Here, Have Some Free Junk


One of the greatest things about law school is all the free junk that gets thrown your way; I’ve seen a vast improvement over the free junk I got in undergrad. Not a beer coozie in sight, but here’s your free 2 GB jump drive! (INVALUABLE. LOVE. Sell my soul to Westlaw? Sign me up!)

But still, it’s not really free. My tuition pays for access to Westlaw, which certainly in turn pays for those jump drives. Still, it feels free, so I use it and I’m happy–saves me the time and added expense of running to electronic-store-Hell and shelling out 20 bucks for the same thing.

There’s no such thing as free. Even if it’s free to me, someone somewhere is paying for it; that’s why I tip bartenders for free drinks, servers for free food, and cab drivers for free rides. (I embrace the whole “I’m a girl” thing.) I’m about as wiped of the entitlement culture as a person my age can be, which is why I literally cheered out loud in the library when I read this piece in the Sun-Times:

There is no “free” lemonade.

“You must charge something for the lemonade,” I explained. “That’s the whole point of a lemonade stand. You figure out your costs — how much the lemonade costs, and the cups — and then you charge a little more than what it costs you, so you can make money. Then you can buy more stuff, and make more lemonade, and sell it and make more money.”

Long story short, this guy rolled up on a lemonade stand; the girls running the stand were giving away the lemonade, as well as candy, for free. Hopelessness and #facepalmity ensued when neither the children, nor their nanny–how twee–understood the concept of earning money. Naturally, he wrote a column about it, and naturally, that column inspired a litany of #outrage and #righteousindignation and #omgbutthechildren and #whydoyouresentthecharitablegivingofinnocentsnowflakes.

…and naturally, he replied:

Giving is great, but lemonade stand should teach entrepreneurship.

Clearly there is a great misconception that entrepreneurship and generosity are incompatible. But that’s far from the truth. Just look at Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — two of our country’s greatest entrepreneurs, who are in the process of giving away hundreds of millions of dollars to causes they think are worthwhile. But first they had to earn that money!

HOO-RAY. Seriously, I’m all for indulging the charitable nature of children, but I support what this guy is saying 100%. I’m going to be a jerk for a second and make a few assumptions: first, anyone who has a nanny for their kids probably has money to burn; second, anyone who would provide their kids with 3 types of lemonade, chocolate candies, and cups to give away probably has even more money to burn; and third, the fact that these girls glazed over when confronted about their “charity” says to me that they have no real concept of what it takes to earn a dollar because their parents are vapid enough to just fork over the goodies.

Yes, I’m harsh…but then again, so is life.

I’m not a parent, so I can’t say for sure, but I’m reasonably certain that if my kid bounced up to me and said he wanted to set up a stand and give things away for free, I’d have to step into the next room and have a nervous breakdown. Not because I’m against charity, but because I’d have to figure out a way to sit down and have a discussion about economic responsibility with my 12 year old, without crushing any future sense of social responsibility.

I think it’s fine to donate time, money and stuff to people who need it–voluntary acts of kindness are the legs we conservatives stand on when it comes to fighting compulsory progressive handouts. We should encourage this mindset in children, along with common-sense principles of entrepreneurship and smart money management. The purpose of an allowance is to learn about saving; the purpose of a lemonade stand is to learn about profits.

The lesson is simple: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade–but don’t be afraid to exploit the hell out of that lemonade, demand payment, turn a profit, and embrace the #evilcapitalist within. It feels good…I promise.