Monday, September 3, 2012

Want Fries With That Shirt?


Every couple of weeks I come up with an idea that I know would make me a multi-millionaire, if only I weren’t a lazy, unmotivated slacker who never actually follows up on his ingenious concepts. It happened again today. This afternoon, while running errands with my family, I came up with an idea that would revolutionize the retail business in a way not seen since George Washington Carver invented the sewing machine in 1678. (Okay, I admit it—I’m too lazy to open a history book, too.)

We were on our way to Payless Shoes when my wife asked if I had purchased lettuce for the taco salad we had planned for dinner. I freely admitted that I had not made such a purchase. Then I said these immortal words, “Too bad Payless doesn’t also sell lettuce.” And the earth trembled just a bit.

Think about it. We were clearly not the first people who ever needed both shoes and lettuce and I’m sure we won’t be the last. And no, I don’t think that every person who goes to purchase pink leather pumps is also in the market for a head of iceberg; but there must be a certain percentage of people for whom this would be a huge convenience. My Shoes and Lettuce store would tap into an unmet need that no entrepreneur has ever addressed previously.

I know what you’re thinking. Why keep the focus narrowed to lettuce? Why not make it Shoes and Produce? Great question—thanks for asking. I would answer your question with another question. Have you ever been shoe shopping and thought, “I wish this place carried okra?” I didn’t think so. My point is, if you were selling all kinds of produce in your shoe store, where would you draw the line? Would you sell avocado? Zucchini? Beets, for crying out loud? By sticking with lettuce, which is the basis of all salads—and, as such, one of the most popular forms of produce—you wouldn’t have to worry about stocking items that weren’t going to sell.

Of course, Shoes and Lettuce is only the beginning of this revolution. There is never any end to things you might need while shopping in a store that wouldn’t normally carry that item. This is why stores like Ice Cream and Batteries, Yarn and Paper Plates, Shirts and French Fries, and Cellphones and Salsa would all do tremendous business.

You’re sweating. You’re panting. You’re wondering where all these stores have been all your life. Unfortunately, as stated in the opening paragraph, I’m not motivated enough to make this life-altering idea a reality. I’m only motivated enough to blog about it, so that one of my dozen or so readers might run with this concept and forever change the consumer landscape. And if you are the lucky reader who has the gumption that I lack to follow through, I ask for no monetary compensation in return—simply a lifelong supply of sneakers and romaine.