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How many cool drinks should one sell?

Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 26 Luglio 2002

Let me share with you the fun of this summer joke I have received, to cool off from the heat! On a beautiful Mexican beach, a very thirsty American tourist stops at a kiosk and orders a cool drink, prepared inside a glass container frosted with tiny clear water droplets. Having enjoyed the drink, he compliments the young man who has served him, and asks him how long he has been on the beach, as he had not noticed him before. Young man: “Not very long.”. Tourist: “Why don’t you stay longer, then, considering how successful your drinks are?” The Mexican explains that the time he spends on the beach is precisely what he needs to satisfy his family’s needs. Tourist: “How do you use the rest of your time, then?” Young man: “I sleep until late, do some fishing, play with my kids and take a nap with my wife. At night I go down to the village, see my friends, we have a drink together, I play my guitar, sing a few songs, and so my life goes on, and I enjoy it very much.”. Tourist: “Let me interrupt you. You know, I have a degree from Harvard, and can give you some useful advice on how to improve. First of all, you should stay on the beach longer, a little longer every day. In this way, logically, you would sell more. You could build yourself a larger kiosk. A larger kiosk means selling more drinks, selling more drinks means more money, more money – more kiosks! You will afford to own a certain number of them on this beach and on other beaches nearby. Then you can rent out a few rooms of your house to tourists, and later you can transform it into a hotel. Then you can expand your business, open more hotels, and leave the village to move to Mexico City, or Los Angeles, or even New York. Your chain would become popular, and you could develop a franchising network, and get listed on the stock exchange.”. The young man: “But how long would I take to accomplish all this?”. Tourist: “20, 25 years, maybe.” Young man: “… and what happens after that?” Tourist: “Well, after that – here comes the nice part! – when your business has reached a very substantial volume, you will be able to sell your shares and earn billions of dollars!!” Young man: “Billions?!… And then?” Tourist: “And then, finally, you will be able to retire from business, and you will afford to live in a small village by the coast, sleep until late, play with your kids, do some fishing, take a nap in the afternoon, and spend the night with your friends, drinking and having fun! Let the readers draw a moral to the story!

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