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lemoneater (56.74)

My Earliest Sales Experience



November 30, 2010 – Comments (7) | RELATED TICKERS: F , UN , D

My earliest sales experience was not selling lemonade--although that would have been appropriate! It was selling little decorative pillows that my mother sewed and I stuffed. I was about 5 at the time. We made four pillows and they all sold rapidly. We had a good sales location. I was living in Apache Junction, AZ. People were always coming and going on the sidewalk by our house.

I was not entirely pleased by our success. I had wanted to keep a pillow for myself because they were pretty. 

The reason for this mini-fundraiser was that I had broken a brand new window that my father had left out on the lawn in preparation to installing it. Thinking back, he should have leaned it against the house where it was more visible, but I did learn some valuable lessons. (1) Glass is breakable. (2) Be careful what you step on. (3) Crafts are fun! (4) Sell things to make money.

What is the earliest sales/retail experience you remember?


7 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 30, 2010 at 10:37 AM, Mary953 (85.28) wrote:

The first monetary exchanges were things like selling girl scout cookies or singing carols on Christmas Eve with the money going to  a "day home" or in more modern terms, a daycare center for underprivileged.  I didn't get to keep any of the money I made until I started babysitting at age 12 or 13.

Lessons learned - A good babysitter is hard to find and parents will try very hard to hang on to that person.  At this point, I would know enough to post advertising flyers at church or on mailboxes.   Information is power.  (I will give you the name of my babysitter if you will ....)   Supply and demand should have allowed me to raise my prices - except that I didn't know basic economics at 12.

I also learned how to write checks.  When my mom realized that I was carrying an increasing amount of money with me, we went to the bank and I got my first checking account.  At that point, sales clerks began calling my mother to find out if "this kid" actually had her own checking account.  Sweet!

One other thing - There was a basic difference in the personalities of people who figured things to the last penny and those who rounded up or added a tip!

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#2) On November 30, 2010 at 12:31 PM, lemoneater (56.74) wrote:

Thanks, Mary, that is exactly the sort of memory I was looking for :)

Once I got a box of Keebler Pecan Sandies as a babysitting tip. The father had a job with Keebler.

Another time I got two pounds of frozen Louisiana shrimp. I was in WV at the time. The family I was babysitting for were originally from LA and had the idea of selling seafood locally. It didn't work out too well, not enough demand. But I enjoyed the shrimp once I learn how to prepare it.

Does anyone know how many girl scout cookies were sold last year?


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#3) On November 30, 2010 at 4:03 PM, FleaBagger (27.57) wrote:

lemoneater - My first sales experience came when I was 4 or 5 and my mother told me I couldn't have any money to buy ice cream from the ice cream man because his prices were so high, and that same ice cream was less than half as much at Costco. Well, I did research and found that Costco's ice cream was somewhere in the vicinity of a tenth of what the ice cream man was selling it for, so I asked Mom to buy me some at Costco, which she did. She was flabbergasted when I started selling the contents of that warehouse store box to the other kids of the neighborhood at prices that ran about twice as high as the cost per, and yet were just a fraction of the ice cream man's. I believe I started with my favorite kind (and ate some of the stock), but I soon realized which kind had the biggest markup between Costco's prices and a price where I could comfortably undercut the ice cream man. I even had an employee: a boy one year older than I, whom I paid to go around to the other kids in the apartment complex and advertise my low prices. It was a lot of fun, and after the first box I always paid Mom to replenish my stock, undercutting Dad's worries about whether or not I should be allowed to keep the money. I was a more or less successful entrepreneur before the age of 6.

My business came to a sad end when the ice cream man, feeling the sting of the reduced business, called the bureaucrats and had them shut me down for being unlicensed or in violation of some health regulation (though all the ice cream was individually wrapped - nothing remotely unsanitary about it). I guess that experience still colors my views

Mary953 - Sometimes people will pay a good babysitter more than agreed upon or raise their pay if they're concerned about competing with another couple for her (or his) time one weekend. If you're worth it, though, it's always better to ask for more money than to wait for someone to offer it to you.

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#4) On November 30, 2010 at 4:53 PM, lemoneater (56.74) wrote:

Fleabagger, wonderful story! Your research abilities have stood you in good stead:) 

Evidently the icecream man couldn't face free market competition. Spoil sport!

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? 

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#5) On November 30, 2010 at 5:42 PM, Mary953 (85.28) wrote:

Fleabagger, I would say "Where were you when I was 12?"  but at that age, I wouldn't have had the nerve to ask for a higher than average going rate.  Even if I had, it would have made my parents look as though we 'needed' the money (or in some other way embarrassed them).  The adults set the prices and the kids said, "Thank you."  Think Happy Days, Leave it to Beaver, etc.  Much more respectful of our elders even if the TV shows are a bit too old. 

Alternately, some people are more entreprenurial than others.  You were obviously a gifted capitalist!

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#6) On November 30, 2010 at 8:38 PM, baldheadeddork (25.44) wrote:

My earliest sales experience? Developing a copyright on using ticker symbols to spell out a word, for use when none of the tickers have anything to do with the story you're writing.

You owe me $50. 

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#7) On December 01, 2010 at 8:15 AM, lemoneater (56.74) wrote:

@ #6 Sorry to disappoint you about no analysis on the ticker companies, but I will rely on your sense of humor to come to your rescue. :)

 F--I think that Ford will do well. It generated a lot of good will simply by not taking federal monies--i.e taxpayer dollars. We own a Ford Focus and will probably buy another one when we need to replace it. From what I can tell, you know much more about Ford than I do.

UN--Another ticker for Unilever which also has the ticker UL. Why would one company have two stock tickers which are both available on the same stock exchanges. Anybody know? I have UL because I have enough Unilever products on my shelves that I should have it in my portifolio.

D--I don't know anything about this energy company. It seems to have a low P/E so it might be a value, but then again it might be a dud.

P.S. Some baldheaded men are quite dynamic. Mr. T, Captain Picard, etc. so I don't feel sorry for you. Have a good day!

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