The college session is over and we plan to write together during the Christmas holiday. Here is vhapter 25 in the meantime, in time for Christmas!
My life so far, episode 22: Inventory
Letters : 11684 Words : 2169
This is a rather boring episode which feels like a filler, but it provides some information about Julie's parent's company, and it's important for yet unwritten chapters.
As soon as I made it home, I ran to my parents. No, wait, I undressed and then ran to my parents.
They weren't on the phone, so they were available to talk about Edith, and nude too.
It's weird. It was already Wednesday. A week ago, I discovered those naturist pictures and my story began.
And now, here we were, talking about my new friend, nude, in my parent's office.
"I sense that you are on thin ice, sugar", says my dad.
"She doesn't have much of a choice. Girls are nasty when it comes to gossip. I wouldn't trust her promise not to gossip, not one second"
"I don't think I plan to, so I guess I'll be topless Friday?"
"I might had a plan, kiddo"
"Let her lead the way. Put a bikini and remove your top after she does, but plan for Mindy to propose full nudity"
"Oh, so I can go nude and make it sound like it's my first time?"
"But don't say anything about it, Kiddo. I will talk to Clara and Peter. Well, to Clara and she will relay the message, but I have no control over Clark and his girlfriend"
"Lucy", I say
"Right, Lucy. Dad and I had been trying to recall her name", says my mom
"Why?", I ask
"She was nice to you. And you seem to be building a friendship with her"
"She is super cool. I hope to be friends"
My mother smiles. I think she went there too.
"Listen, I have no problem with the plan, but perhaps I can pick you and her up Friday instead of Clara."
"But I don't want to leave that early"
"You'll need to be here, and for Mindy to not be. I don't like lying to parents, so I won't. You'll do the talking. I can drop you off at Mindy afterwards. Dad and I might hang out with her parents, but we'll sleep here"
"Can I spend the day there?"
My dad intervenes. "We have the non-landed club in the evening"
"I know, Mindy wants to go"
"Oh", my father is ill at ease. "We can't bring her. She needs to come with her parents"
"I am sure they will understand", I say. "They might want to go"
My parents look at each other.
"I wouldn't get your hopes up"
"It's grown up stuff", my mother replies
"That's not fair. I've been honest and transparent with you"
"Fine, Clara, before being a chef, worked in a school and was fired for missing too many days"
"Taking care of Mindy as a baby"
"This Saturday, it's in the former school she was the secretary of. It might bring bad memories"
"But you'll let her decide, right?"
"Good. So, do we go back to the trailer?"
"Oh, no, we have to do the inventory of another warehouse tonight. We were just waiting for you to come back. Sorry, it's one of those boring evenings alone"
"I have two questions"
"Yes, you can order pizza if you want."
"Oh, I might, but that's not my questions. Will you be nude for it?", I ask
"I suppose so. We are usually nude at that place. We tend to pick warehouses without windows. I wonder why", says my father, sarcastically
"Well, my second then is, can I come?"
"Kiddo, don't you have homework today?"
"All done in class"
"We won't be able to take care of you, we'll be working, and hard", my mother explains.
"Well, I plan to help. The way I see it, this is the family business and I am part of this family"
They look at each other.
My mother seems to hesitate, so my father says
"She could handle the clipboard"
"It's boring", says my mother
"But it's her first time..."
"I don't mind if it's boring. And maybe next time, I can do more"
"We can't pay you"
"Yeah you can"
"I take payments in pizzas, hugs and bedtime stories", I say
"And notice I didn't say or."
"I thought you no longer wanted a bedtime story", says my dad
"I may have overreacted dad. Mindy told me horror stories Peter taught her"
"Wait, so you don't want a book, you want my stories?", says my dad, crying a little
"Are you okay, dad?"
"Ok? This is the best day of my life", he says, all emotional.
"Didn't you use to tell me them?"
"You found them boring because there weren't pictures"
"Oh. Sorry", I said. "Let's not forgot my pills, in case we finish late"
My parents nod, and we get dressed, but my mother only puts a sundress. I am jealous, I can't wait to be able to put one I can fill in.
Well, as I am writing this, I am laughing because next to me, is the sundress I wore to get to the store earlier today.
The warehouse is in the desolated industrial sector of town. Today, it's even worse, our town is now a suburb and almost nothing more. Back then, the big town close by was a little too far, but rapid urban sprawl helped revitalize our city and bring commuters in.
It did bring in new naturists, but we fear that Mindy's resort will get offers to buy their surrounding land so that we would lose access to the creek.
After all, it's not like they make money from it...
The building where the warehouse of my parent's company is much bigger than the one with our trailer, but we also take a smaller percentage of it.
Finally, the garage door is over a dock, which is recessed into the ground. That allows trucks to back up to it and be level with the floor.
The main door is next to the ramp, and we park in front of it.
Apparently, even during the day, the place is mostly deserted. This doesn't bode well, and in fact, I already spoiled that the town's industrial sector will mostly close and that will be revitalized as a boring suburb.
You might wonder: if it's a suburb, why is there a lot of agriculture?
