My son desperately wants a new rapid-fire Nerf gun. He was, however, four dollars short of the needed cash to purchase one.
This kid always has an idea. "Mom, guess what? I'm going to make money selling Cherry Delight! You remember the recipe I invented?"
Before I continue, allow me to share his recipe for Cherry Delight.
Nick's Cherry Delight
cherry pie filling
Mom makes waffles using the recipe on the Bisquick box. Nick pops the top on the cherry pie filling, spoons some on each waffle, sprinkles each with powdered sugar.
That's Cherry Delight.
My response to his plan was annoyingly socratic.
Me: How are you going to get the waffles and cherry pie filling?
Nick: You're going to get them for me.
Me: Are you going to pay me for the ingredients?
Nick: That wouldn't work! I wouldn't make much money that way!
Me: Who will buy your waffles?
Nick: The neighbors.
Me: How will they know you have waffles to sell?
Nick: I will take them to their door.
Me: How will you keep them warm? How will you deliver them? Are you going to use paper plates? Who will pay for the paper plates?
Then I explained that, logistical difficulties aside, most people wouldn't want to buy cold, sickeningly sweet waffles from a door-to-door salesman trying to make money for a Nerf gun. Plus, we don't allow our children to go door-to-door anyway.
Me: I have another idea. Why don't we make the chocolate dumplings Ms. Debra made? They are easy, make a bunch, and you can easily sell them from a stand at the four-way stop by the pool.
Nick: Sure! I can sell them for a dollar a piece!
Me: Um. No. A quarter a piece would be better.
Nick: How 'bout 50 cents?
Me: A quarter.
He did make the chocolate dumplings but charged 50 cents each. He also tried selling at our pool first, but of course, as we had told him, no one takes money to a neighborhood pool that has no vending machines or snack bar. Finally, he admitted that the four-way stop would be best. He spent three hours in the hot, hot sun trying to sell chocolate dumplings (devil's food cake mix and one can of pumpkin...they're healthy and taste good, too!).
After an hour of no takers, he called me on the cell phone I loaned him, and told me things were not going well.
Nick: I thought I'd change the sign. [Smart kid!]
Me: What does it look like now?
Nick: It says, "50 cent chocolate."
Me: What did you write it with?
Nick: Blue marker.
Me: Can drivers read it? Are the letters really big and dark?
Nick: [pause] No.
Me: Make your letters bigger and darker and add the word dumplings to it. People may just think you're selling chocolate bars, which might not sound appealing at 9 in the morning.
Nick: Great idea, Mom! How do you spell dumplings?
I told him, and he went back to work.
One kind man took pity and bought two, which resulted in a jubilant phone call to update me on his victory. After that bit of success, the market dried up. After several hours, Nick's friend Jacob offered him $3, and Nick gave him the entire box.
He had earned his money by the sweat of his brow and the generosity of a friend, so I took him to Target, only to find two empty shelves where the gun he wanted should have been.
He took it like a man and said we can check back another day.
I'm proud of my boy and hope he eventually gets what he wants. But I hope his career takes a different path.
Perhaps contract negotiations.