Lemonade Stands Ethics: Serious Questions and Answers

Chris —  July 18, 2016 — 10 Comments

Lemonade Stands: Q&A with Chris BraunsThere is about a 70% chance the man who stopped was an angel. . .

It’s that time of year when we again consider Christian morality and lemonade stands. Below find answers to common questions.

  1. How often should I stop when I see a lemonade stand? 100% of the time.
  2. That seems like a high standard. Is it okay if I bat say .950? No.
  3. How much should I pay? No less than 3 times the asking price. More is better.
  4. What if the children running the stand are my grandchildren? Then you pay 5 times the asking price, have the children’s mother take a picture of you buying, and spend time thanking God for your grandchildren’s industry.
  5. What should I do if the children begin to make change when I give them too much? Wait until they have finished properly (or improperly) counting out the change. Do not offer to help with the process of calculating the change. Then refuse the change. Under no circumstances correct their math. Save your accounting expertise for tax season.
  6. What if I don’t have money with me when I see the stand? Drive directly home. Get the money. Go directly back, all the while praying that the children don’t wear out and close the stand.
  7. Are you just trying to be cute with this post? I am not. It is the responsibility of a community to wholeheartedly support the initiative of children. If you insist on being mercenary about the topic, then bear in mind that hopefully the children who are smashing lemons now will be paying into social security tomorrow – – either literally or figuratively. But far more important, supporting lemonade stands is an easy way to tell children you love them. You don’t have anything better to do with your life.
  8. Did you ever have a lemonade stand? Yes. As a matter of fact, I did. Thank you for asking. In the summer of 1969 — as in when soldiers were in Viet Nam and astronauts were landing on the moon- my sisters Shelley and Mary Dawn and I built a stand out of cardboard boxes and peddled lemonade on hwy 1 north of Keosauqua. For the most part, our business was limited to our grandfather and both of our neighbors. One business man stopped. Our asking price was a 5 cents. He plopped down a quarter. Shelley — MD and I weren’t yet qualified — made change. He waited and then told us to keep the change. So far as I am aware, we never saw him again. It’s about a 70% chance he was actually an angel (Hebrews 13:2). But if he wasn’t, then we hope to meet him on the other side, and when we do, we will insist on paying him back 100 fold, in whatever negotiable currency is used on the New Earth.
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10 responses to Lemonade Stands Ethics: Serious Questions and Answers

  1. I’m pretty sure your grandfather didn’t pay asking price…..probably got you down to 2 for 1. Also, loved the picture of the 3 of you out by the highway!!! Oh, the good old days!!

  2. I never sold lemonade but we did have a pom pom stand in the mid 1980’s. Yes just pom poms, not hats or scarfs. We were at the end of a dead end street in a small Australian town (population 1700) and made a few dollars. We set ourselves up in front of one of the neighbours houses who’s son worked on her property as a physiotherapist.

  3. I don’t know Australian culture, but I have to believe that physiotherapy and pom poms are a winning combination. Great to hear from you.

  4. I was smiling about the negotiation process with our grandfather when I posted. We sure did learn a lot about business . . .

  5. I have a policy to never pass a lemonade stand. One time I stoppped and had not cash so paid the kids $1 with a check. To this day (they are grown now), they (who were strangers to me then) know me and call me the Check Lady. As kids, they didn’t know what to do with a check. But from that check they got my address and name and we’re kind of pals now for all time.

    I love asking kids, “Why are you having a stand today?” or “What do you plan to do with the money?” I loved one batch of kids’ hastily blurted, simultaneous, answers to that second question while I sipped my 4 ounces of lukewarm lemonish liquid: “Support the troops.” “Give it to charity.” “Save for college.” “Candy.”

  6. Thank you for this. As I was reading this, my children are out in front of my home selling lemonade!
    100% of the funds are going to Assyrian refugees who are being brought into our city through a couple of local churches.

  7. Thank you for this!

    As I was reading this (linked from Tim Challies site), my kids are in my front yard selling lemonade.
    All of the proceeds are going towards Assyrian refugees who are being brought into our city through a couple of local churches.

  8. Stephanie Hohlen July 20, 2016 at 4:36 am

    HI, enjoyed your article. My question is should I encourage my kids to give all their proceeds to charity? Just a portion? None? I have struggled to know what is best. I want them to be generous, but also learn to be business saavy as well. Thanks.

  9. Hi Stephanie. I would not encourage them to give it all to charity. Rather, give a percentage away. We’ve always our encouraged to give the first 10% to church.

    But I also think you should give them a chance to spend some. They will learn so much about making decisions about buying and saving. Such a great question!

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