Featured near a patio table outside the Handyman Hardware & Lumberyard in Waukesha, Wisconsin, two Boy Scouts from local troop #421 were hawking hot dogs to raise money for an upcoming camping trip. Their handmade poster-board advertisement was indeed a sign of the times, featuring the "Bad Economy Special"; Hot dogs were only $1.
Jake Miller and Terry Westin, both 15 years old, had come up with the idea to feature a quick lunch option for do it yourself shoppers on a Saturday afternoon. A small camping grill and initial investments for hot dogs, buns and condiments were all the boys needed to kick off their fundraiser, and most who heard their sales pitch were willing to donate to the cause. That was until the already committed consumers read the fine print on the makeshift menu that was neatly duct-taped to the patio table.
No strangers to fundraising or marketing practices, Miller and Westin had secured legal counsel to validate their truth in advertising position for the $1 hot dogs, given the opportunity to upsell on added features to the main product. The hot dog was only a dollar, and you received one on a paper napkin, without a bun. The bun was an additional dollar, mustard or catsup was 50 cents a squirt, onions or relish was a 75 cent upcharge per dog.
Still cheaper that ordering one at the ballpark, most customers didn't complain, though a few grumbles could be heard by customers on the way back to their cars. One man who preferred to remain nameless had commented, "I wanted onions but the boy charged me a quarter for the spoon so I could dig them out of the jar. I told him to look me up when he gets out of school. He's got a job with me as a salesman, anytime".
Net profits from the sale, after deductions for food, propane for the grill and legal fees, came in at just under $500. The money will be used to fund the camping trip food purchases for the entire troop, which of course will include plenty of the same mystery meat sausage that fits neatly into a bun. Troop 421 Scoutmaster Larry Kowalski praised the boys for their efforts, but also commented, "There are two things I probably don't want to know too much about. How they make hot dogs, and how these boys sell 'em. I'm told however, that both practices are actually legal".