Thursday, September 3

When Life Gives You Lemons...

The unemployment rate is way up and frequently people have to find new lines of work after losing a job. This was brought starkly home to me a couple of weeks ago when I was out for a late afternoon stroll.

It was hot and I was thirsty so I was gratified to see a small table on the sidewalk with a handwritten sign reading "Lemonade". Usually these ad hoc beverage vending centers are staffed by 8 or 9 year old girls with happy faces and optimistic demeanors, but in this case the person sitting behind the table was a middle aged man wearing a plaid sport coat, polyester slacks, and white shoes. He saw me eying the condensation-coated pitcher sitting on the table and stood up. He had a smile that made me unconsciously pat my wallet to make sure it was still in my pocket.

"Thirsty?" he said.

"Yep. It's a hot one. How much?"

"Well, what kind of budget do you have?"

"A budget for lemonade?" I puzzled.

He took out a small pad of paper and a pencil. "I'm going to write a number down and you tell me if this is a payment you can live with."

"Payment..." I glance at the paper - "...$199 for lemonade? Are you crazy?"

"That includes zero percent financing, but I might be able to do better. I'll have to talk to my manager. He's delivering a pizza, but he'll be back in a minute".

I tossed the piece of paper back at him and started walking off.

"Hey," he shouted. "What's it going to take to get you into a libation today?"

"How about no money down and $3,000 cash back?" I muttered sarcastically.

"That's doable," he said. "Do you have a trade-in?"

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