Sep 182006
 
Authors: Kevin Dudley

The lemonade stand industry, once a flourishing enterprise, has been pushed to its proverbial knees and is now withering away at the hands of a much unorganized bunch of children in need of a leader with big-business aspirations.

It needs a man with a no-nonsense approach to leadership. A man who doesn’t micromanage, who threatens horrific physical violence and asks questions later, a man in the mold of Tony Soprano or Idi Amin.

I’m talking of course about myself.

I find myself with an increasing sense of frustration when confronted by the thought of the struggling lemonade stand industry. This may be caused by my desire to see the youth of America achieve in the Nino Brown/Gordon Gekko/Bill Gates (try finding another piece of writing with those three names side by side) sense of the word.

This also may be caused by the fact that I thought about trying to steal a glass of lemonade from three 6-year-olds one hung-over morning. After a little bit of logistical thinking, I figured that I am probably not as fast as a bike and that little kids are powerful in numbers. So I am going to take a shot at trying to right my awful train of thought that morning and try to help them with my newly found reporter powers.

So here it goes.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for kids and earning money, but if we’re going to help them, we’re going to need kids earning money. Now I’m not talking about sweatshops where workers work long hours for little pay in poorly lit and ventilated places. I’m talking about a place where workers work long hours for little pay in direct sunlight and no protection from the elements. I can never not be not accused of not being not compassionate.

The first problem: Five cents is not enough to turn a profit. It would need to be at least a dollar. You may have to give the customer more lemonade, but in the end I think we’d be better off. We also need to take credit cards. This is the new millennium, and in the new millennium you can’t trust that people will have cash, except for drug dealers and strippers and who wants to sell them lemonade? Not me.

Next, it can’t be on side streets or confusing little neighborhoods that can only be found when I’m hung over and lost. I personally find myself not caring to purchase any such product from shady little 6-year-olds because I don’t trust their motives and I don’t usually have any change.

I’m thinking that I want my stands in the public eye. If you want people to purchase your product, it has to be visible. And I can’t think of anything more visible than a 6-year-old working a brightly colored shanty on the side of I-25. Don’t worry, I’ll have another 6-year-old holding up a caution sign.

Like I always say, safety third. Directly preceded, of course, by sportsmanship and a word that I’ve never seen before so I’ll spell it out phonetically for you: (in-teh-gruh-tee). I’m getting off track – shocking, I know.

Finally, I’ll need a way to keep the authorities off my back (“I’m sorry officer, but I’ve never even HEARD of a child labor law before”). I was hoping for the “Oh my gosh, that guy is so unbelievably insane that we should probably just leave him alone” route.

Also I’ll periodically run advertisements in local newspapers of me holding a cat in the air with “Next time you see one of my stands buy some lemonade or the kitty gets it” written underneath. I’ve also flirted with the idea of creating frequent-user punch cards. Something like buy 12 cups and you get a free snuff film.

So the next time you see a local disenfranchised youth selling overpriced, powdered Country Time, open your heart and your wallet. If you don’t, little Mrs. Kitty Pants gets it.

Kevin Dudley is a senior natural resources major. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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