Because we used to be a "standalone" town close but not that close to a big city. Back before the interstate system and the common presence of cars, going there was almost an expedition, but today, a lot of the residents commute there.
Back when my story occurred, the transition was starting but no one had noticed it yet. The first big-city residents commuting daily didn't really mingle with the long-term residents. Their friends were still in the big city, so they would go out there and only receive their friends over to enjoy their bigger lawn.
Because in all honesty, what drew them was bigger plot sizes, lower taxes and land costs. All three will have changed by now. The town, after losing almost all industrial taxes, had to raise taxes to accommodate new developments, which drove them to lower future plot sized. Demand took care of the land cost.
In short, when I was 12, my city was already dying and becoming a suburb, we just didn't know it yet.
So, that afternoon, nude in one of my parent's warehouses, I helped them do an inventory of their merchandise.
Their job was rather complex. My mother needed to use the forklift to bring each of the boxes on the ground for those that are on top of the shelves.
The process wasn't that complex. We simply had to open a box, which were all more or less labelled anyway, and count the content.
My mother would bring the box on the floor, my father would tell me what was in it and while I search for the item in the printed inventory sheets, he counts them.
I have the content that there is supposed to be, so if it matches, I put a checkmark; otherwise, I write the real quantity.
I was surprised at the quantity of surgical masks in stock.
"We imported them for the H1N1 epidemic, but ended up not selling them. I would say it's a major loss, but we didn't pay them that much and who knows when the next epidemic will come?"
Well, you know when it will be, March 2020, or 4 years later. And yeah, not only did my parents sell everything at a profit, but they quickly imported more and sold those too, making a killing. No, they didn't inflate their prices. They didn't need to. They made a killing with their standard profit margins.
In the import business, it's all a matter of who you know, and who trusts you, and my parents managed to build a solid reputation with their suppliers over the years.
Ok, I admit, it was completely boring and my nudity wasn't enough to overcome how stupid I felt.
"Oh, this is the box of excess vibration pads.", says my dad.
"How many do we still have?"
"Let me count", he says, while I look them up. We should have 27 boxes of 12 pads. It's right there, on my sheet.
So, he counts.
"25, 26, and 27", he says
"Boxes of 12?", I ask
"I have 27 here. What are these even used for", I ask
"Good question. They absorb vibrations in machines. You install them under the machine, and they reduce sound and damage to whatever is holding it in place"
"And you ordered 27 boxes of 12? Over 300?", I ask
"324 to be clearer", says my dad. "But no, we didn't order 27 boxes. We ordered 200 boxes of 12, sold what, 120 in the first month, and turned a profit on those."
"Wait, so we are missing fifty... three?", I say, counting in my head
"No, we sold the rest, at 100% profit, since then"
"What do you mean, 100% profit?", I ask
My father came closer, and my mom turned off the forklift.
"We make money two ways. The first is obvious, we sell for higher than we pay. Each pad costs us twelve dollars and we sell them twenty-four dollars each"
"Twice the cost?"
"Yeah, but we don't note 12 dollars off the cost. We note. Wait, how much did we?"
"$17.50", my mother says
"Right, we noted the actual cost at $17.50. That way, each time we sold one, we only made $6.50 in profit, which, including the storage and our salary, is reasonable"
"But you have an extra $5.50", I say
"Yeah, but here is the thing, that $5.50 is used to pay for the excess inventory. For the eighty boxes we didn't sell in that first month. That way, we already made a profit on the whole shipment, not just on the portion sold"
"And you sold more?"
"Yeah, but at 100% profit, since the expense was already deducted. We sold many at a rebate, sometimes even under cost, because our cost was already paid for"
My mom explains.
"The way we work, is to do a lot of preorders and we try to have the preorder cover the whole shipment, and then, we change the order for a bigger quantity", she says
"We risk our initial profit margin to build an inventory which might double or sometimes triple our profit margin", my dad adds.
"See, the more we import, the cheaper per item", my mom adds
"We pay shipping per container, usually. Packed or half full is roughly the same cost, but you divide the shipping cost per unit", my dad concluded
"I think I am getting it", I say
"And that's why we have so many warehouses. But they are mostly filled with stuff already paid for, so any sale is 100% in our pocket. Well, there are new shipments, obviously, and a lot of this stuff is junk. Like, we have old VCR machines, No one wants them", my dad says
Ironically, when disk drives and capture cards became common, most VCR makers had stopped making them, so people who wanted to digize their old tapes would ask stores and some of these stores bought them from my parents. Mindy's parents had a broken VCR camcorder and home video tapes that we ended up watching with one of those VCRs. I was even in a few of them, as a baby.
The inventory itself however, was far from being futile: it allowed them to rethink new markets for stuff in their warehouses and help bring back to memory old forgotten projects. The next day, they went to another warehouse and found over 500 pairs of garden gloves they had forgotten and were able to sell quickly, helping them recover from not getting the money owed to them from Henri.
Sure, they barely made $2,000, but any dollar helps!
I did get my bedtime story that evening, from my father, and hugs from both of them when tucking me in. I hesitated in sharing the story, but to be honest, it's not one of his finest ones. I'll try to share one later, but this is my story, not my dad's, you know?