One Couple’s Attempt To Ease Financial Concerns
WESTCHESTER, NY – While the pandemic left thousands of Americans in a state of financial insecurity, some up-and-coming entrepreneurs have pushed ahead and created opportunities for themselves in this new economic playing field. Two of those aforementioned entrepreneurs are Haley and Michael, who are taking a modern approach to a classic: the All-American Bake Sale.
“Well, we consider ourselves to be pretty business savvy,” Michael said, throwing a plastic tarp over a white folding table. “I don’t mean to brag, but I’m a Brown graduate with a degree in marketing.” Following this completely unprompted comment, Haley arrived, unloading today’s goodies from the back of her Kia Soul. “You always hear people saying to ‘think outside the box’. Well, we thought, to really think outside the box, we should look inside the box,” she said while surgically removing the cellophane from a tray of fruit loop bars. “With all the craziness in the world, I think what people really want is some good old–fashioned, sugar–induced fun!”
Despite shiny first appearances, not everything is sunshine and rainbows in Haley and Michael’s world. The young entrepreneurs have found themselves in a rather unpleasant predicament: they are hemorrhaging money on a near daily basis. “You know, it’s a little frustrating. We put all this work into baking all these tasty snacks, and hardly anyone gives us the time of day,” Haley said. “I’ll be honest, the muffins don’t surprise me. But the amount of blondies we have to throw out at the end of the day… it’s concerning.”. While many would consider the parking lot of an outlet mall to be the perfect place to attract heavy foot traffic, customer turnout has shown anything but. “We aren’t breaking even most days. I mean, this many cookies, muffins and assorted pastries aren’t cheap you know,” she said, to which Michael quickly responded: “Oh? Well, I’ve never thought of it like that. I mean if that’s the case, we certainly wouldn’t want to throw out our entire inventory every day and start from scratch”. Haley responded quickly with “I already told you dammit, we can’t just go around serving stale goods, Michael! People don’t want to eat rock–hard brownies! As though you would know anything about rock–hard anyway…” to which Michael responded: “Oh very professional, Haley! You don’t hear me bringing up your personal issues.”. Haley then said: “Wait a minute, are you writing this down? Have you been writing all of this down? Why in God’s name are you still writing? Stop writing! What the hell kind of journalist are you? Get out of here!”
While Haley and Michael further discussed private matters, I had the opportunity to speak with the head, and frankly only shareholder, Chip. “Yeah, I leant them a couple hundred bucks two months ago,” he said. “They told me they were working on a startup. I know it wasn’t a lot for building a business, but they’re my friends, so I wanted to help. Looking back, I may have been a little generous.” Chip, as it turns out, is also a regular customer of Michael and Haley’s establishment. In fact, he is one of very few regulars, if any at all. “They keep telling me that I’ll start seeing the money soon, and at this point I’m tempted to just tell them they should keep it. I honestly don’t know why I’m still a part of this. I mean, I’m turning thirty in like a week.”. After this comment, Chip went really quiet and just stared off into space for a bit before returning to his car, oatmeal raisin cookie in hand.
It is said that one of the pillars of capitalism is competition. Well if that’s the case, then Haley and Michael certainly have their work cut out for them. Just across the parking lot, with a line of hungry customers as far back as the eye can care to see, is Suzie’s Bake Stand, run by one Suzie Jones, age eleven. Some would consider her to be the Norman Rockefeller of the baking industry, the notion of which she humbly rejected. “I really love to bake with my grandma, and I wanted to share all these tasty treats with everyone!” she said, offering a complimentary rice krispie. “I sometimes like to give free samples, that way people know it’s good and will buy more.” Although some may see this as an unorthodox strategy, it certainly gets results. Suzie’s Bake Stand rakes in an estimated $5,000 a week, judging by the comically large jar of cash with PROFIT written on the side in thick red marker. With the exception of Haley and Michael, it would seem that Suzie runs her sweet and savory empire uncontested. As some rumors have stated, Suzie has offered to buy out Haley and Michaels business, an offer which they refused. Upon being questioned about whether or not this is in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, Suzie responded with an innocent “I don’t know, we haven’t learned that in school yet.”
Although things might seem bleak for the upstarts, hope is not lost. Michael and Haley both stand strong with the can-do attitude of the American worker; and, if all else fails, they each have a modest trust fund to fall back on.
Andrew Donnelly is a second-year theatre studies major who bribed their professor with baked goods to get an A. You can reach them at [email protected].