Family Man, Retired Phoenix AZ Business Man Jeffrey Meranto
I have never worked for anyone other than myself. I write this with a bit of pride but, not for myself . . for my Father.
When I was eleven years old my Father and I were out shopping in the old Christown Shopping Mall. Big stuff back in those days!
We got whatever it was that my Dad wanted to purchase and we did some window shopping. Just wandering about the various stores him looking at tools and things that he thought might be useful around the house me looking at every pretty girl in Phoenix who happened to be there. And at that time in Phoenix Christown was where they were.
(Eleven was when pretty girls began to matter to me! Leading me to later be married to The Prettiest Girl in Phoenix AZ! My Wife, my Bride who has stuck with me through all the good times and bad.)
Jeff’s Dream Ride
And then there it was, the one thing that could turn my eye from all those pretty girls. . a 1960ish Schwinn Bicycle. Not just any Schwinn bike this was HOT, Banana Bike Seat, Apehanger handle bars, 3 speed with a stick shift! WOW!
“DAD, I Gotta have it!” The words escaped from my mouth before I had time to concoct any plan of action that might somehow someway convince my Father that his eldest son who, lacked nothing in life, “NEEDED” this latest new toy.
It was more than $50.00. My Dad looked at the price tag. “FIFTY DOLLARS?!?! Jeffrey, you could get a used car for FIFTY DOLLARS. JEFF you are NOT getting this bike.”
That was that, when DAD looked at me with that “DAD LOOK” I knew I was doomed. Every boy knows that certain Dad Look that says “are you crazy, are you even my child, or did you get mixed up with some other boy at the hospital and I brought the wrong kid home?”
So we drove home. Me looking wistfully out the window dreaming about how cool I’d look riding that bike and my Dad no doubt looking me over making certain that there were familiar family features imprinted upon my face assuring him that daft as I might be, I truly was his offspring. . .
After two days of wandering around listlessly and aimlessly because of unhappiness over my unfulfilled “Need” of a new bike my Father called me into the living room and told me that if I really wanted that bike I should WORK for it. And he gave me an idea. Take the lawn mower around the neighborhood and mow lawns. Sometimes Fathers Can Be Brilliant!
So I did just that and I attacked my neighborhood with all the fervor any young 11 year old on a quest can muster. After one solid week of knocking on doors, dragging the mower, mowing lawns, repeat I had amassed about 13 dollars. I could see my prize nearly in my grip, wind whipping through my crew cut scalp as I popped wheelies within the confines of my imagination!
My Father asked me, “So how’s it going? How much didya’ make this last week?” I was so excited, “13 Dollars Dad!” He smiled his Dad Smile then asked me, “And how much do you plan on giving me?” “Huh?”, was the best I could answer.
“For the use of my mower. Rental fees for using my lawn mower. What do you think is fair?”
My very first Bubble burst.”POP!” I had never thought of Anything like that which he being a Father very well knew. He explained to me some basic facts of business which I can put here in brief: “It’s a ‘Dog eat dog world’ .”
By the time I had gotten enough cash to purchase that bike I bought my own lawn mower, which my Father would charge me storage fees for, and truly entered into the world of small business ownership. 4 years later with two high school guys as employees I had 3 lawn mowers, 2 gas powered edgers, and and assortment of odds and ends for lawn and garden grooming.
We were moving after I turned 15 and my Dad helped me find someone to buy my client list plus the equipment for a good profit! Then the I.R.S. came into play, “POP”, my second Bubble burst.
So due to my Father’s wisdom I have always owned my own business and I’ve never worked for anyone other than myself. Which leads us to later in my life when I owned several businesses including a Jet Ski sales business. which is where my troubles began.
Just prior to my stepping in Big Doo-doo the economy was good, very good. But everyone was talking about ” The Bubble ” and when it would POP. I was up to my ears in debt and everyone I knew kept talking about The Bubble Busting.
One day my Grandson came to spend the weekend and while I was unpacking his things I saw he had brought his own bath stuff . . including a bottle of Mr Bubble. “POP”
Looking back on it, I Laugh, BUT at the time I was panicked.
Then one day at my business a young guy walks in and asks if he can make a purchase with CASH.
What do you think I told him?
Long story short, he makes several purchases each time with CASH. So I ask him straight out, “What do you do for a living?” Turns out he’s a Student at The University and he point blank tells me he sells “POT” He’s ready to graduate without any debt. Before he leaves he tells me that he has stopped selling the stuff as he’s about to graduate, But if I ever want any to call him before the semester ends and he’ll get me some for his cost.
Why oh why I ever mentioned it I’ll never know but I did. I was at an upscale club in Scottsdale and I said something to a bartender. The next thing I knew he was introducing me to a “friend of his.” Some guy with a ” Back East ” accent who was ” in the market.”
He wanted 100 kilograms. I was thinking 100 baggies as in Ounces and I thought that was a lot!
I called the Student he said he’s never bought that much before he’d have to get back to me. When he did he gave me a price and I thought “That’s got to be Some Good Pot” as I was thinking Ounces NOT KILOGRAMS! But I also felt better because I never thought this Back East Guy would want to give me that kind of cash.
I asked the kid what the markup would be on resale, he said ” Easy Double & That’s Passing Along A Discount.”
I was more than nervous I was flat out afraid. So I met with the buyer told him the outrageous price and he told me ” No Problem. Meet Me Tonight.” My heart stopped. The rest of the story is a blur. The bottom line is the Back East Guy was a Government Agent. My one and only sale was to the Feds.
They told me to give them my supplier & the student. I kept thinking how that young boy had his entire life ahead of him, my wife also brought that up to me after I told her the whole story. So my wife and I agreed I would keep my mouth shut and I would dance to whatever music the Prosecutor played.
Possession of Narcotics?? I asked my attorney if they were serious. My attorney said that they were angry because I wouldn’t talk to them and the Federal Prosecutor wanted to make an example out of me. I still wonder, ” An Example Of What & To Who? “
So now even to this day I’m still an example. My charges of Possession of Narcotics & Tax Fraud still haunt me. The fines totally wiped me out financially.
So to anyone and everyone who might be worried about some “BUBBLE BURSTING” there are worse things. Yet even those worse things can be lived through.
Come Back For My Next Post Where I Describe In Hilarious Detail ALL The Bump and Grind that a naive businessman turned wanna be pot dealer can get up to!