Simon Carr: The Kitchen Capitalist

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The Independent Online

The story so far: the author has sold his house to finance a manufacturing project in the hope of making a small fortune to finance his old age...

I'm fighting at the moment, it's a terrific battle at a fundamental level. All normal rules are off. They're no help. Berserkability is the thing; if you aren't berserkable you'll never get on in sales promotion. Madness may be embarrassing in social situations, but it gives you strength. You need strength. So lunacy has become the first virtue. You know me for a decent and restrained fellow? I am obviously what I am. But decency produces weakness (only I know how ridiculous my invention is), and wisdom generates modesty. I'm rooting out these loser vices. Madness and ignorance. There are the two great essentials.

It's coming up to that time when I have to present the invention to the editors of novelty panels in magazines. The "Have You Seen?" slots. The sales patter that flows so naturally from me goes: "Here it is, what do you think, it's cute isn't it? Nifty, don't you think? Dinky? A useful little gadget for solving those gift problems we all have? Apart from its being plastic, that's true, Bakelite would have been a better weight, it doesn't feel as substantial as we'd like, and it doesn't have exactly the architectural authenticity that people who'd like the idea would insist on, and yes, before you say it, I agree that the speech reproduction quality isn't really what you'd hope for considering the price, but still if you'd like to give it a free plug I'd be very grateful because advertising in your publication is so expensive and if you donated me the space we might be able to con some of your dimmer readers into laying out money for junk they don't want and their husbands don't need?"

No, madness and ignorance are a small price to pay. You have to pump yourself up until your eyes bulge like an infected rabbit and keep on pumping until you simply burst over your victim.

"It's just arrived from the seventh DIMENSION, this device, it's sooooo funny it'll make you PUKE! What do you mean you don't like it? No, I DON'T want to know why! This has been market tested by Lord GOULD, do you hear what I'm saying! And everybody not only LOVES what it is, what it does, what it represents, it cures stammering, it doubles the IQ of at-risk children, it's being put up for the Nobel PEACE Prize and Keanu REEVES has SIX!"

I'm feeling much better about the pitch now, this lunacy really works. The trick is to pretend someone else has done it all. It's all someone else's product and project. You can't sell your own stuff any more than you can recommend your own children. But it's quite a trick. You can't do it and retain your normal mental equilibrium. You need to be able to snap into it without warning and deliver the perfect pitch. SNAP into it. And then SNAP out of it as well, presumably. OUT of it! OUT of IT! OWWWWW! (That part's not so easy, I notice.)