A Compilation Of Stories From Charlie, The Traveling Salesman

Charlie is one of the co-founders of CouponSurfer and occasionally shares his stories in CouponSurfer’s monthly newsletter. CouponSurfer members often describe him as a “Goofball!” and his “cute stories” seem to have a hypnotic effect on people, making them save money. He has also been known to eat a box of Devil Dogs in one sitting!

Making Money: Perspective From A 6th Grade Entrepreneur

When I was in sixth grade we had a really great class. Everyone got along and we even organized softball games after school against the other classes. To this day I still remember all the fun we had but I also remember learning a little bit about business in my interactions with my classmates at I.S. 145 in Queens NY.

Baseball Days

Baseball CardsOne day I went to school with a stack of baseball cards and a one dollar bill. On the way to school I stopped at a stationary store on Northern Boulevard and bought a comic book with enough change to buy lunch at school. So at lunchtime I bought lunch and flipped baseball cards with my friends at the lunch table. I did so well flipping baseball cards that I wound up with a much bigger stack than I started with.

As a friend of mine and I were going through the cards I had won, I quickly realized just how well I had made out. A handful of new Yankee and Met players were among the new cards I had added to my collection, of which were in demand since their biggest fans – my classmates – wanted to collect all of the players on their favorite teams. Just as that thought had ran through my head, my friend offered me a dollar for four Yankees cards that he didn’t have. I gladly accepted the offer, since the four cards were doubles of players I already had back at home!

When I got home from school that day I had a comic book, a bigger stack of baseball cards than I went to school with and $1.15 even after buying school lunch. I learned that day that it was possible for me to go to school and come home with more than I left with. It will always be remembered as my most profitable day of school.

Charlie and His Bag of Candy

Wax Candy TubesOccasionally I used to meet up with my friend Larry in the morning so we could walk to school together. On one of those mornings we stopped at Nescott Drugs to buy some candy. We decided to go with the wax tubes filled with colored liquid which included a sticker since they were only $0.15 each.

When we got to school all the other kids were jealous and wanted to know where we got them. We did not tell them where and the next day Larry and I took our money and bought all the $0.15 wax bottles we could afford. When we got to school that day we sold them for $0.25 each, profiting $0.10 on every wax bottle we sold. We continued to do this for several days until the store ran out of wax bottles… or the fad wore off… I can’t quite remember which it was!

Kid Kazoo

Metal KazooOn the weekends, some of my friends and I would sometimes take the bus to the Queens Center Mall. At the time there was a music store there that sold metal kazoos for only $0.50, so I bought one and brought it with me to school.

At lunch the following day I showed my classmates how it worked and they were hooked, they all wanted one. So over the next weekend I headed down to the mall and bought some kazoos to bring with me to school the following week. I sold the kazoos for $0.75 each and was sold out in no time, all while making a profit.

I remember thinking while walking home from school that day that I could make a list of products that were available at the mall and mark up the price slightly so my classmates could look at the list and order what they wanted and I could continue to make a profit – I envisioned having color TVs on the list, but unfortunately the plan never worked out.

One Ruler to Rule Them All

Unique Snap-on Ruler Bracelet My mother used to work with a gentleman who got hold of a bunch of extra promotional items for a client of his and asked my mother if I wanted to have the to sell. Naturally I jumped at the opportunity. The items were all branded with the company’s logo but it wasn’t too obtrusive and the items were great quality and even a bit unique. The items included money clips, sewing kits that were the size of a single AA battery and metal rulers that could be rolled out and would hold stiff like a yard stick but would roll up like a roll of stamps if you pressed on it. I put all the items in a big shopping bag and carried it off to school.

Sales were good from the start as the rulers and the sewing kits were a big hit with my classmates. The money clips weren’t as popular, but they still sold. I carried the shopping bag around school with me and I told everyone I was a traveling salesman. Even kids from other classes had heard about me being a traveling salesman and bought some items from me.

One day I was walking in the hall and one of the shop teachers stopped me and said, “I heard you are selling rulers”. He took me to his office and asked to see one. After he examined it carefully, he pulled out his wallet and bought one! I loved this business but when the products sold out there was no way to restock inventory and my days as a traveling salesman were over.

Charlie’s Final Thoughts

I learned a lot about business in sixth grade and there is no denying that it has helped me over the years. While CouponSurfer is mainly about ways to save you money, it’s also beneficial to consider ways to make some extra money. I hope my stories from sixth grade will help to inspire you. Be sure to share my stories with your friends and family using the social sharing buttons below, so they too can feel inspired!


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