Monday, May 12, 2008

Young Entrepreneurs

Funny story...

So I took few days off to move a few weeks ago. The whole moving thing was more than just a little annoying to me. For one thing, I have a lot of stuff. A lot of kitchen stuff, a lot of cake stuff, and a lot of stuff for my other hobbies. And a lot of books. And books are really annoying to move. You have to pack them away in fairly small boxes, and so it takes more boxes, and then you have to move them. Since they have books in them, they're still fairly heavy for their size, so you can't carry more than one at a time, and so it takes more trips. Because I stored most of my stuff in the basement, moving meant hauling all of those boxes up the stairs. And then moving them. And I was moving less than a block away. It was seriously almost close enough that carrying the boxes across the street and down the block would have been easier. Almost. Instead, I hauled boxes up the stairs, packed them into my car, drove a couple of hundred feet, and then unpacked them and took them back down a flight of stairs into the basement of my new place.

So I had been doin this for most of Monday, and was really getting sick of carrying boxes up stairs. So around 4:30 these two boys, who looked around middle school age, came up to me as I'm loading yet another load of boxes into my car, and ask me if that was my car. One was pretty smooth-talking, good-looking and dressed pretty nicely in a button-up shirt. He did most of the talking. The other one was chubbier, and not as quick as the other one. Seemed to be the brain and the brawn of whatever operation they were running. For brevity's sake, I'm going to call them "skinny" and "chubby" for the remainder of this particular post. Chubby was in charge of wheeling around the little black suitcase while skinny seemed to be in charge of schmoozing people.

So the skinny one saunters up to me and says "is that your car?" I felt like saying something fairly sarcastic at this point, but I'm not sure this would have registered on their pre-pubescent brains, so I just said, "Yeah, this is my car." Skinny says, "ten bucks and we could wash it for you!" I explain that I'm kind of in the middle of moving, and really didn't have time to have my car washed. This didn't faze skinny one bit. He countered with offering to get the scratches out of my car. "Really, just pop the hood and I'll show you something amazing!" The kid was good. He kept talking whilst chubby pulled some paper towels out of the suitcase. He actually talked me into popping my hood before I caught myself. "No really, It's amazing! Ten bucks and I'll get scragches out of your car. It's amazing! Really!!" I came back to reality quick enough. One: This is a 12 yr old kid. Not to be trused with anything. Two: we're talking about my car here. I've included a picture for those of you not familiar with my car. Dents, scratches, they all blend in. And If I'm being honest, I kind of prefer it that way.

So I close my hood and try to assure them that there's nothing they could do for my car that I'd be interested in paying them for. Their offers to me were interspersed with various conversations between skinny and chubby conducted in some language the sound of whick I'm not familiar with. This rules out French, Spanish, Itailian, German, Russian, Canadian, and any asian language. They were a little darker skinned, so best I can figure, they were of some kind of middle eastern descent. So skinny pulls these puppy-dog eyes that he's almost too old for. Starts in on this story about how its his mom's birthday and he and his cousin have been working since 7:30 and they had only made $15 and if there was something they could do for only $10, well, then they would have $25 and then they could go to the mall and get something really, really nice for her. And please, please was there anything they could do. Chubby says, "like, maybe we could help you move or something."

The only part of their story that I actually believed was that they were cousins, but all those stairs, and all of those boxes came to mind. I said, "OK. I'll give you ten bucks and all you have to do is move some boxes from the basement up into the living room." They agreed, so I took them inside and showed them where the boxes were and where I wanted to move them. They must have realized that they had just volunteered to do some real work, because skinny tried to get more money out of me at this point. "How about ten bucks each?" On to their game, I stuck to my guns and told them ten bucks total or nothing. They reluctantly agreed and started moving boxes. There were two of them, so it only took 15 or 20 minutes or so.

I'm all for giving credit where credit is due, and once they actually started, they worked steadily and without complaint until they were done. I was making cupcakes and when they got done, chubby asked about "those muffin things" and if he could have one. They did smell good, and I gave each of them one. I didn't need that many cupcakes lying around anyways. It would have been me eating all of them for various breakfasts, and I would have been OK with that, but giving a few of them away assured that I would probably eat all of the remaining ones before I began to be tired of eating cupcakes. Not a point I want to reach any time soon. So chubby most likely did me a favor here.

Maybe it was poor planning on my part, but I hadn't really planned on having to pay anyone ten bucks that day, so I only had a 20. I worried that they might not have change, but they had said that they had made $15 already that day, so If they didn't have change, I guess I could call them out on their story-telling, and figure something out. As it was, when they were done, I said that I would give them a twenty and they could give me ten back. Chubby readily agreed and whips a wad of cash from his pocket. He must have had at least $70 in there, but I gave him twenty, he gave me ten, and everyone was happy. They were happy with the cupcakes and having made an extra buck, and I was happy that $10 was all it cost me to not have to carry that many boxes up those blasted stairs!

There were a few kinks in their story, like when chubby saw a little TV in the basement and wanted to buy it off of me because "he really needed one in his room" or when he pulled out 4x the cash he had claimed to have, but give these kids a few years, and they will be able to charm the pants off of a snake. Or however that saying goes. Quite the ambitious little kids. I think the best I did as a 12 yr old is a lemonade stand that didn't make any money. Seeing as they were actually willing to break a sweat, I say kudos to them!

I am now happily moved (and not so happily un-packing), and I'd like to thank all of those people (paid and unpaid) who assisted me in this undertaking.

1 comment:

  1. that's awesome K. Nice work on playing their game. It's like "are you smarter than a sweet talking pair of 7th graders". My doctoral student sister can say fo shizzle!