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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Inventory

Jerry Clower (Clower, 1980), Southern Comedian, tells a story of a husband and wife who owned a mercantile. Through the years they had managed to put together enough money to send their son to Mississippi State University to pursue an accounting degree. The son managed to graduate with honors and returned home to help run the family business.
The first Saturday the son was back the father walked to the store and noticed a sign on the front door that said “Closed for Inventory.” The father walked inside and asked the son what was the meaning of this. The son replied, “We have to close so we can get an accurate inventory so we can figure our profit.” The father explained. “Son, years ago your mother and I saved our butter and egg money so we could buy a bolt of cloth. We sold cloth off that bolt and used the money to buy more merchandise for the store. If you go to the back room way up high on a shelf in the back corner you will find what is left of that bolt of cloth with a little bit of cloth left on it. All the rest is profit. Now get the store open.”
The father never studied anthropology, accounting, autoethnographics, or any other business concept. But he knew that his customers needed for him to be open and he knew that he could not make a profit if the store was not open. These are business basics. What the son needed to learn was that unless the basics are taken care of all the theory in the world is useless and no profit will be made.

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There is no one right answer to any business question that will cover all circumstances.
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