You asked for it you got it…more on my Uncle!
He was my father’s brother. They were never real close because there was some 15 years difference in age. My father being the eldest. Dad was much like his brother as they both concentrated on keeping overhead low. Keeping costs down was their single and shared focus. They were in entirely different industries but they had cost cutting as a mutually shared belief in the way to increase their incomes. Revenue I learned later required work and application of ones skills. Overhead on the other hand requires no work at all. Just don’t do anything and your overhead will come down dramatically. My father preached this dogma constantly and my Uncle lived it to an extreme. This may have been an effect of having been born during the great depression in my father’s case but my Uncle never knew the poverty that my father endured. So I look back at their father, my Grandfather and he was the personification of the word “Cost cutting son of a gun”.
One Christmas my Grandfather visited for Christmas. That Christmas will forever stay in my memories because of the time that I spent with my father’s father and because it was the first and only Christmas that I received a bottle of ketchup as a present. Wrapped in gorgeous brown paper it was a larger than average bottle. It wasn’t super-sized or anything crazy. Another interesting thing about the present was that the bottle of ketchup was pre-tested to insure freshness. The test was obviously extensive as the bottle was about half full of ketchup and the cap had the crusty remains of ketchup on the screw top. This was the best present I have ever received as it taught me the advantages of being conscious of overhead. After all this is where my father and Uncle learned their cost cutting measures.
The Ketchup Christmas came in very handy as strangely enough our home refrigerator was completely vacant of the condiment. We had mayo, mustard and all of the other condiments that normally occupied space in our fridge but my grandfather had been wise enough to investigate and must have realized that a used bottle of ketchup was exactly what we needed.
This story is true and it sort of explains perhaps why I have always held to the belief that spending money to make money is the only way to make money. Even robbing a bank will require you to invest in a gun, ski mask and other essentials. But my Uncle did none of this. He instead mingled with his friends at bars and waited until something broke at their home and then fixed it. This my Uncle referred to as “Working by referral only” more on this concept in a future post. But you get the idea.