About Us

The Open Road Project exists to spread kindness and meet the needs of strangers. We travel in a 1979 GMC Vanguard named Lily. These are our stories.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Business Juniors.

I have this friend who has this saying. His name was Vidar Gunderson and he is from Norway. During the time we lived in Australia, we became pretty good friends and he would always preface things he said to me with his one favourite phrase. He would say:
"Hey, From Business man, to Business Junior, Listen to what i say... and then he would say what ever it was he was going to say. It might have been about football or money... Thing is, despite his pretty good english- his thick Norwegian accent made whatever he was going to say pretty funny, despite how smart it actually was.

I loved this saying. It reminds me of good times. And today, I had the perfect opportunity to use it.

Just about an hour ago, I was walking home from work, talking on the phone with Willms, when I see down a side street off Lakeshore, to my delight 3 young boys hosting a lemonade sale. I of course took the little detour to assess their operation. I must say i was quite impressed. They were offering: popcorn bags: 50¢, Freezees: $1, and of course Lemonade 50¢.

I walked over anticipating I would be able to give them a few tricks of the trade from my days years ago as a Roadside Refreshment Associate. Remarkably, they needed no mentoring whatsoever. Their operation seemed to be running at maximum efficiency and I must say i was very impressed. I poured out around 6 dollars in change from my shifts tips, so I could purchase one freezee.. plus tip. One thing I do remember from my lemonade stand days is... I made more money from tips than I actually did sales (lemonade sales in kind of a niche market kept afloat by generosity).

As I spilled the coins on the table, and told them they could keep it all, despite only being my pocket change less than 6$- the one kid said "WOW, thanks mister!" as the other kid counted it aloud ...twice.

it was an awesome purchase. A freezee never tasted better, and I was revelling in the good old days where my brother and i actually used to use orange pilons to block our road and cause cars to detour slowly past our stand at the end of the driveway. (great for business- terrible for neighbours and car accidents)

But today the customer service was impeccable. They served me a freezee with a napkin and cut it for me with scissors. Their advertising was well done with handmade signs all along the street, and they had already even incorporate my favourite trick, the bundle sell where they offered lemonade, popcorn and a freezee for $1.50 at a discount of $0.50.

They had covered every area I thought I might help them with. (despite the construction cone trick, which i thought i would keep to myself). Also I noticed hockey sticks, a net and skateboard strewn in the driveway and I realized that they have solved the one problem that I had always struggled with... bordem. They realized that at any given time only one of them had to wait at the booth while the other two played, until someone came along to which they would drop what they were doing and all run over. Genius.

I thought about asking to take a picture of them for the purposes of this blog, but I had chatted with the boys long enough and I could see the mom unmistakably watching through the window. I obviously meant no harm and was totally supportive, but thanks to Dateline, she was getting suspicious.

So i decided to walk away but before i did I told them some wise words. From business man- to business Juniors; Have fun with the lemonade sale. BUT remember don't eat all your merchandise. I could see they had gotten into the popcorn and freezes, which was also mike and my biggest problem.

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