Jack & Jill




An Economics Story…


Once upon a time there was a town known as the Fiction Village.  Within this town, the people are well known.  Even we, the audience, have heard of these people.  More often then not, we believe them to be fictional, but they actually exist.  The townspeople are “characters” from our nursery rhymes.  Little Boy Blue is the most productive farmer in the land, after overcoming his obsessive-compulsive need to blow his horn everywhere.  Simple Simon runs a baking company that rivals Sara Lee, after developing his own pie recipes.  Humpty Dumpty is the local doctor, who chose the profession after his unfortunate accident.  These are but some of the inhabitants of Fiction Village, and there are many stories to tell.  However, for this story we shall focus on Jack of Jack & Jill fame.


Jack was nothing like your typical seven year old.  Sure, he looks like your stereotypical child.  Small of stature, with large blue eyes, and short, messy blonde hair, that was Jack.  But behind his looks Jack was more of a bookworm.  A quiet child, who often kept to himself, he would only speak when spoken to. The only friend that he had was Jill.


Jill was the complete opposite of Jack.  Jill had grown up alongside Jack for seven years.  Jill’s mother, Julia, was Jack’s nanny who happened to live next door.  Julia often brought Jill to work and would watch the two play.  Or rather, Jack read in a corner and Jill pestered him until he finally agreed to play with her.  Jill often told her mother that she was teaching Jack.  Little did she know that Jack was learning how to be more manipulative and whiney to get his way.  In layman’s terms, Jill was “corrupting” the naïve Jack.


Anyways, on this particular day, Jack and Jill were trying to come up with a way to raise money to make some purchases for this summer vacation.  Even though they were young and imaginative, they were having some trouble trying to find a way to make money.  Then an idea came to Jack.


“I got it.  Remember what I said about your idea about the lemonade stand.” said Jack.


“Yeah.  And if I remember, you said that it was a tired idea and that we weren’t young or cute enough to get away with it.”  Jill said with tired look on her face.


“But, what if we just go ahead and cut out the lemon out of the lemonade.  Just sell water.  I mean, think of it as a “novelty” because who sells just ‘water.’”


“Sounds interesting, and it just might work.  Especially if we pretend to be ‘young and innocent.’  I mean, we could say that we couldn’t make lemonade because they won’t let us use the knives to cut the lemons.  That has to get some sympathy buyers.”  said Jill with her eyes wide and teary.


“Definitely.  Manipulation is going to be necessary if we’re going to get enough money.  Besides using our ‘puppy eyes’ we should consider putting out some free snacks loaded with salt.  I mean, it would motivate them to buying a cup.”


“So we have a game plan.  And now, I say that we should make the price somewhere in the medium, because I want that money NOW.”


“Sure.  Fine.  Just don’t hurt me.  Somebody has to be the brains in this outfit, and since I came up with the idea, I’m the brains.  We’ll sell the water at ten dollars a cup.”


Over the next couple of days, Jack and Jill were busy setting up their business.  They asked their parents if they could help them setup a stand outside Jack’s house.  They also asked them if they could borrow pitchers and disposable cups.  They also asked their parents if they could use the taps and to buy some peanuts and pretzels to serve at the stand.  They told their parents that they would pay them back with all the money that they were going to get from their brilliant idea.

Four days following their brainstorming session, J&J WaterWorks was opened.  On the sidewalk outside Jack’s home.  Location wasn’t a problem because across the street was the local park.  And since it was the summer, it was usually busy with children and adults.  This particular morning, it looked like some people were here for their morning walk.

“Looks like we lucked out.  We won’t have to wait too long for our first customer.  Old Mother Hubbard at two o’clock.” Said Jack.


“See her.  Ready with your pitch and puppy eyes?”  Jill said while making sure they had all their supplies and snacks out for all to see.


“Yep.  Okay, here I go.”


“Hello there dearies.  So what are you up to this morning?” said Mother Hubbard.  “Water?  You’re selling water?”


“Yep.  Cuz our moms won’t let us use the knives to cut the lemons.  This was the best we could do.” Said Jack with his eyes wide and slightly wet.


It seemed that she was slowly succumbing to the near tears.  However, she glanced down at the sign showing the price.  “Ten dollars a glass?  That’s highway robbery!  I mean, I could use the water fountain at the park for free.”  said Mother Hubbbard with a disbelieving look on her face.


“Then why don’t you!  Only come here if you plan on helping us out by coughing up the cash.”  Jill replied angrily. 


“Well, I never!  In my day, we never talked back to our elders.  And we didn’t have to pay that much for water.” replied Mother Hubbard with a huff.


“So don’t pay and leave.”


“My pleasure!”  And Mother Hubbard took her leave from the two children.


“Like she could afford it anyway.  Couldn’t even get a bone for her dog you know.  I mean a bone.  How much does it cost to get a bone.  You know she was never going to give us the money.” said Jill with a look of distaste and a sneer.


“I know.  But look, we have another customer.” said Jack.


Just as Mother Hubbard was leaving, Jack B. Nimble, stuntman extraordinaire was coming up to the stand.  Mr. Nimble was known for jumping large flaming candlesticks and anything on fire.   He was the block celebrity, who just happened to live three houses down from Jill.  “So little Jack, what you up to?” said Mr. Nimble who helped himself to some of the free snacks.


With a look of astonishment on his face, Jack replied, “Trying to raise some money.  And don’t call me little Jack.  It’s not my fault that my parents have no imagination and decided to name me Jack.”


Jill decided to chime in and try to help their cause.  “Yeah, we’re just trying to make some money so that we can have some money this summer.”


“Sounds fun.  Now about the price for a glass.  Isn’t that a bit pricey?  I mean, I’d like a glass, but not for ten dollars.  Can’t you lower the price for me just this once.” said Mr. Nimble with his own puppy eyes fixed on the children.


Jill with a cold look in her eyes to match her voice, she replied, “No.  I’m not being mean, but we’re trying to make some money.  It’s strictly business.”


“How about you give me a quarter of a glass for two dollars?”


“No.  Only full glasses for full price.” Jill said coldly.


“Never mind then.  I’ll just head home and get a glass for free.” said Mr. Nimble in a defeated voice.  He turned and headed towards his home, intending to finally get his glass of water.


“Fine!  Go!  I hope you burn yourself in your next stunt.” Screamed Jill to their retreating customer.

Jack and Jill’s business did not fare well the rest of the day.  Everytime a customer came to the stand, the kids would try their spiel to get someone to buy a glass.  Even with their combined teary gazes, it seemed no one would be willing to pay ten dollars for something as simple as water.

Later that night, Jack was talking with his parents about his failed business.  His parents had told him that he was missing some basic facts.


“Well, Jack, for one the price was too high.  No one is going to pay for a product that one can get elsewhere for lower, or free.  You can’t just play on people’s sympathies and con them into paying a ridiculous amount of money for a single glass of water.” said Julie, Jack’s mother.


“And you should insult your customers.  That is a basic rule.  Even if they don’t want to buy your product, don’t insult them,” said Jason, Jack’s father.


“So I can’t set the price for my product if there are alternatives that are at a lower cost or free?” said Jack.


“Exactly.” said his parents.  “So what did you learn?”


With a smile, Jack replied, “That if I’m going to do this again, make sure that either there is a draught or turn off all other sources of water.”