If fifth graders ran the economy
They would show up in little dress shirts, ties and dresses, and place their hands over their hearts for the morning national anthem by Mariah Carey, played over loudspeakers. They would lure their customers with storefront signs that say, "Publix Special of the Day - Glow Sticks, $1" and "Come on in!!! We can meet your financial needs!!!"
They would form long, single-file lines to make careful deposits at the bank, and no one would roll their eyes, complain or look at their watches. They would love their jobs, whether at a hospital or a McDonald's, and they would put out newspapers with only happy news about the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup two years ago and fun personal experiences.
"Have you ever had the experience of having your drawing on the Walk-A-Thon T-shirt?" Courtney Smithgall wrote in a recent daily edition. "Well, I have and I'm going to tell you how I felt ...''
Inside the 15,000-square-foot center is a row of shops, designed by local companies to look like the real thing. A little University Community Hospital clinic has little staffers in lab coats and diagrams of medical conditions. Kids can walk in to get weighed, measured and tested for vision problems.
A mini Publix is stocked with cereal and paper towels and trash bags, and a portrait of founder George W. Jenkins hangs on the wall. Raymond James is filled with cherry wood executive furniture, and the little financial advisers stand around in ties and suits. The McDonald's sells chicken nuggets, cookies and drinks that kids can buy during their breaks.
A little mayor and supervisor of elections run the chamber of commerce, where kids can take opinion polls on real voting machines, and Verizon and TECO collect the other businesses' fees for their services.
And over at Publix, a chamber of commerce representative came by and offered a "Business Member" sign that the managers displayed proudly at the front of the store. Then they found out they had to pay $2 in dues and wanted to know if they could give back the sign. They couldn't.
Leo Ledesma was settling into his job selling pretend stock certificates for Raymond James, which wasn't so bad for a financial company. "At first, I thought Raymond James had to do with sports," he said. "Then I learned it was mostly for retirement. And that's good, because I like old people."
March 25, 2006 | Permalink
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Five year olds aren't the same thing as fifth graders. Children in fifth grade are ten or eleven years old. Cute article, though! Well, cute in an ominous way, like those miniature shopping carts at the grocery store which have a flag reading "Consumer in Training".
Posted by: angela at Mar 26, 2006 9:42:51 AM