Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A hard lesson in supply and demand

When I was a young boy I tried various ways of making money, as many children often do. Since my parents were right there and we had a decent supply of fairly thick paper in the house (scrapped printouts from Dad's work) I decided I could make bookmarks and sell them. I scribbled on a page, cut it neatly into long rectangles, and my parents patiently bought one each for the wildly inflated sum of 20 cents.

This is where my tiny brain began to misunderstand the economy of the situation. "If one bookmark gets me 20 cents," I thought to myself, "then 10 bookmarks will get me $2!" I began scribbling and cutting, even designing in new features such as a line marker arrow to show where on the page you had finished reading. With my genius new bookmarks, I once again made my sales pitch to my parents, who explained to me that they simply didn't need that many bookmarks. I thought maybe I could sell them to the neighbours, if we went door to door, but again (saving us all some embarrassment) I was turned down before that plan got off the ground. I had oversupplied my market and my thriving bookmark business was done before it really got started.

At other times, my friends and I picked mulberries from a tree in our back yard, packaged them in cups and managed to sell some to the neighbours, who were probably (again) just being polite, but I believe we ran out of customers before we ran out of our small cups of over-ripe bitter berries.

I can't recall any other money-making schemes I undertook, but I do remember every time feeling either disheartened at the lack of demand or being denied the opportunity to sell my wares. I don't know if this ruined the entrepreneurial spirit in me or if I never had a good grasp of the concept in the first place.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - In either case, I haven't started any businesses lately.
PPS - Or created any products to sell, either.

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