Thursday, December 11, 2008

Table Talk

I read this story about Benjamin Franklin again and I just love it. It is in Orison Swett Marden's book "Pushing to the front" in the chapter called "Possibilities in Spare Moments." He gathers stories about those who have learned to make the best use of time.
"What is the price of that book?" at length asked a man who had been dawdling for an hour in the front store of Benjamin Franklin's newspaper establishment. "One dollar," replied the clerk. "One dollar," echoed the lounger; "can't you take less than that?" "One dollar is the price," was the answer.
The would-be purchaser looked over the books on sale a while longer, and then inquired: "Is Mr. Franklin in?" "Yes," said the clerk, "he is very busy in the press room." "Well, I want to see him," persisted the man. The proprietor was called, and the stranger asked: "What is the lowest, Mr. Franklin, that you can take for that book?" "One dollar and a quarter," was the prompt rejoinder. "One dollar and a quarter! Why, your clerk asked me only a dollar just now." "True," said Franklin, "and I could have better afforded to take a dollar than to leave my work."
The man seemed surprised; but, wishing to end a parley of his own seeking, he demanded; "Well, come now, tell me your lowest price for this book." "One dollar and a half," replied Franklin. "A dollar and a half! Why, you offered it yourself for a dollar and a quarter." "Yes," said Franklin coolly, "and I could better have taken that price then than a dollar and a half now."
The man silently laid the money on the counter, took his book, and left the store, having received a salutary lesson from a master in the art of transmuting time at will, into either wealth or wisdom.
Photo taken from the Internet


Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

Excellent story about the value of time.

But I must say Franklin is a poor salesman.That customer won't come back to buy books again in that store. This transaction is example of dictating terms to the customer and it will not work in modern days.

These days it is an accepted fact that the CUSTOMER IS THE KING.
Any one who irritates,annoys or tries to fleece the customer will close down the shop very soon.

Have a good day :)

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
Yes, in today's market an incident like this would not exactly have broad appeal. I think Franklin had some idea of his genius and was little concerned about his book sales. But having been in business all of my life, it brings a chuckle out of me to hear said what we often think.
God bless,