Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Success and Failure of the Roadside Stand

Last week the 8-11 year old girls at church were doing a bake sale outside a grocery store to raise money for the hospital auxilliary. It was a-buzz here at home as we made a variation on Rice Krispies Treats (see below for RECIPE!) so much so that that afternoon, my 6 year old caught the fever and insisted on doing her own "roadside stand."

She begged, she pleaded. She even whined. (Imagine!) But I didn't have any packets of Kool Aid and didn't want to make another trip to the store, so I put her off. Mean, I know. But show me the mother who never does that.

Finally she said the magic words: "But Mom! I want to have my roadside stand be chocolate covered strawberries!"

Ah! "Why, sure. Let's whip those up." They chilled while she made her poster and dragged the TV tray out to the edge of the lawn, and were ready by the time she and the 3 year old had posted themselves on folding chairs.

It's not a traffic-filled neighborhood. At all. But within half an hour, little Miss Entrepreneur had sold out. At 25-cents apiece, she became a mini-millionaire, or at least acted like one with that jingling $3.75 in her quilted daisy purse of faux fur. "Can we go to the dollar store? Can we? Can we?"

I kinda put that one off, too. I mean, I had to go down and help man the service project bake sale, right?

All this brought to mind a memory of a roadside stand experience (why my kids call them that, I'm not sure. It's apt, but a little weird) from summer before last. The now-8-year-old had sat out front selling her crayon drawings for a buck apiece. I didn't actually know this was going on (Imagine!) until she appeared with $2 in a #10 can. Weird.

The success triggered entrepreneurial longings in my now-10-year-old son. He wanted something "really different." I shrugged. It all felt beyond my control. Sure, go ahead. Sell whatever you like. I don't think I can stop any of this. I'm just the mom here.

An hour later, he returned to the kitchen, head slumped down Charlie Brown style, shoulders low, his plate of goodies still full.

"What'cha got there, son?" I asked.

"Mom, I told him not to do it!" the oldest interjected. "They're just yucky. I said no one would want them."

I turned back to the sad kid. "What are they? What did you make?"

"Mom," the oldest insisted, "he never even tried them!"

"Fine," called the seller. "Fine!" and he popped one in his mouth. He instantly spit it out. At this point I walked over to investigate. "This is bad, Mom! Really bad! It's funny. I thought chocolate covered dill pickle slices rolled in sugar would be good! But they're not!"

The answer to  your question is no. I did not try one. >shrug< I try to be a good mom, but there are places even moms can't go.

I guess the lesson we discussed after the strawberry success (as we recalled the pickle failure) that night at dinner was the importance of providing a product your customers want. There's probably an application to that in writing. It's why I'll probably never write Misery Memoir. Anybody who reads my stuff expects cotton candy, not pickles, with or without chocolate and granulated sugar. (Although I personally LOVE dill pickles. The real ones, not the literary ones.)

So, now for the RECIPE!


1/2 cup butter
1 pkg mini marshmallows
1 tsp vanilla
8-10 cups corn flakes
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Melt butter in large pot. Add marshmallows and stir over medium heat until melted. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Add flakes. Stir well. Sprinkle on chips and fold in, trying not to over melt them. Press into greased 9x13 pan. Mmmm!


  1. Love this, Jennifer. I also remember my kids wanting to sell things when they were younger (I did too.)My daughter would have tried the chocolate covered pickles, I think. She loves pickles.

  2. That is so funny. You have really cool kids.
    Anna del C.

  3. Thanks Tina & Anna. I'm hoping we've done our lifetime quota of roadside stands at this point. Of course as I type this they could simultaneously be having a yard sale out front, for all I know.

  4. This is a fun account. We had no imagination and only sold cookies and lemonade. I wish I would have driven by for the chocolate covered strawberries!


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