Mr. Caudill’s Apples
By Jim Fannin
“Dad, can I have a dollar?” He replied with a laugh, “I don’t have a dollar. You’ll have to earn your own dollar.” “Well, how do I do that?” I asked with the utmost naiveté. My father looked me in the eye and said, “You can’t make a buck until you sell something or do something. That’s a job!”
With that thought I walked to the nearby gas station and asked for a job. The man looked at me and laughed, “Your Dad know you’re here?” “No sir,” I politely replied. “Well, I’ll pay you ten cents a day to wipe the car windshields.” After four attempts that took too long with poor results, he gently fired me. I was too short to provide the “something to do” to make a buck. And it would’ve taken me forever to make a buck. Providing a service was not going to get it done. I was almost eight years old at the time.
A few days later I was trying my best to help my father wash his old, beat-‐up Buick. It was 1957 and he wished he had a nicer car. In fact, my Dad wanted to drive a brand new Thunderbird convertible. He dreamed of being behind the wheel of this exquisite automobile. “Why don’t you get that car?” I innocently asked. “That’s a rich man’s car,” he replied. “How do you get rich?” I pondered aloud. “Forget rich, I can’t even get a job,” exclaimed my father. “Me neither,” I thought. I didn’t tell him because I wasn’t allowed down at the gas station. Of course, he later found out anyway. We lived in Morehead, Kentucky and everybody knew everybody’s business. However…in just a few minutes, I was about to learn all I needed to know about getting a job and even more importantly…how to get rich.
My father broke it down like this. “Look across the fence, Jimmy. That’s where the money is. Mr. Caudill owns the lumberyard in town and everybody needs lumber. He’s rich. We’re poor. Everyone on this side of the fence rents a house. Everyone on the other side owns a house. If you want to have money, you need to go where the money is. The money is over there.” “Hmmm.” And that’s all I needed to know.
The next day I took my red wagon and filled it with apples I found on the ground by a small orchard down by the creek. Then I knocked on Mr. Caudill’s door and when he answered I said, “My name is Jimmy Fannin, would you like to buy some apples?” Stunned by my size and diminutive bravado he asked, “How much?” And with all of the courage I could muster I said, “You can have them all for $1.” He immediately left the doorway and came back with a buck. My first sale was made. Of course Mr. Caudill would later laugh while telling the story of buying his own apples from his orchard from Jimmy Fannin for a dollar.
Capitalism at its finest. This is probably how Wall Street got started. Don’t they still do it like this?
Later, my mother was reading a copy of Life magazine. When she finished she threw it in the wastebasket. “Is it still good? I asked. “What do you mean Jimmy?” asked Mom. “Is it still good to read by someone else?” “Absolutely,” replied my unsuspecting mother. In fact, she had just helped me launch my second business.
The next day I went to the rich side of the fence and asked the rich if I could have their old magazines after they read them. All said yes. I collected them like a trash man and loaded them in my red wagon. Then I went to the poor side and took orders for weekly and monthly deliveries of the most popular periodicals. Of course, I sold them for half price and delivered them about a week after the rich had read them. I controlled the supply and there was plenty of demand.
The United States unemployment rate in May 2015 is at 5.5% with 8.7 million people out of work. Most believe these statistics are way too low. Our economy can definitely be better. Considering all of the global woes, the future is scary and unknown. There are plenty of reasons why the world is in this mess.
Look at our country’s economic situation from your perspective. Understand your personal situation with its unique conditions and circumstances. Here are some points to ponder.
- All kids need a job. That’s right! Start them early. It could be mowing the lawn or cleaning the basement. Teach them how to think. Teach them about money. Teach them the basics of making money, getting a job and developing a
- You make money by selling a product or a Simple enough!
- You get rich by selling a whole lot of inexpensive things or a smaller amount of really expensive things.
- It’s not the gross sales that make you It’s the amount of money you keep after the expenses have been paid. Ok…that’s 101.
- Whoever takes the most risk in money and time should get the biggest Period.
- To get and keep a job you need to understand that you will be hired or are hired to impact profit for a Income comes in and expenses go out. Hopefully, there is a profit left over that warrants the sacrifice of time and money for the owner. That’s how you keep a job and hopefully get a raise. Which part of the equation (income or expenses) does your job impact? Maybe it’s both. Whichever it is, maximize it. Make yourself valuable. Make yourself indispensible. Help the owner make money.
- If there is great demand for a product or service and the supply of it is small then the price will rise. The opposite is also true.
- Experts make more money than non-‐experts. This is true especially when the expertise is needed.
- Show another man how to make money and he doesn’t mind giving you a little money. I’ve made a fortune with this concept.
How do you get a job? How do you get rich? Go sell Mr. Caudill a lot of apples.