Sunday, July 14, 2013

2013 Lake Erie Sailing Trip - Day 10

Day 10 – Second day in Vermillion

Our original plan had been to travel to Lorain, but every single person we had spoken with the previous day advised against it, assuring us that it is grimy and there’s nothing to see.  Normally, I would jump at the chance to explore a new, unknown grimy location, but in this case, considering our lovely surroundings, we decided to stay and enjoy a down day in the beautiful town of Vermillion.  We had a nice long, slow breakfast on the boat, then spent the day wandering around town, drinking coffee, sitting on the beach, lounging at the pool, eating good food and enjoying having nothing to do and nowhere to go.  Oh yes, and I caught up on about six days worth of blogs!


The week before we left on our trip I was at the supermarket with the kids picking up groceries.  Magnus found the coconuts and asked if we could get one.  I said no way, but he persisted, saying “But Daddy, you always say to try new things.  Well, I’ve never tried coconut so we should get one.”  I finally relented and bought a coconut, but reminded him that he usually only followed that particular piece of advice when it did not involve vegetables.  The plan was to crack it open when we got home and let the kids sample it but we got busy and the coconut made it as a stowaway on our boat, where it bounced around the whole first week.

In the afternoon I finally decided it was time for the nut to be cracked, so I got out a hammer and smashed up the coconut then used a knife to cut out as much as the white flesh as I could and put it into a bowl for everyone to try out.  The kids tried it and thought it was okay and I thought that was the end of it.  But Magnus piped up a little while later and said, “Daddy, why don’t we take the leftover coconut and sell samples to the people here at the yacht club?”  Ana and I then gave him a battery of reasons why this was not a good idea.  These people are on vacation and they don’t want kids trying to sell stuff to them.  People have their own food on their boats and probably don’t like coconut anyway.  This isn’t our club and they might not appreciate transient guests hawking fruit.  But he persisted and suggested asking the manager if it would be okay.  I finally stopped and actually listened to myself discouraging him from acting on his own idea, then realized that I was wrong.  So we told him that if him and Stella went and got permission from the club manager then it would be okay.  So the two of them raced down the dock and were back in five minutes proudly reporting that they could indeed sell coconut to the members.  This set off a flurry of activity in the boat – sign making, product packaging, getting a float together, location planning, sales pitch and so forth.  It was decided they would set up shop on one of the picnic tables outside the pool area.  Stella’s job would be to hand out the product and Magnus would be on sales and cash collection.  Ana and I reconfirmed with them that this was entirely their operation, wished them good luck and watched them race off anxiously on their first business venture.

Twenty minutes later Stella returned asking for more coconut and reported that sales were brisk and they were down to three packs, which they were selling for a quarter each.  I gave her the sad news that there was no more coconut, unless I was to dig the broken shells out of the garbage and try to scrape more out of them, but that wasn’t a safe business practice.  So she returned to her shop and shortly after that I did sneak over there and take a photo of them – Stella was holding the bowl of ice with three remaining plastic baggies of coconut, and Magnus was holding up a sign which said, “Fresh, delicious coconut samples – 25 cents”.  It was quite an operation and at that moment I was a very proud father.  I thought to myself if there’s any country in the world that appreciates a couple of young entrepreneurs, it’s the USA, and today these kids have learned more about the world than they did the whole month of June in school.
Magnus asked me, “Daddy, what other fruit do we have on the boat that we could sell?”
“Nothing,” I replied.

“What about those bananas?” he questioned.

“We need those, and besides nobody is going to buy bananas, they are not really as exotic as coconut”

“How about some meat, what about that chicken in the freezer?” he pitched.

“Magnus, you are not selling raw chicken to the yacht club members, that will get us kicked out.  In fact, we have absolutely no spare food of any kind that you can sell.”

”OK Daddy, then I’m going to rip some pages out of my colouring book and sell those for a quarter each.”

“Magnus, you guys have done very well here, look at all the money in the bowl, great job!  But just sell the remaining coconut then you guys come back to the boat.”

I high-tailed it back to the boat, not wanting to stick around for the rest of the argument.  I had this sneaking suspicion that we had created a monster, and may return to the boat one of these afternoons to find the two of them have flogged our lines, sails, fenders, pots and pans, cushions, spare parts and all boat electronics.  I only hoped they wouldn’t be able to figure out how to uninstall the compass and sell that too.

In the end, after donating the two dollars of float money and the coconut to their cause they made a total of about three bucks each.  I’m not sure if they will ever let us back into the Vermilion Boat Club, but it was very exciting to see the entrepreneurial enthusiasm our kids displayed, and even more exciting to see Ana and I overcome our crusty adult sensibilities and allow our kids to act on an idea.

Before bed, I did notice Magnus, who I now like to call “De Coconut Mon”, doing a mental inventory of all boat contents, looking for product to sell at the next stop.

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