Opinion

Young entrepreneurs run a simple operation

I had just had a nice lunch with summer salad and a tall ice tea and I was on my way home when I spotted a young boy on the sidewalk waving a sign beside a church parking lot. The neatly lettered poster advertised, “Ice tea 50 cents, cookies 50 cents.”

I like to support young entrepreneurs and whatever fundraisers they are involved with. I buy cookies from Girl Guides, apples from cadets, chocolate covered almonds from the little girl with teeth missing who rings my doorbell and I always try to have a recycling bag of bottles and cans for the Scouts or Beavers’ bottle drives. I figure it’s good karma. I have been the Dad who has been involved in these fundraisers in the past, so I know the planning and logistics that goes into one of these events.

So I pulled into the parking lot for a glass of ice tea. I noticed there were two boys, both aged about nine, dressed in summer uniforms of shorts, T-shirts, running shoes and baseball caps. There was no sophisticated food cart, just a red wagon with a cardboard box and big Thermos jug.

Both the boys smiled as I approached and the image they presented with the wagon, the signs, and the grins was worthy of a Norman Rockwell magazine cover.

“Mister, you can have a cookie for 50 cents, ice tea for 50 cents.” ”Or both for a dollar,” his partner chimed in.

I asked for a glass of ice tea and as one scrambled to get a Styrofoam cup the other readied the jug. They offered up the cup, I gave them a toonie and, always being known as a big spender, I said “Keep the change.” There was no apparent cash box and the money went into Number One’s pocket. Obviously, some sort of previous partnership agreement had been  reached concerning cash flow.

As we were in a church parking lot, I had made an assumption about where the money was going and I asked, “So what are you guys raising money for?”

They exchanged glances and shrugged. Number One said, “Nothing really, we were just so like, really bored, so we decided to do this.”

I could support that. After many summers in the fire service, I had seen other results of other bored young boys. Grass fires, brush fires, mischief and vandalism were spawned from idle hands on hot days. Selling lemonade was a great option.

I thanked them and wished them good luck and, as I drove away, I caught them waving and yelling ‘Thanks’ in my mirror.

I envied the ease of their operation. No one had required them to apply for a business licence, there was no Food Safe requirement and no written contract with the property owner to absolve liabilities or agree to a percentage of the revenue.

They had no overhead other than the wagon and the jug, which somehow I think Number Two supplied. Their inventory was probably contributed at no cost by Mom, whether she knew it or not, and they didn’t have to provide a venue access and parking/security plan to the authorities. They just wanted to sell cookies and lemonade on a hot summer day. Good for them.

We’re always in a hurry, but it only takes a minute to pause at a lemonade stand. The smiles alone are worth the stop. At least that’s what McGregor says.

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