About Me

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Michigan, United States
a registered yoga teacher, and a Thai/Yoga Bodywork practitioner.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting down to business

Driving down our old street Sunday night, en route to the store, I saw a little girl with pigtails sitting at a plastic mini-picnic table. She was selling Kool Aid for a quarter. I pulled to the curb, rummaged through my coin purse and gave the kids each a quarter: "Go buy some Kool Aid from that girl back there."

They came back with their plastic cups. By the time we reached the store, Madelyn announced that she too would like to sell Kool Aid.
It's about 94 degrees at 6 PM. It's muggy. I feel as motivated as a waterlogged sloth. After some preemptive grumbling, I said, "I don't have it in me to do this tonight, honey."

She said, "I will do it all myself!"
I am tired enough not to fight this statement. But I doubt she will.

When we find the Kool Aid aisle, we do a little on-site math about how many packets she can buy with her 1.50 bottle return slip. We talk about getting more than one flavor, for variety. She pays for her purchase. By the time we get home, it appears she has forgotten about the stand. She heads into the basement. I dissect the grocery bags and spread the contents across every open surface.

She comes upstairs with a tall plastic tote. "This can be my table," she says. She makes her sign in large block letters, coloring them orange. I find a pitcher and wash it for her (my fatigue subsiding as my chores are near an end). She learns how to fill a cup with sugar (level) and then she guesses at the water amount before I realize she's poured it in. (It was a good guess; it tasted like the right balance of flavor and sweet.)

We have a talk about where to set up: the safest area is also the least traveled. I have seen no one on our street today, but the road behind our house always has traffic. It is outside our fence, however. "Nate, can I hire you for security, to sit out there with her?" Nate shrugs and indicates "okay." They haul out her gear and set up near the fence, in the shade. I sit in the yard with a drink and a book, close enough to see and hear, but far enough to give her space.

Several cars speed past. Madelyn's one sign faces the road, so no one can see what she's selling until they're parallel to her, going 35-40 mph. I carry out more paper and her marker. She makes another sign for her table.

"How 'bout you hold up one, like the pizza guys do?" I suggest.

She does, arms straight, sign held high.

One car goes past. It comes back. A young man driving asks "How much, " and when Madelyn and Nate carry the plastic cups over to him and his girlfriend, saying "A quarter each", he gives them a dollar.

"Keep the change, for bringing them over," he says. When Madelyn turns back toward the yard, her eyes are round and she can barely hold in a smile.

A few more cars stop, and each stop yields as much tip as payment. After an hour, she has earned almost as much money as a week's allowance.

"Mom, I'm going to do this again tomorrow!" (Well, not tomorrow; maybe next weekend).

When we come inside, she gathers together her gear, counts her money, and states: "I have a business. It's a small one, but I have one. It's hot and people need a drink, and I give them one."

Madelyn's first enterprise


  1. Great story! Did she pay her security guard?

  2. The security guard got free Kool Aid. Also, since I was the agency hiring, I paid him a buck. He said he didn't need it.

  3. That's AWESOME!! I love the makeshift table. Fast and easy to bring back in.

    I'm happy Nate was the security guard, and had the same question as Helenmac (did he get paid too?) Nice job as the hiring agency.

  4. That's great. Glad she was able to turn a profit. Keep up the good work.