My Sandwich Shop for Cali Boy Stoners
While other kids on the block were fussing around with lemonade stands or selling Christmas wrapping paper to neighbors, I was planning world domination by taking my first attempt as an entrepreneur; all at the young age of 10 years old.
Wait, What? Okay, okay, let me back up a bit here, so I can explain some things. I am the youngest of five in my family with a gap of 14 years between the oldest and youngest sibling. At the age of 10 I witnessed my older sister go gaga over boys and my brothers getting into trouble, all while watching my two working parents go mad trying to keep the household together. Everyone tells me I must have been spoiled since I was the youngest, but that is far from the truth. With a busy household of mostly teenagers I was pretty much the "easier" one to deal with. I talk loud and fast as an adult, which I believe is a result of how I tried to gain attention as a child. This may sound like a sad neglected child story, but I promise you its not. The truth is my parents trusted me, so I grew up with minimal supervision. My dad told me something at the age of 10 that changed my perspective on life forever and I love him for that. He told me, "Mija, there is just something about you. No matter what, I know you are going to be okay." I took those words to heart and since then I believe I can do anything.
So lets get back to 1991. Nirvana's Nevermind album dropped signifying the start of the Grunge era. By Christmas it was very popular to defy your parents, wear graphic tees and flannels and smoke pot. Since I had two working parents, very often my brother Vinny and his friends would hang out in our backyard after school. I quickly noticed they were always hungry, raiding the fridge or going to the market around the corner for snacks. I was too young to understand they were smoking pot, but what I observed was a clientele of hungry teenagers. I immediately saw it as an opportunity to sell sandwiches to them. I pulled my sister Natalie into my idea and convinced her to help me. We made sandwiches by just pulling ingredients from the kitchen and bagging them up individually in cheap sandwich bags my mom purchased at the 99 Cent Store. We busted up a family size bag of chips and bagged those individually as well for sale. Our store front was the panels of our fence in the backyard with each item priced at $0.50. For about three days I was in business. It wasn't until the third day that my dad came home early from work and saw what I was doing. I recall him coming up to me and my sister asking us "how much?" as we stocked the shelf. We offered him a discount of $0.25 for a sandwich or bag of chips. He gladly paid us with two quarters.
Later on that evening my dad sat me down and explained the importance of overhead costs and labor. He brought out all the ingredients I used for the sandwiches from the mayo to the cheap 99 Cent Store bags. He had me place all the items on the kitchen table and cost everything out. He also had me account for hourly pay for a part-time employee (my sister), rental of the shelf space, storage costs, and gas for delivery. Lets just say after calculating it all I was in the red....big time. Although my little sandwich shop was shut down I learned a valuable lesson of basic fundamentals of owning a small business. Just know, its those little moments in life as a child that really shape you into who you become as an adult. Whether its a lesson in business or encouraging words from a loving father. Side note: I discovered shortly afterwards that prior to my chat with my father, my brother got in massive trouble and was grounded for a week. Lets just say even if my business was profitable, my clientele was removed indefinitely. Sorry Vinny!
Until next time, be cool.