True Story©… Fountain of Prosperity

 


"Get in, scrub...  we're going for a ride!"

     Wife Person™ and myself, we fashion ourselves as foodies, of some sort…  Whenever a new spot opens anywhere within about an hour radius of this here house of ours, we entertain the thought of field tripping to partake if the cuisine is interesting to us and offers enough non-beef/pork options for me.  So much so that our acquaintances will often ask us if we have tried some obscure spot in the middle of some small town 45 minutes away.

     That brings us here today…  Her cousin asked us if we had tried this new black-owned spot out at the other end of the county, really in an inconvenient spot honestly, but the food is apparently A-1 so onto the radar it went.  We picked lunch on a Saturday two months ago, so as to have time to try out the menu at “lunch portion” sizes to minimize cost and not be saddled with a table full of foods that we may not like.
Long story short?  We LOVED it!  The overall atmosphere was dope, the food was good and the service was both quick and courteous.  For all of this, though, there just weren’t many people in the place.  Odd for a place that was just opening and on a Saturday when people would ostensibly have some time to kill out and about to eat.

     The owner was in the building and apparently his wife knew Wife Person™ from culinary school.  Anyone who knows this person I am married to knows that if we’re out and she bumps into someone she knows, I am not going to be allowed to leave with any kind of urgency.  I sat back and fiddled with my phone.  I overheard her friend asking her opinion of the restaurant and our experience and Wife Person™ ran her down on our assessment from the last previous paragraph here about how everything good about the experience belied the number of people in the building.  When asked what could be done to up some foot traffic, the opinions shared included the normal – attention of the local media, a targeted social media campaign and--… I interrupted without thinking “a gimmick!”
Now all eyes were on me…

     I had been fiddling with my phone while they spoke and needed to say something to the Wife Person™ about what I had just encountered.
“Well what in the hell did you encounter?” you ask, dear reader?  Well thank you for asking!  I was cleaning out my Gmail box of emails I would normally just ignore until they had my storage limits stretched thin.  I noticed that--…

WAIT!

     Remember a few months ago when I had the brilliant idea to “repair credit” by posting my Cashapp name around the city with no context and people sent me money?  Well instead of CANCELLING that Cashapp account, I just kinda abandoned it and discovered Venmo for my digital currency exchanges like a real adult. 
Well i
t turns out that there is no apparent limit to the amount of damage that stupid people will render upon themselves, and once that house is on fire it doesn’t stop burning.  What I mean by that is that word of mouth will have people telling people about how they can just randomly send money to a random Cashapp person and some unspecified credit repair would take place.  Unattended, that count had CONTINUED to collect money from desperate people who would send expecting their great miracle.  One thing I have learned about scams and grifts is that most people who fall victim to them are too embarrassed or intimidated to pursue their options when they’ve been beat.  This is more especially true when the amount is small, say DOZENS of people sending $25 into the abyss over the course of ten months.

  put a pin in that.

     Also, while fiddling with my phone, I learned of the Trevi Fountain in Vatican City.  I will not go into a million words of detail on the history of it, but you should Google it when you have time for a trip down the ol’ interweb rabbit hole.  The major point here is that a fountain in itself will draw people to a “thing,” perhaps to make them want to sit on the patio and eat at this restaurant.  One thing you should know about the Trevi Fountain is that passers-by throw THREE THOUSAND euros a day into the fountain and those moneys are cleaned from the fountain and are used to support the poor and unhoused in Vatican City.
Go to any mall or shopping center that has a large fountain.  Notice that they ALWAYS have seating areas or ledges that could be sat upon.  They also always have a metric assfuck ton of change in the bottom of them.

     Back to the conversation between my wife and her friend, and now me…
I thought of the little place out by the farmer’s market whose business is to build fountains and koi ponds and the likes at residences and places such as the restaurant I had now been inside of for almost two and a half hours.  It now appears that I have a LOT of liquid cash I have not been banking on having and the seedling of the idea that a fountain is an easy off-the-books business endeavor.

I was ready to present my idea…

Me: “The lady of my house here just told you everything good about your place here.  No need to rehash that.  What you need is a ‘draw’.  My idea is this; you install a fountain.”

She and Wife Person™ looked at me like I had just grown a head out of my head.  I continued though.

“I am here to help, though.  You seem to have a good thing here…  I will foot the bill for the fountain, I will PERSONALLY clean and maintain it for you.  Whatever lil’ change is left in the fountain, I will keep for my time and effort.  The presence of the fountain will be the thing that draws people to enjoy your restaurant.  They will take selfies at it, they will do full-on Instagram photo shoots at it.  All you gotta do is make sure that the people coming to make use of your fountain are ALSO having a meal while they’re here and we all win!”

     In the car on the way home, Wife Person™ was more concerned with where we would get the money for the fountain than the get-back on the other side of its installation.  I explained to her what I had learned about the Trevi Fountain and how my “lil’ change” descriptor in my pitch was an actual omission of the actual profitability.
“Profitabilty”?  The fountain was installed a week and a half later, they posted about it on their BookFace page and the “influencers” flocked.  Business in the restaurant boomed from both the clout-seekers and normies just coming to see what the cool kids were doing.

Needless to say, my prediction of human behavior when it comes to tossing money into fountains was light, to say the least.  Initially, I went to “clean” the fountain which was actually designed to not really need cleaning once a week and pulled several hundred dollars in change from it.  This quickly gave way to needing to clean the thing of the same amount of change EVERY other day.  The people in the credit union were becoming used to and wowed by the Lowe’s buckets of change I would come in with on my lunch breaks and bet amongst themselves how much it would be when I put it through the counter.  It goes without saying, I had made back my investment which itself came from ill-gotten pennies from heaven in the first place.

You know what I neglected to think about?
A fucking contract!
Seeing on their off-hours security cameras how often I came to “clean” the fountain and seeing JUST how many buckets of change I was making off with every other day, the restaurant owners had an idea…
On a non-cleanup day, I received a piece of certified (and therefore, tracked) mail.  In it, there was a cashier’s check for the retail cost of the fountain and installation, plus 25% and a letter.

“This letter and appended funds to cover your costs represents our desires to handle our facilities in-house from now on.  We will have our own cleaning crews clean the fountain outside of our facility.  Your services are no longer necessary for our operations.  We thank you for the opportunity to grow our business.”

     Did these motherfuckers just stick me for scam money I had been scamming up?
I can’t even complain, I had come across the money in less-than-honest circumstances and hadn’t paid a single nickel (pun intended) of taxes on what I had been taking in.  I guess one could say that I found myself in the embarrassed position of my own previous marks, taken for my funds and unable to do shit about it.

FML

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