Man-child boss (MCB) prided himself on being an entrepreneur. He was always in the market for a new million dollar idea. The problem was, when struck with the lightning bolt of invention, MCB became blinded by his dreams and couldn’t see that his ideas were lacking the all-important sellability factor.
One such idea was an online store featuring fantasy and hippie items. I will call this venture the hippie side business. MCB had an acquaintance who somehow owed him money. In lieu of a monetary payback, MCB made a deal to be paid in merchandise from his friend’s failed store. Note the foreshadowing…
When I came into the picture as the marketing assistant for MCB’s real estate office, he took the opportunity to shoulder on me the responsibility of finding a way to sell this traded merchandise. There were faerie figurines, mini incense burners, spirit beads, glitter candles, and other fantasy-inspired trinkets. It was like the designer from Claire’s collaborated with the production team from the Dollar Store to make the cheapest, cheesiest products for fantasy-lovers. I wondered what consumer would come to a real estate office to buy a faerie necklace, but MCB put my concerns to rest by announcing that he planned to sell off his newly-acquired merchandise on the internet.
Any old E-Bay sale was not considered entrepreneureal enough for MCB. Instead, he planned to create an original website solely for selling off his products. I spent many hours populating the website with the hippie side business products, taking care to label and categorize each product to create an organized warehouse of merchandise. Before the website launched, MCB discovered that he could not afford to pay for a webmaster to run the purchasing functionality of a sales website. I certainly wasn’t able to run a website which took credit cards and arranged shipping for customers, and MCB wasn’t either. So, it was on to plan B: Sell the merchandise to another store.
I was sent out to a trendy area in Miami, Bayside Marketplace, in order to pitch the hippie merchandise to some local candle/trinket stores. I came armed with no speech or data to present, as I had arrived to work that morning with zero warning that I would be sent out to sell nicknacks to strangers. All I had was MCB’s business card and some pictures of the merchandise. When I arrived to the first store, I explained my purpose to the one employee, and they took my (MCB’s) card for their manager. The second store I visited was manned by the store owner. As I pitched the hippie products to this slimy, pastel-shirted, accented man, I could tell he was more interested in me than in my sales attempt. He interrupted me to ask if I was married, instead of taking my business card he asked for my cell phone number, and then at the end he said, “You would have sold me something if you were wearing a mini skirt.” I left the shopping area after my failed attempts, feeling insulted and dirty.
Luckily for me, two failed ideas in a short time was enough for MCB to postpone his delusions of success with his hippie side business, and he never made me go out and attempt to sell the products again. I guess the moral of this story is: Sometimes one man’s trash is another man’s…trash!