Although our current status doesn’t allow for it, I’m a sucker for a lemonade stand. If I spot one, I’ll stop and buy a glass. I’m generally not a fan of lemonade unless there’s alcohol involved, but I stop anyway because I feel that I’m aiding a budding sales representative, future business owner, or nascent entrepreneur. I also want to show my appreciation for the person in the house behind the stand who was brave enough to allow the upheaval and a sticky mess in the kitchen, much like my mother did when we were young.
Had my mother been born in a different era, she might have been the CEO of a corporation. She was a natural leader and teacher, and much of what my sisters and I know today about sales and marketing came from her. She continued those lessons with my nephew Zack, now in his early thirties. He had his first lemonade stand at her house when he was four years old, and she put him through her patented Lemonade Stand Boot Camp, giving Zack the same instructions we’d been given in our youth: Be polite. Smile. Look people in the eye. Speak distinctly. Take care with sanitation. Never pick up a cookie with your hand. Instead use a napkin to pick it up and hand it to your customer.
So they set up the curbside stand: Freshly washed tablecloth, cookies neatly stacked on a plate, a pitcher of lemonade with glasses waiting beside the pitcher, the glasses upside-down, of course, so that nothing unseemly could fall into them that might taint the buyer’s experience.
Zack’s first customer – a neighbor who had received advanced notification – sauntered across the cul-de-sac, and under Mother’s watchful eye, the next generation of Detmer Lemonade Stand, Inc. proceeded with a sale. Zack spoke clearly and looked the customer in the eye. He repeated the order (“One lemonade and one cookie.”) so that he could be corrected if he’d heard the order wrong, and then after a confirming nod, Zack took napkin in hand, picked up a cookie, and offered it across the table, product safely shielded from flesh. He then turned over a glass, picked up the pitcher, and poured. It was a sizeable vessel for a small child to handle, but he was very cautious, using both hands to keep it steady. His pour was not too fast nor too slow. He didn’t overfill or underfill. It was pretty-near perfect, and Mother must have been proud as she watched him, as the lemonade swirled into the glass.
And then he leaned forward and carefully licked the lemonade drops from the pitcher rim.
Today Zack is a successful software sales rep. But I never eat at his house.
August 5, 2020