The Other Half usually shies away from the limelight on the blog, but he’s come out of hiding for his annual guest post to celebrate Little Miss’ birthday…
At the age of about twelve, fed up with the exorbitant prices of the school tuck shop, I decided to get into the Sugar Racket and start my own unofficial tuck shop.
– You might be thinking, but what does this have to do with Little Miss? We’ll get to that –
So I got started:
- I conducted market research (asking school mates what their favourite sugary snacks were)
- Found a supplier (negotiated the use of cash & carry card from a family friend)
- Defined my offer (planned the product list)
- Set out my point of difference (calculated my retail price – deciding to take a margin hit so as to undercut the official shop)
- Built my inventory (stocked up)
- Found premises (rented two lockers next to each other in the common room)
- Promoted my business (gave out free samples and even did a bit of viral marketing, using the internal school email system to promote my new business)
The shop was a big success. Business was good. And, more importantly, I made a lot of money – bringing home roughly £150 profit per week. I even took on staff who ran the shop for a nominal fee (it’s amazing what kids will do for a couple of free laces), which was useful when I was otherwise pre-occupied with work… or detention.
For one glorious week, the two Aussie exchange students who ran the then official shop went back home for a holiday and I was the only tuck shop in town. I had a monopoly… and I could charge what I wanted…
But as quickly as it had started, however, it all came tumbling down one lunch time.
On the Wednesday of that week – and with the boys of our school all feeling like addicts going into withdrawal – our common room was overrun with hordes of jittery Year 8s looking for a quick sugary fix. As I stood taking orders from the baying crowd and barking orders at my staff it suddenly went quiet.
The crowd parted and there stood my House Master. My days of being a Sugar Kingpin were over.
I managed to get a reduced detention sentence by offering to donate a portion of my turnover to the school charity and that was it, I was out of the Sugar Racket for good.
Anyway, all this leads me to say that one of my proudest moments of the last year came last weekend. We were in the park when Little Miss asked for Amie’s coffee cup. She ran into the jungle gym and popped up at the little window (which looks like a coffee shop counter) and without skipping a beat asked, “coffee?”. What made this moment even better was LM’s apparent penchant for business at not-quite-two.
So below I give you Little Miss’ Guide to Business:
1. Procure used coffee cup
2. Set up make-shift coffee shop in local playground
3. Entice punters (parents) by sweetly offering ‘coffee’ (which you know them to be dependent on)
4. Demand loose change as payment
5. Wait until imaginary coffee is imbibed, then reacquire coffee cup
6. Repeat steps 3-5 until until one parent has run out of money
7. Repeat whole process on other parent
8. When both parents are destitute – and need coins for parking – make them your slaves.
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