After weeks of careful reflection, I have decided to officially shutter my business Cash4ExpiredColeslaw after three months of not earning any profit and costing me over $250,000. While hindsight is 20/20, I will not apologize for trying to realize my lifelong dream of helping people trade in the expired coleslaw they no longer eat anymore for cold hard cash. Millions of Americans have old, putrid coleslaw in their refrigerators, drawers, and picnic baskets sitting there doing nothing. I sought to bring a profit to both these people and to my business, but in the end, only the former occurred, and at grievous personal cost to me.
The process was simple: customers would search through their homes for coleslaw they no longer needed or intended to consume and mail it to me. My trained staff would then weigh and appraise the expired coleslaw for its wholesale value and write a check in that amount. In turn, Cash4ExpiredColeslaw would use its considerable stockpile of soured coleslaw to control the market and provide rich returns for the company and its investors. As it turns out, this scenario was nothing like what actually happened. That looked a lot more like a single man living in a modest-sized apartment packed to the gills with industrial amounts of a past-date, egg-based side dish.
The smell follows me everywhere. I didn’t know this was possible, but I think it’s actually IN my teeth.
At the outset, times were good. I was blown away by the initial response—Americans have a lot of expired coleslaw they are looking to do something with. It seemed like I was getting hundreds of packages of expired coleslaw a day. I even had to turn away coleslaw that didn’t seem quite expired, which would often be sent right back to me after expiring in transit. My then roommate mentioned that I should probably hold onto the fresh coleslaw, as it might be easier to sell. As foolish as that sounded at the time, he was right: one of the few potential sales I almost had was when my neighbors, who were planning their daughter’s First Communion celebration, asked me if I had any fresh coleslaw and I had to tell them no, I only have coleslaw that will make everyone very, very sick.
That was a dark day for Cash4ExpiredColeslaw.
Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t just make it ‘Cash4Coleslaw’ from the outset. While that is likely also a terrible idea, it probably would have had more of a resale value, or at the very least I could have eaten it. Truth be told, my sole resale was to an unsettling man who went only by the name “Toad” and asked for only the “really expired” stuff. When I asked him what he intended to do with it, he caned my knees and, due to my lack of medical insurance, I had to pay a $23,000 reconstructive surgery bill.
Boy, I do feel a little silly thinking about all this now.
When I realized I wasn’t making the money I thought I would, I did what any panicked entrepreneur would do: I opened up my business model to also include expired sauerkraut, atrophied sardine paste, and jars of relish that aren’t technically past-date but have a funny smell when you take a whiff of them. This only saw a rapid acceleration of my now quite serious debt.
But even with the great losses I was incurring, the packages of curdled side dishes kept coming. I actually had to store most of my product in a self-storage unit, only to find out three weeks later that I had breeched the contract by storing perishables. That sizable fee was another whopper in the red side of the ledger.
The expired coleslaw exchange market soon became glutted with amateurs concocting their own spoiled coleslaw, driving supply way up. Apparently just making your own coleslaw is pretty easy. And the spoiling process is essentially just leaving it out in the sun for an hour or two. I did not know that.
Also, full disclosure, there is no such thing as an “expired coleslaw exchange market.” I made that term up just to save a little face.
Unfortunately, I cannot return any investment capital or pay back loans that are well past the first installment due date. However, I can offer expired coleslaw well below retail, and lots of it. We’re talking absolutely bargain basement prices on this stuff. Don’t be shy.
But do not worry about me—I am working tirelessly on a new business venture to recoup my losses. It’s called ‘Reverse Expired Coleslaw Mortgage’ and it’s the first of its kind. It allows senior citizens to access the equity in their expired coleslaw so long as they own their expired coleslaw outright or are paying a low monthly mortgage on it that can be paid off with earnings from their reverse expired mortgage. Essentially, it allows seniors to keep their expired coleslaw while my company pays out the value in the coleslaw over a fixed number of years at which point I own their expired coleslaw. It’s great because I never have to handle the coleslaw until it’s ready to be “flipped.” Without a second thought, I know in my heart that this corrects all the problems of my first venture and will turn a profit within a month or two.
I am now accepting forward-thinking investors to partner with on this new idea that will empower our seniors and make us a pretty penny, guaranteed. And if you get a whiff of something funky, that’s not just the expired coleslaw that to this day takes up 90% of my apartment and is inexorably in all my clothing: it’s the smell of your bright financial future.