This article has been re-posted from my other blog which I intend to close down soon.
FRUIT VENDOR. I have always been a minute-scale entrepreneur. When I was in the elementary grades I would sell my grandfather's fruit harvests to my classmates, and I would be very happy if I went home in the afternoon with pockets heavy with coins-my sales for the day. You see, every time my Mamay (grandfather) would trade his fruits and crops, he would come to our house to drop off something for us--usually sacks of 'lukban' (pomelo), santol, green mangoes, starapples, dalandan, 'langka' (jackfruit), 'saba', 'lakatan', or 'tundan' (banana varieties), and lanzones (not in sacks but in 'kaing'--large basket made of woven bamboo or nito strips).
Yes, I took advantage of what was supposed to be 'for private consumption only.' I would pack three of the small round fruits in a cellophane bag and sell them to my classmates and teachers. They always did sell like hotcakes! On weekends when I had nothing to do in the afternoon, I would fill a small basin with whatever fruits there were, and I would go house-to-house in our neighborhood, with any of my two little brothers tagging along. My playmates' mothers would always gladly buy my fruits because they were fresh. In fact, they would ask me to bring them some more in a day or two, when what they bought from me would have already been consumed. What did I do with my sales? I remember my brother and I would run off to the 'tindahan' and buy candy or rent 'komiks', or wait for when the 'sorbetero' comes along. Save? Naah!
SARI-SARI STORE VENDOR. In my sophomore-high, my parents put up a little store that sold softdrinks, chichiria, cigarettes, bar soaps and some other little things that one of the nearby households might be needing in an emergency. Our helper tended it during daytime, and when I got home from school in the afternoon, I took over well into the night, with my father keeping me company. One time, a good-looking guy bought some cigarettes. He gave me a paper bill, I gave him his change. Having gone a few steps away, he came back and returned some coins...apparently I gave him extra. I said " it's ok di bale na," and he said "malulugi ka nyan" and left the coins on the counter. My father emerged from the outside of the tiny kiosk (for it was indeed a kiosk given to us by Coca-Cola, my father just hammered it up with a door and all the enclosures of screen and plywood panels). My, I received a good scolding for that! (Hehe!)
I hated it during weekends, though, because since our apartment was near NDDC (it was still a college back then), and well, Saturday meant ROTC, it would always be a riot when the college guys took a break. Taking orders for snacks and collecting payments and giving back coins for change would always send me to a panic. Plus I sometimes had to cross the street to help the helper deliver the 'pambara' and the 'panulak'. I would also feel harassed because the guys would give me unsolicited his and hellos and what's-your-name-regards-daw-ingon-ni-blahblahblah...with uber pa-cute smile and gooey eyes (eww!) Tsk tsk, total pandemonium. Good-looking just couldn't cheer me up.
So that was the downside of it: I didn't like the pressure that came with the business. And I was glad our kiosk had to close at the end of the year because our helper left and the demand for manhours was too much for us, my parents being full-time teachers and me, a full-time students and my siblings too young for the business.
MINI-CONVENIENCE STORE PROPRIETOR. When I was in college, I had a dorm-roommate, Coco, who hailed from Lebak. She always brought from home several native bags, tubao, etc. She placed these items on display on her native cabinet with open shelves, if you are familiar with such kind made of palm ribs. I would always be amused each time somebody came to buy an item or two. And when she was not around, I would take care of her business for her. Soon after that we co-ventured into a 'tiendesita' in our room. We would pool together some cash and with it, buy some chichiria, nuts, sanitary napkin, tissue, and the yummy bear's claw (!!!) ...and our buy-and-sell business got replenished on weekends. It was fun! Our business partnership ended when we got assigned to different rooms the following semester.
TOYSTORE MANAGER. I had a cousin who knew people in Marikina. She would get shoes and stuff toys from them and sell the stuff to her neighbors and friends. One time I went with her and got some stuff toys for myself, too. I lined them up on my bed, and when my new roommates' friends saw them, found them cute and bought them. I parted with my toys only too happily. But I spared two of them, one very big monkey I called 'Ewok', and a small one that I called 'Baby Ewok'. These stayed with me until after college and two kids. They were afraid of Baby Ewok but the big Ewok became their wrestling victim until it got so filthy and stinky I decided to give it away. (Eh, sayang naman itapon eh, and the kid who got it was so happy with it he was grinning from ear to ear and squeaking in delight as he was hugging it and running back home to show it off to his playmates.
My entrepreneurial activities got shelved when my hands got full with kids and other things. But deep inside I was always wondering when or if ever I'd have that chance again.
I know I should have taken up a business course. But my parents wanted to make sure I had a big chance to get admitted to UP that they wrote AB English as my first choice and AB Filipino as second choice (!!!). Why I didn't shift to BA was a sad story bordering on culture shock, emotional and economic reasons.
Anyway, my mind never really wandered off from business, after all these years. The desire remains to this day. Proof of that is my magazine collection of back issues of Entrepreneur...and late-night surfings of alibaba, sulit and tradekey...and getting frustrated at the pricelists (affordable but unattainable) and the overseas location of suppliers of the good and beautiful things to sell. Maybe someday. ###