Energy Multiplier… And Various Other Sundries

I have been known to say that if you stick a knife in me, I get the knife. This is true, courtesy my 8th house which can readily convert any energy it receives into something useful. I have this process so refined it’s a joke but there is always more and I stumbled on some of that today.

It occurs to me that some people make better use of their experience in general then do others. As a gross example, some people learn from their mistakes while others repeat, repeat, repeat for years if not an entire lifetime.

If you put those slow learners on one end of the continuum, there would be another end to the continuum. On the opposite end you would have people who have some kind of experience, like a seed and they run with it… and run and run and run.

I am just off the phone with a pal, I was telling her about what I see in the grocery store these days which is plenty. I strongly suspect that I see things normal people cannot and today I figured out why but first, one of my stupid people tricks.

When I was 17 I lived in an apartment. I remember that apartment very well because I wound up getting sued over it but besides that, one day I met these men at the pool.

The men (there were 3 of them) worked for a new and fast-growing chain drugstore and they were in town to open a new store, the first in the state. They were the hotshot top people and I have always been interested in business so I started talking to them.

Before long, I was critiquing their business model. I explained that while they were all gung ho and shit (that is how I talked of course), I did not see them being successful in the city. I explained that beyond the grand opening and the big sales, there would be no reason for me to shop there and *I* of course was the person who mattered. But seriously…

“Why would I shop at you store?” I asked. ‘Why not Walgreens? Why not Rexall? You have to beat their prices,” I explained.

“We have good prices.’

“Not enough. You have to beat the prices I am used to paying or fuck you, I’m not going there and you’re going to fail.”

Now it is interesting to note that this is how Sam Walton built Wal*Mart some years later but besides that I did talk them into my strategy. I told them I would go to the store ONCE, and decide if I was going to shop there based on what I saw. “The store has to be clean,” I said.

“Oh course.”

“But also if I see high prices, I will never be back.”

Keep in mind there was no technology so this presented a problem. They didn’t know the local prices but I did.

“You know the prices of things?”

“In a drugstore? I know the price of everything,” I boasted though in fact it was true.


“Well yeah, ” I said, having no idea what a freak I was.

“You mean we can get the store set and bring you in there and you can tell us what is priced to high?”

“Of course. I can walk down the aisles and tell you exactly what everything costs.”

They believed me.

Some weeks later they were ready to open and they took their idiot savant in to walk the aisles of the brand new store.

“What do you think?” I was asked.

“They’re okay,” I said being diplomatic. These men had worked hard on this store. “They aren’t special though and some of this stuff is way out of whack.”

“Like what?”

“Like that,” I said, pointing at my brand of hairspray. “That’s way too much. If I saw that, I would assume everything in here costs too much and I’d never be back.”

They defended their costs and their mark-up. “Well if that is what you can do that is what you can do but I am not going to shop here.”

I was asked how much the competition charged and I rattled off the prices, 94 cents at this place, $1.19 over here, and this other place charges $1.39… All three jaws dropped.

“You know the prices to the cent like that?”

“Well, yeah,” I said, wondering how the hell they could be in this business and NOT know the prices *like that*. “I should have your job, I guess since at least I know what I am doing.” I said. I had no concept at the time that being a teenager would hinder opportunities to be in management.

Of course I was told they knew what they were doing and I told them I agreed, the store looked nice but they were still going to have a rough time coming in and taking over which was their goal.

They opened to great fanfare and stayed in business for awhile but as I said, it was Wal*Mart who came in and “took over” a number of years later and they did it in exactly the way I suggested it be done. But here is why I wrote this:

On the phone today, talking to my pal, I explained that when I was a kid, I was responsible for feeding my family. I mean I took over all the cooking when I was 8 years old but later, I had to do the grocery shopping too and as you know, we lived in the desert.

We were sort of abandoned out there I guess you could say but once a week my father would come home and drive me to the grocery store in town. I was 11, I think, maybe 12 but anyway he would tell me that I could spend $20 on food that was to last my family (my mother, Annalisa, my brother and myself) a week. I have another sister but she was gone by then.

