After working 27 years in this “Crazy Business” it dawned on me one morning that I’m actually good at what I do. I know that I’ve hired fired, bought & sold, merchandise and marketed but I never took a moment to think that I was actually good at what I did. It felt good to take that moment before taking another customer, buying some new item, dealing with a crazy bid or just working along to take this moment. I hope I can have another moment like this before another 27 years pass.
In my Crazy Business people change moods as if their changing a mask. They go from hot to cold in an instant and it may have nothing really to do with what is occurring in front of them. Of course events might trigger some reaction but those events trigger an entirely different emotion ten minutes later. We all know morning time can be bright for some and dark for others but many go to the vampire stage when waking up “too early” while some appear to be at the club instead. It makes for an interesting mix that continues to change on a moment’s basis. Keeping my emotions in balance is if I’m walking on a balance beam and sometimes even I can slip. I guess in the end having an insane business keeps things interesting sometimes though it’s too interesting and a bit of deep breathing might help instead.
I’m standing inside and I hear this woman whine as if someone stepped on both her feet. When I went outside the rant continued for at least ten minutes with a cry from the stress of the event. What caused this pain? Well we gave this lady the wrong side of an item and were exchanging it as she was giving us the riot act, but again sorry didn’t matter.
Throughout my business years there are some customers who can’t accept a mistake. No matter how many years of tirelessly work that you’ve done for them one mistake and the …. hits the fan and the wall. For the business is not just a place to get their supplies but displace any anger they have for family, friends or society as a whole. It takes years to realize that no matter how hard you try that you are only human and as a human we tend to make mistakes whether they accept or not. I’m sorry that in my “Crazy Business” this reality doesn’t seep into the dream word of some of my customers.
I sometimes believe that Chuck Jones (the creator of Looney Tunes) secretly works for this “Crazy Business” for every cartoon character truly exists at my business. We have a character who has the wit & sarcasm of the good old “Bugs” and someone as “Daffy” as that duck and this only includes two of our workers. Our customers include many a “Speedy Gonzales as well as the intellect of Foghorn Loghorn (the big chicken). There is one difference though our characters where clothes ….(most of the time).
A Crazy Business can take the life out of you as if you were fighting in a championship match. You battle the punches of blizzards, hurricanes and ever storm in between to get to work on time and alive. Many a time you feel like throwing a punch when your honor or values are being assaulted but have to take the grunt of the punishment if you are to lessen your opponents strength. It is not enough to show up for the match but continue to fight every moment to bring in new customers, purchase items, deal with customer/worker complaints, fix emergencies that come from all directions, deal with attitudes from everyone around you, and still keep fighting forward. At times it will feel as if your legs and brain will give way to the punishment you’ve absorbed but if you stay strong you will become victorious. A victory that way to often you celebrate alone.
I would be writing this blog in a 50×50 cell, if I was called upon to act on my anger at that moment. For my father aged overnight as he discovered one of his trusted associates “His accountant” was stealing the monies that were intended to pay the business taxes. This man had gone to our biggest family celebration and was treated as if he was part of the family and yet he had the nerve to commit such a heinous act that not only could have put the entire business in jeopardy but sent my father to that 50×50 cell. Luckily we resolved this peacefully and I’m writing this blog from the free world (sorta free President Obama is still President).
The betrayal of stealing is factor that has continued to haunt this “Crazy Business”. We have had so many close people steal from us that trust has been thrown out the window years ago and replaced with camera’s. Drug habits have been the cause of many a great person turning to this evil behavior and once a thief they can hardly kick this habit as well. Stealing has made it difficult to hire people from the same family as we have seen wife’s steal while their husband supposedly didn’t know. Many a thief will try to frame another person for the actions but through the use of camera’s the truth finally does come out. The truth is stealing has put this entire “Crazy Business” in handcuff’s as we lose the freedom that trust enables a business to grow in fun and profits.
My work’s at the “crazy business” can be seen through the eye’s of a secret agent. Don’t worry it’s not if I reveal these works to you that I will have to kill you but that these works are unbeknownst to those that are most effected by them. I didn’t save the world but might have saved a few pieces of lumber and screws along the way. For running a small business means you take on challenges that many have walked away from yet nobody gives you the applause or even a clap when it is done.
It was up to me to computerize this business and with a D in computer skills at my University I was just the man not to do it. Not only did I get my only D or so from this class but it was achieved with a lot of help from my friends. Yet I was determined to get this job done so I would wake up an extra hour early everyday and do this work before the rooster was up. It was accomplished and I kept my identity hidden with only a few to know.
Sales are hardly achieved from the first ten calls to a prospective client and it can happen suddenly when you’re not even in the office. These new clients bring additional wealth to your business but only when they don’t pay is your identity revealed. Then your fault lines are brought into clear focus with the many victories in the past hidden from public view.
