Just For Fun

December 22, 2011

What’s Your Earliest Business Memory?

business memoryIf you grew up in the 80’s or had kids in the 80’s you are likely familiar with the image to the left.  Even if you are a guy and were busy playing with Transformers, you no doubt still recognize this as a My Little Pony toy that was hugely popular with girls in the 80’s.

I wanted this My Little Pony.  In fact, I wanted all of the My Little Ponies but my parents weren’t about to shell out for my pony obsession.  Thankfully, at this point in my life we were living in Egypt so the only time we had access to buying My Little Ponies was during the Summer when we’d come back to spend summer vacation with the grandparents.   And as doting as they were, my grandparents remembered the Great Depression and were in no way about to spend a bunch of money on plastic ponies no matter how much I tried to convince them.

Which only left me with one choice.  I had to make the money myself if I wanted to get my hands on a My Little Pony (or ten!).  I distinctly remember looking around the lakeside cottage neighborhood where my grandparents had a home and realizing that the market was already full of lemonade stands and cute kids selling home-baked goodies on the roadside.  See, it was my first understanding of market dynamics and the realization that if so many other people were already doing it, getting into the same biz in an already crowded marketplace wasn’t a good idea.

Instead I closely watched the folks in the neighborhood (ethnographic research!) and realized that one market that hadn’t yet been tapped was selling worms to the early morning fishermen who were headed out onto the lake.   Sure, there was competition from the mini mart down the street that had worms on ice, but I had something the mini mart owner didn’t – I had access to fresh worms (locovore!) and everyone knows that trout prefer fresh worms to frozen (marketing strategy!).  Granted, I also happened to be a pretty darn cute 7-year-old with blond curls and all the neighbors knew my grandparents well, but I’m sure nepotism didn’t play in my business success.

And the business was a huge success that summer.  I would get up early in the morning and dig up fresh worms (which I’m sure my grandparents were so happy I did in their garden – however, from a business standpoint it meant my Cost of Goods Sold was pretty much zero!) and then while the other kids would set up their lemonade and baked goods stands, I – dirty fingernails and all – set up the neighborhood’s only worm stand.

I should also note that at some point during the summer I also managed to convince my younger sister that we should pool our allowance together into this My Little Pony fund as well so as to maximize our purchasing power (mergers and acquisitions) because she would also certainly benefit from more ponies to play with.

If I remember correctly, we managed to head back to Egypt with four or five new My Little Ponies in our backpack and I’m sure we drove our parents and other airplane seatmates up the wall enacting various My Little Pony stories throughout the entire transatlantic flight.

What about you?  What’s your earliest business memory?

Related Articles:

One comment on “What’s Your Earliest Business Memory?

  • Jimmy on said:

    Pretty much the same memory for me. Except the My Little Ponies were baseball cards and the worms were cans of soda. I bought them for a quarter and sold them for 50 cents at school back when sodas were unavailable at school. Then I got detention. I probably have 10 or 12 cents worth of baseball cards to represent the $80 I spent.