I had just dropped off a load of livestock and was walking through the back alleys and hallways of the butcher shop. I saw the owner, Dan, as he hurried around a corner and nearly collided with me. To say he looked frustrated and worried was an understatement.
“Bing, you wanna buy this butcher shop,” he said, a little too loudly, “I can make you a deal!”
Uh oh, bad day, I thought to myself, not sure if I really wanted to know what set him off.
Dan’s the owner of a small business and I realized…all too well…some of the frustrations that can happen during the course of a day. After all, I’m the owner of one and partial owner of another small business. I’ve spent my fair share of time in fits of gasping frustration.
“Ummmm…..how much do you want for it,” I asked.
“Fifteen bucks!” he said, “I’ll pay you right here, sign the papers and the whole thing is yours!”
Dan and I’ve been doing business for a lot of years. I could tell from his body language that he was calming down and using our relationship of trust and respect to blow off a little steam. I figured it was best to keep up the little charade…
“Well, I don’t know if I can take fifteen bucks for your business,” I said, “ya know, I’m going to hold out for a pocket knife.”
Whatever had frustrated Dan in the first place was probably still there, but he’d cooled off enough where he could step into the role. He rolled his eyes and pretended to consider my offer.
“Well….I need to think about that,” he said.
“Ya know, Dan, before I take on this crazy business of yours,” I said, “I need to make sure that pocket knife is good and sharp!”
That did it for Dan. It allowed him a way to save face in that private and frustrating moment. He rolled his eyes again, shifted his stance and pretended to think about my offer.
“I just can’t do it, Bing,” he said, “I can’t meet your price.”
“Ok, Dan, maybe we’ll get together when we CAN do business,” I said.
I patted him on the shoulder and he had a determined look on his face as he turned on the balls of his feet and headed back into the rear of the shop, presumably to confront the original problem.
As for myself, I collected the paperwork and hurried out before anyone could try to sell me anything else. I wondered all the way home what I’d have told my wife if I showed up with the title for the butcher shop. I doubt she’d have been impressed….
Sleep well, I know I will without the headaches of owning another business….we’ll talk again