Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Business for Lessons in Life

J with Mr. T and Mr. D  decided that they would "share the investment" of three vending machines to put by our neighborhood pools this summer.  J kept telling me that this would be a money making adventure.  I didn't think that it would be, at least not for two or three summers.  The argument to me was that running the machines would be a great chance for all the kids to learn about business.  The Texas T kids would all help with the stocking, upkeep, purchasing and everything else related to these vending machines.  I was all about teaching the kids about running a business.  
The dreams were set in place.  Each child thought that the profits would be fantastic.  The neighborhood provided the locations.  They actually wanted it to happen as to provide the service to the neighborhood pool patrons.
These business minded men knew that new machines were not needed.  They sought out used machines.  Each putting money forward the three machines were purchased; two were combination machines that hold snacks and drinks and one drink only machine.
These are not cheap things to just run out and buy.  I was setting aside a chunk of cash for J's birthday present and Father's day gift.  I had something bigger than usual in mind this year.  Instead J wanted to buy vending machines.
I don't understand a gift that requires work but I was in the hospital on bed rest when all of this went down.  If it was what he really wanted then so be it.  I told him where his secret birthday money stash was and he used it the way he wanted.
The summer went well with the three vending machines.  The business was steady.  The men are in no way in the clear yet.  The investment of the machines was just too great. The kids had several opportunities to check, fill, purchase and refund friends when the machines din't give change.  The sad news is that three times the same machine has been busted into and another time a second machine was vandalized.  Little taken but costly and time consuming to repair.

The idea was that the children would learn about supply and demand.  Instead they learned about police reports, vandalism, and the cost that stealing has on others.  We have debated removing the machines altogether and selling them but then the neighbor pool patrons loose the convenience of snack and drink options so close.
We live in a well-to-do area.  The robberies are truly acts of vandalism and not someone needing to eat.  Food has been left behind every time.  How sad is that!?!  The Lesson was supposed to be about business but instead has become one about human nature.

1 comment:

  1. How saddening. One of Steven's good friends, as well as my uncle, have vending machine businesses. Steven actually looked into it, too. I can ask if they have ideas about other security measures. I know my uncle has to carry a gun when he fills his machines and retrieves the cash.


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