Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Little Christmas Larceny

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Illustration not indicative of story to follow.


A true story of why you should never do business with relatives!

We lived in southern Indiana from when I was eight until I was thirteen. One of those Christmases, closer to eight, I think, my siblings decided to go into the jewelry business. Now, I had sold a lot of stuff door to door during those years for spending money. I sold seeds and greeting cards and mistletoe, and one year I sold handmade jewelry.

My older brother and sister were in charge of production. They assembled ear rings and pendants made from cork balls, with straight pins holding a variety of beads sticking out like porcupine quills, tied with velvet ribbons. The idea was that my brother and sister would make them and then, sit at home in a nice, warm house while I went door to door, in chilly December, to look up with cheeks rosy from the cold at the homeowners and ask them if they wanted to buy some jewelry. (Christmas was coming soon, don'tcha know?)

I don't remember what percentage of the profits they offered me. I don't believe it was an equal share. After all, I was sales, they were management. So I bundled up and and started selling our wares door to door. Early in the endeavor, I got flustered by a question in the middle of my sales pitch and accidentally quoted the wrong price. A higher price. Which the customer paid.

Aha! Our goods are underpriced, I thought to myself. So, the new, higher price became the list price for the rest of the day. And because I was pretty good at math, I was able to calculate the difference between my siblings' asking price and the actual retail prices. So, when I finally made my way home, that amount found its way into a different pocket, and returning to the warmth of hearth and home, cheerfully gave my siblings what we had "made". They were overjoyed. I had met or exceeded their expectations. They split the money between us and congratulated themselves on having persuaded their little brother to be the one hustling out in the cold. While I, on the other hand, congratulated myself for being the one, hustling out in the cold.

Ah, the sordid tales of wayward youth!

5 comments:

  1. Sounds like capitalism to me. They got their asking price. You found the price the market would pay for the goods and everyone goes home winner!
    Of course you reported those earnings to the revenuers, didn't you?
    Good story Proof.
    Merry Christmas, Sir.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Is it too late to file an amended return?
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, as well!

    ReplyDelete
  3. A Little Rule 5 Linkage http://tinyurl.com/28tsz7b

    ReplyDelete
  4. I thought I was a clever child, selling Joseph Barr dollars to my great aunt for a buck and a quarter. I don't hold a candle to you!

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  5. Mrs. C: Never underestimate the entrepreneurial spirit! Heh.

    ReplyDelete

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