My first (admittedly stupid) business

Laurie David's Cervix:

"I ordered 1 of something and they sent me a case."

"Did you order 1 'item' or 1 "case of the item"



My first (admittedly stupid) business ended when I had this phone conversation.

Me: "We want to order another bundle of 3"x4"x8' redwood for our greenhouse kits." (Used only in certain parts of them; we were making them one-at-a-time when ordered.)

Lumber yard: "Okay, but you know you have this big order coming in at the end of the month."

Me: "What?? No. What big order?"

Yard: "A boxcar." (Enough 2x4x8 redwood to build redwood decks for everyone in town.)

[appropriate stunned silence while I catch my breath]

Me, weakly: "We don't have any purchase order on that." (I had thought we had systems for this kind of thing.)

Yard: "No, we just took it on a phone order, after so much good business with you."

Me: "Who (he said, knowingly) put in that order?"

Yard: "A Mister [recently fired manager]." (And I think it wasn't even revenge or anything - he did it before he was fired, probably thinking he was doing the right thing for us.)

Me: "We can never use that much of that. Can we stop that order?" (he said, dreadfully)

Yard: "It's mostly milled. We can cancel it. But we can never do business again."

Me: "Perfectly understandable. Good-bye."

Our corporation never could make good on that order. Worst injury I've ever felt responsible for in business. We went under, tucked tail, even left that state, pursued by an entirely separate half-million-dollar lawsuit also generated in part by that same ex-employee's actions. Memories. Sweetened through the ages just like bile.