for 2 cents a jar. Don't tell my kids, but if you get the marketing right, sometimes crap does sell! Just ask my chillow.


Anonymous said...

Crap? Yes, perhaps, but the location was bad too. Cul-de-sacs are rough.

Perhaps they should come over to Chatsworth before it's sold and they can see if that prime busy corner spot could boost their sales. (But please warn them that I am hardly EVER hot, so will not be interested in one of their crappy fans! :-)

Anonymous said...

I love the tootsie-toes sticking out of the bottom of the table. So freaking cute.

Your boy is always looking to make a buck; I love that about him. And I plan to grasp firmly onto those coattails of his...

Anonymous said...

beth, that is a fine idea! Do you by chance have any fruit bearing trees?!

ellie, I love that you noticed the tootsies. I thought there were cute bits of both of my kids there for the noticing...

Anonymous said...

Well of course I noticed the pink almost-gut too.

Unknown said...

OMGosh, this has me cracking up. "We're just kids!"

Anonymous said...

I know! Because usually it's adults disguised as kids who sell crap paper fans for 75 cents.

Anonymous said...

Did your boy inherit his shim sham talent from his mommy?

Now I feel so terrible! I used to take talcum powder and put a little oil in it and my mom would WEAR it and say "Do you have any MORE?" Oh lordy. I believed her!

Rita said...

Oh, God, that post was hilarious. I really discourage entrepreneurism in my kids. I just don't have the patience for it anymore. Alex tried the fan business and it went bust after two hours. Lemonade makes a big mess (after they get tired of sitting out in the sun, the cups end up blown all over the neighborhood and ants congregate on the spilled goods). Katie "laminated" crayon-drawn bookmarks for a price that was higher than Border's has the audacity to charge. There was the time they tried to go door to door selling rocks to my parents' elderly neighbors in Tucson (for five bucks a pop).

You know, after years of faking enthusiasm for their creativity, and turning things into financial lessons, you're almost like OK, here, I'll pay you to not set up a stand, and that's the best business deal around.

Anonymous said...

haha, I love it.