As I stared at the old gas station, I could just imagine what it would look like once I had converted it to a bait shop. It seemed easy enough, sign your life away in loans, and make fistfuls of money everyday. I could envision myself with my new U.G.B.S. boat cruising the lake, waving to all the potential customers giving out samples of my worms to try out. Life would be good! Shoot, the truth was that I would be lucky to even see the inside of the boat, let alone give anything away. I could imagine myself at the big round table with all of the people who were going to loan me money… (Start daydream sequence, here.)
scarcely had the ink begun to dry on the all the contracts which included times of the months that I owed people money, or, they said, the problems would begin.
Standing in front of my new bait shop I swallowed hard, trying to figure out if I had made a bad decision, when the worm guy showed up, and began off loading worms faster than I could process them.
“How do you do this so fast?” I asked the guy.
“Listen! When you’ve been humpin’ worms around the State for as long as I have, you get pretty fast at it.” He paused, and then added. “ Plus I owe the folks some money.” I nodded knowingly. I knew of the folks he spoke of, because I owed them money, too. After cutting the worm guy a check for money that didn’t belong to me, but to… the folks; who I would have to pay back later…with lots of interest. The worm guy shot out the door. But as he went out he shouted over his shoulder.
“With the change in season, don’t forget to treat your worms. They’ll get the germ, and THEN you’ll have troubles.”
Thinking that the worm guy was having some word play fun with the new bait shop owner, I ignored everything the worm guy said, and stocked the worms in the fridge. Then dusted my flies, rotated my hooks , and greased my sinkers to insure the advertised sink rates. Once all that was done, I shut off the lights, and mentally prepared for opening morning which was the next day. As I lay in bed drifting off to sleep, the worm guys words about worm treatments came to me.
The next morning started early, at 3:00a.m. so I could open the store so fishermen could get their bait before launching their boats to start their day of fishing. Upon entering the store, I was immediately alerted to the sound of what sounded like muffled sneezes. When I began to investigate, I found that the noise was coming from the fridge where I had placed the worms the evening before. A look closer and I found that the noise was coming from the containers themselves. When I open the containers I found a worm at the top of the dirt suddenly burst forth with what I thought was worm fart. There are two ends, so it was 50/50.
I called the worm guy to come back to the store. I was ready to demand a refund for gassy worms, because the customers wouldn’t want to purchase them in that condition. Before I knew it he rounded on me.
“You forgot to treat ‘em didn’t ya?” He asked bitterly. “Now you got ‘em sneezing all over the place.” They’re sneezing? I thought quickly. Then my attention went back to the worm guy. “Oh well, now you are going to have to shut the place down, and get the vets in there to treat the sick, little buggers. Could cost you a small fortune! You should have treated ‘em like I said.” I could hear his disgust through the phone.
My mouth hung open in shock. “But they are bait!” I retorted. “ These things are going on a hook to be served to fish!”
“Nope, sorry buddy.” The worm guy said. “When you agreed to sell my worms, you agreed to keep them healthy until they got ON the hook. You throw these guys away, how am I going to be able to trust you with any more worms?”
“!” I responded, shaking my head. (End daydream sequence, here.)
That is probably not too far from the truth of business ownership. It is the silly issues you do not see that make the everyday workings of business tough. No doubt it is not fair. Like the “legitimate business” that sell goods and services that go under, as opposed to a business created on a whim. Like the lady who started a business selling pencil that had a bacon flavor. Merithy’s “Bacon Flavored Pencils”, made a mint in money the first week they were in business. Then it’s not even for the pencils themselves, but the bumper stickers they sold.
With regards to opening a bait shop, I guess it’s like my buddy, Quill Gordon says; “If you open the bait store you will get to sit and listen to other people tell THEIR fishing stories, instead of telling your own.” After careful consideration I suppose I can let one dream go, if it means I can keep another one alive.