Adding new products to the mix or finding a new way to display them adds growth to stagnant water but only when those products crash and fall does a secret agents/buyers identity be revealed. Many of the new products you bring in will be challenged from the first day they are seen or heard from and when they sell nobody can remember who was able to bring them to market in the first place.
My work as a secret agent at this “Crazy Business” continues and although I may not save the world I hope to add more life to this business. It may be done without the acclaim and recognition of others yet I continue to fight on for the adventure in my “Crazy Business” begins anew everyday. The adventure of knowing you have made a difference even if nobody really knows how much.
It was just another day but this day my sensitivity button was on and when the word “Brucie” was directed at me I charged this 250lb individually as if I was a raging bull… all 150lbs of me. This was a different time when I was as sensitive as the current American culture and although this could have resulted in me getting my head knocked out or being accused of employee abuse it had to occur. For at the point I had to prove “in my head” that I would get the respect I deserved. Gaining respect or feeling one’s lost it is why most of the fights at this “crazy business” occur many don’t end with punches but verbal abuse to the point as if it feels as if someone was knocked out. Don’t get me wrong we’ve had our fist to fist fights as well with a few pieces of Oak added to the mix but this is the exception and not the rule. When physical fights have occurred there is usually blood and a hospital stay for those that lose but rarely do the police come unless it’s to place bets.
One fight occurred before we even entered the place and resulted in a temporary new entrance to our building. In this fight a prostitute didn’t get paid for her “car service fee” so she decided to take it out on her customer while he was driving. Unfortunately the customer didn’t know where the brake was and smashed right into the store leaving a gaping hole in the side of our building as we started the day. That fight proved that not only can people get hurt but buildings as well.
I had all my plans set in stone well maybe scrap paper (because they changed so often) but one was left off the page working for my family business. I was going to buy a gas station near my college in Rhode Island but then thought about the potential and my skills and that idea fell by the waste side. My entrepreneurial spirit led me to think about a store to sell all new inventions on consignment but as I was building the business plan I realized where my true expertise lied and how much monies I would need to open such an operation. Therefore logic replaced emotional desire and I decided that I would get involved in the business that I knew since I was only a preteen but on my terms.
” Buddy Building Products by BW” was born a sales representative business that happened to sell supplies from my family business. I would hit the road 5 days a week using an old fashion device “the Yellow Pages” to drum up leads. In the morning I would cold call 100’s of leads (maybe more like 50) to get a bite and if I didn’t get a bite that way I’d hunt them down in their office. Many a door was slammed in my face but over months and with persistence the doors began to be open and I started to make a living. I was no millionaire but at least I could afford my rent and food on the table for me and my dog. Yet as time went on I realized that I had to spend a bit more time in the office to make sure supplies were actually items were delivered to my customers, and that they paid their bills. That time changed from one day once a week to two and three … I think you get the point. I also realized “logically” that if I dedicated my time in the office that I would receive the other benefits (health insurance, free lunches etc) that I was missing on my own. Maybe if I spent more time with the family business I would have more time to build the other enterprise correctly. Yet once the steps into the family business began “Buddy Building Products by BW” was about to end and the steps would lead to 27 years in this “Crazy Business”.
In the beginning G-D made… oops wrong story but just like the creation of the world a business has to start from some intelligence source or at least has to bought from a wise source. My father started out working in various businesses climbing his way up the ladder from the mean streets of Brooklyn. He worked his way from making boxes for his Uncle all the way to opening his own Children Clothing Business. Business was great and he even met a lovely lady along the way my mother but other loved one’s weren’t so dear. When his partner (my Uncle) decided to invest the profits and other monies into the ponies my father knew the time for Children’s clothing was gone. If my father had stayed in the clothing business then it would have skipped my generation because my taste of fashion is from his generation or so.
My father was stuck with two children in the house and no where to go he decided to try his hand in the contracting business. Working 7 days a week he pulled himself to become a successful contractor yet the city wasn’t kind to his type. For the color of his skin wasn’t dark enough for him to get the contracts he earned and although his work was outstanding and at a great price they sold him down that ladder. About this time and old man decided it was time to get out of the building material business and my father had the good sense to know it was his time to jump in. He worked tirelessly at this store with the help of his associates in the contracting business.
At this time I was only in my early teens and spent time at the Yard mainly to be with the Old man and have a great Egg Creme (with real Fox Syrup) at the local store. Although I tried to help I think I spent more time making Kites (that didn’t fly) out of the dowels at the store. This was also a time when the sticks and stones of school bullies lead to feelings of insecurity and also a feeling that I would one day proof something to them and the world as a whole.