Sunday, April 16, 2006

Water for sale

We were finishing Easter dinner today, when a few of the children in my parents' neighborhood headed to the street hauling a cooler, table, chairs and other things children need to set up an under-the-IRS'-radar operation. Curious, we went to the corner of the cul-de-sac to buy what we presumed to be Kool-Aid or lemonade.


The temperature was unseasonably warm, yes. But not "I can't make it back to the house without quenching this deadly thirst, so I'm going to buy water from you" hot. We laughed and produced our dollar bills to pad these kids' piggy banks and ordered some water, a little put off that we'd walked all the way for something that came out of our tap.

"One water," one boy said very professionally. I was surprised. He'd eaten in restaurants and studied waiters. The other boy grabbed two more Easter cups with mirrored seriousness. He nagged the other one to let him pour.

"That will be 25 cents," he said, again with professionalism and pride in his product. It was water, it came from his parent's tap, maybe their Brita filter, but these kids found a need for that water and assumed we, the customers, saw every ounce of the product's worth. The boys were excited about selling us water. They believed in what they were selling. And I then believed in their water.

We moved on to the next table, staffed by the two boys' sisters. They had beaded bracelets and necklaces. Also for 25 cents. These products were a steal. The jewelry could pass for store-bought, easy. However, the girls were preoccupied. They weren't interested in selling us on the value of the bracelets, or telling us how they made the jewelery. They were interested only in taking our money. Meh.

The boys surely won out, what with the low overhead to produce water compared to beaded bracelets. But they could have swapped products and sold those same bracelets for 50 bucks. That's how good these two elementary school dudes were. Ice to an eskimo, ketchup to a woman in white gloves, water, your sister's bracelets...whatever. The boys are mastering the most important lesson of selling: believe in the value of your product.


Blogger Alejandra said...

I really enjoyed reading that story. Thanks for sharing. I wonder what those boys will be up to in 15 years.

10:46 PM  

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