I guess I wouldn’t make a very good business person.
First of all, I hate the idea of carrying a briefcase, and all business people have to carry a briefcase. Second of all, I’m not sure what business people do. Whenever I ask business people what they do for a living, they say, “I’m in business,” as if I should know what that means, and I never do.
When I was in college, I had friends who were business majors, and when I asked them what sort of classes they were taking, they always said, “Business.” Well, sometimes they would say, “Accounting,” and they would actually start to explain what accounting was. But after a while, my eyes would glaze over and I would walk away, leaving them alone muttering about debits and assets.
So, having established that I’m pretty much a moron when it comes to business, I’ll understand if you take this column, which today is about business, with a large grain of kosher salt.
According to a story by The Associated Press, Wal-Mart (motto: “Sure we could make our aisles wider, but why bother?”) has come up with a revolutionary business plan to help its executives pick the hot new toys for the holiday season: They let kids pick them.
Apparently, it has taken the business world, like, forever to figure out that the best way to pick toys for kids is to let the kids pick them.
Business Person No. 1: We need a new way to pick toys for kids this year.
Business Person No. 2: What did we do last year?
Business Person No. 1: We let Dick Cheney pick them.
Business Person No. 2: What did he come up with?
Business Person No. 1: Torture Me Elmo.
Ha! That’s just a Dick Cheney joke. By law, newspaper columnists are required to make at least one Dick Cheney joke and one Bill Clinton joke a year.
According to the AP, one of Wal-Mart’s toy buyers came up with the idea to let kids play with the toys and pick their favorites, and the Wal-Mart bigwigs collectively said, “Brilliant!”
Here’s what Scott McCall — whose actual title, according to the AP, is senior vice president of toys and seasonal goods at Wal-Mart — said about the idea: “It validated our assortment and caused us to think differently about this holiday.”
When I read what Scott said, a few thoughts popped into my head.
Thought No. 1: I wonder if there is a junior vice president of toys and seasonal goods at Wal-Mart.
Thought No. B: What does “It validated our assortment and caused us to think differently about this holiday” even mean?
All of that aside, you have to admit that letting kids actually pick out the toys for Wal-Mart is a pretty smart — if not a bit obvious — idea.
If kids had picked out toys when I was young, we wouldn’t have had to waste our time trying to play electronic football. I mean, after spending 20 minutes to set up the 22 little plastic football players on the board, then flipping the switch and watching the players spin in circles for another 20 minutes, I’m pretty sure the toy tester would say, “This sucks,” and go back to playing with Hot Wheels.
See, one year I got an electronic football game for Christmas, and my two younger brothers got Hot Wheels.
I’m still kind of bitter.
The AP story sort of got me thinking, and I’ve decided that I’m going to call Anheuser-Busch headquarters (I’ve got the number on speed dial) and suggest that they do the same thing. Well, not have kids test their beer ... that would clearly be wrong. No, what I will suggest is that Anheuser-Busch let people like me test their beer.
“OK, Mr. Pound, here is our testing lab. Here is your chair, and in a minute a nice lady will come and pour your first beer. Mr. Pound, are you crying?”
I would like to be a beer tester, is what I’m saying.
And after several beers, when I was asked what I thought, I know exactly what I would say.
It validated our assortment and made us think differently about this holiday.
DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.
I guess I wouldn’t make a very good business person.
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