Keep the Change

As a kid, we’ve all sold something.  Today, I challenge you to think about and remember the first thing that you ever sold to someone who was not your mother.  Part of what is engrained into many American memories is the iconic lemonade stand.  For others, it may have been girl scout cookies or candy bars that we sold door to door.  Today, let’s try remember what it was and how it made you feel.

Personally, I remember selling lemonade at a stand in front of the house we grew up in.  It was a new development on the Western end of the suburb we lived in.  As a matter of fact, the house that we lived in had only been standing for about 6-7 years by the time we moved in.  There were houses lined down the street and around the corner, but beyond that corner was a whole new world for a 6-year old boy.

Around the corner, there were multiple construction sites.  On a few of them, the shells of the houses had been built.  On other sites, the basement had been dug and the foundation was being built.  As a kid in the summertime, it was a flurry of activity back there.  There were always trucks hauling equipment and building materials back there.   The guys hauling the material were different from my dad.


While I may not remember why I began selling lemonade in the first place, I remember that our location was such that these guys would pass our house at the beginning and end of each day.  Location, location, location…is what one of my future classes on business would tell me – and as I write this post today while remembering years past, nothing could be further from the truth.


These guys would stop, especially in the afternoons to buy my lemonade.  In my mind as a child, it was the greatest thing ever.  In my childish mind, the lemonade was delicious.  The reality is that it was most likely a cup of the most watered down lemonade-type drink ever.  It didn’t matter – these guys seemed to love it.  Having these guys stop by my stand and buy a big cup of lemonade was AMAZING.  I honestly don’t even remember what we charged them.  I want to say that it was either 25 or 50 cents.  Sometimes, they would give me a dollar.  “Keep the change” was something that I heard a lot of back then.


Now, I am in my mid-30’s and I while I don’t work in the construction industry, there were plenty of times where I worked on a construction site.  A career in the green industry with a number of years doing landscaping and maintenance left me tired and thirsty many a day in the summer.  It’s been a few years since I stopped at a kid’s roadside stand and treated myself to lemonade from a roadside stand.

This year, I think that’s going to have to change.  This year’s I’m going to say, “keep the change.”

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