In whatever case, this was a great stress because if I chose wrong, my family would miss (more) meals so I was super stressed and conscientious. People were counting on me, see? It was up to me to come home with food but anyway, my father would wait in the parking lot of the store. He’d sit in the truck and I had to go in there and hurry too because he had things to do. So I would.

I would rush around the store, twenty dollar bill held tightly in my hand and buy pasta and things like instant biscuits that were 10 cents a can when they were on sale and could be fried into donuts I would coat with sugar. I would be adding in my head as I went and you better believe I knew what things cost.

I followed up this experience with 10 years at Frito-Lay so I understand wholesale/retail food business pretty well ::coughs:: and when I say I see something going on in the grocery store, you’d be well advised to listen to me.

My first husband had 5 planets in Scorpio. He used to say, he’d never seen anyone in his life more able to parlay (his word) a little into lot.

I used to use his money (other people’s energy) when we gambled. He’s give me a ten dollar bill and I’d come back with $700. We were on to this, see?

17 thoughts on “Energy Multiplier… And Various Other Sundries”

  1. (and I include myself in that comment)

    how can you open a store and not know the competitor’s prices? I can’t fathom that.

  2. Someone in town opened up a doggie-supply store. You know, food, collars, leashes, shampoos and conditioners– all super-high-end crap. And it’s not really a nice person running the show.

    The first thing I thought was that this place was going to fail. No offense, but the owner opened up RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER from another doggie supply shop that’s been in town for years upon years and has everything you need at decent prices.

    But so this new owner, she opened up a high-end shop around the corner from them, along the main drag. And since that alone, to me, was a not-nice move, I vowed not to shop there even if she sold collars at a dollar a piece.

    I like competitive prices. I do. I comparison shop all the time, especially online.

    But you know what? I like business owners who are consistently loyal, kind and giving to the community and to their causes (animals, etc) more.

    So I do, and will, pay 10-cents more for your bottle of doggie shampoo because you’re nicer. That’s just how I roll.

  3. Forgot to add that you’d think that some business owners would find a need, and preferably one that hasn’t been fulfilled or hasn’t been scarcely fulfilled, and base a business around that. But no. “Let’s open a doggie shop right around the corner from a cheaper doggie shop!”

    Eh, I guess some of my neighbors aren’t the brightest bulbs.

  4. Elsa, I see very worried people in the grocery store. They are counting every cent, just like me.
    These are very different times.

  5. I can soooo totally relate… I’ve done the $20 bucks a week to feed 4+ a day. Plus, in my case, there would always be unexpected people dropping by, ‘at meal time’, so that would have to be factored in. I love it though- it’s like my own reality show, “Pay Less, Feed More”. The punch line?… I’m a horrible cook, but there are more at my table than most! go figure?

  6. you’d be a champ on supermarket sweep!

    what i see in the grocery store makes me want to move back to the suburbs. anxious, frazzled yuppies who are in so much of a rush that they have no manners or social graces =( gotta get my organic bok choy and f*ck you very much, you’re in my way.

  7. Yeah, the prices are up but it is far more sly and insidious AND more up ahead without a doubt. It’s a perfect storm coming, 80% chance, I’d say (but I really mean 92).

  8. Well as someone who is more Ant than Grasshopper, when I compare the goods I bought a while ago to current ones, the new ones are smaller/less/fewer.

    Other than that I am probably not seeing what you’re perceiving.

  9. What I see is they’re getting you to pay the same price for less (cereal, ice cream, etc.), then once you’re “comfortable” with that, jacking the price on the smaller containers.

    I’m more interested in the energy use thing, though. This is something I need to learn how to do. (Better? I’m not sure if I do it at all, actually.) I can see the potential that’s there for it, but I can’t / don’t / won’t take the seed and run.
    Any ideas on how to cultivate that, anyone?

  10. Elsa, would this be a particular planet in the 8th thing–or an 8th house thing in general (re: reutilizing the energy)?

    Two things in this story remind me of my mother: a specific budget to feed of people (though with her it was $100/wk for 6 people in the 1980s). She started going to the casino in her 60s and regularly turns $5 into–not huge amounts, but $40 or $50–the woman never loses money, it’s uncanny.
    I don’t know her birth data but it makes me wonder if she has an 8th House emphasis.

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