Saturday, September 1, 2012

I ran a small business

I watched pieces of the the Republican convention. I learned how a woman with a child with Alzheimer's husband started making upholstery. Her family built that business, so they say. If you listen closely you might notice they sold to the Defense Department (government) the Little League (municipal government) Israel (had to be coordinated through the State Department) but they did it on their own. Well they wold have gotten a tax break if they had a handicapped child. Anyway, I began to think that  I have never run a small business. Then I remembered Tasty Maid.

My one experience of operating a small business occurred when an older guy on my block came up to me with an idea. "Look", he said, "the kids around here love Lik-m-Maid but they can't buy it on their own."  This was because they, unlike us, were not allowed to go on Essex Street, the commercial boulevard one block over.  "We can buy it at Breslow's and sell it to them at twice the price!"

My contribution to the business plan was twofold. We would put a cute label over the Lik-m-Maid label and call it Tasty Maid. We would also take the names of all the purchasers and put them in a contest. At the end of the month we would have a drawing and pick out a prize. I don't remember what the prize was.

On the fateful day, we put all the names in a jar and pulled out two names. The first was random and the second I cheated because my mother wanted to make sure one of the girls who had bought too much Tasty Maid would at least win a prize.

Here I learned the basic rules of business. Have a product people want. Repackage it to make a profit. Market the product. Keep your landlord happy. I wonder how my story would have gone over at the Republican convention.

Editor's note: The Republican convention had that pseudo patriotism that reminded me of the Art Linkletter show. That's what we all want. The return of Art Linkletter.

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