There’s No Business Like Show Business

Early in my career, I once worked as a department manager in a suburban department store. Each and every day, we’d receive several truckloads of merchandise for my departments. It all had to be unloaded, unpacked, and ticketed, then put on rolling racks taken out to the floor and merchandised properly before the store opened at 10 A.M. I’d get there around 7 A.M. each day in order to get this all done. It was hard physical labor, and intense because it had to be done quickly.

One morning, as I was working hard in shirt sleeves, sweat beading on my forehead, the Operations Manager for the store, an older gentleman named Mr. Higgins, watched me from a distance for a while. Finally, he came over to me. “You remind me of a guy who worked for the circus,” he said.


“That’s right,” said Higgins. “This guy’s job was to follow along behind the elephants when the circus parade came through town, and scoop up the elephant poop. One day, a man who owned a drugstore in the town they were going through came up to him after the parade and said, ‘I’ve been watching you, and I’ve noticed that you do a great job. Whatever the circus is paying you – come to work for me at the drugstore and I will pay you three times as much!’

“‘I cannot,’ said this guy. ‘I could never leave show business!’”

One of the fun stories in my upcoming book, The Five Laws of Retail – expected release in Spring 2019.

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