Shake the sign

Sometimes you have to go and shake the sign.

That is what we discovered when our kids hosted a lemonade stand at our house a few weeks ago. It was the idea of our oldest daughter, who thought it might be fun to have some spending money for herself. For us this meant that she talked of nothing but holding a lemonade stand for weeks on end. If we were to go and listen to her breath in her sleep, she would be whispering “lemonade stand.”

And she did have big plans. She organized a menu, and had everything laid out down to the table we would put up in the front yard. She even made a business name and a logo. She was going to make regular lemonade, pink lemonade, strawberry lemonade, extra sour lemonade, extra sweet lemonade, lemonade with whipped cream on top (which, after the fact, I highly recommend) and surprise lemonade, which was lemonade with white chocolate chips inside.

This created a little bit of some consternation for me and my wife. We are pretty busy people, and we didn’t see how we were going to squeeze in a lemonade stand. But there was no way out of it. We had to have that lemonade stand if we were going to have any peace this summer.

Finally, a Saturday opened up where we could have the lemonade stand. We set up the table, made up the lemonade and a few other goodies, and waited outside on our lawn. We advertised it on social media and put up signs pointing the way to our house.

And then we waited.

I can’t say I’m the most patient person on the planet. After a few minutes of waiting, I decided I better go adjust the signs. Somehow the two youngest kids, at five years old and two years old, tagged along behind me.

We went down and moved the sign from one side of the street to the other. Just for fun, I picked it up and started shaking it a little. If you wonder why every business in Pocatello has people out dancing and holding signs, I will tell you this: it works. Suddenly cars were pouring down towards our house. I don’t know if it was the promise of lemonade or the exceptionally cute children I had on the corner with me.

I can tell you one thing though. That is not an easy job. After a few minutes of standing out in the hot sun, we headed back to the house. Soon our time was taken up with friends and family who came by to enjoy some lemonade. However, if we needed some more business, all we had to do was go shake the sign for a few minutes and we would get some more customers. We literally had no customers come unless we shook that sign a little bit.

We were missing one thing from my daughter’s menu: strawberry lemonade with fresh strawberries. The items for setting up this lemonade stand were getting a little pricey, and so I axed the most expensive item on the list, the strawberries.

But to show just how ironic things can be, the strangest customer we received that day was a man driving a produce truck, who saw the sign while we were out shaking it. He came by with an offer we did not refuse: he traded us strawberries for lemonade. The strawberries were actually the cheapest ingredient, not the most expensive.

There is a moral in there somewhere, and for me, I guess if things aren’t working for you, you have to shake things up a bit. Go out there and shake the sign.

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