Excerpt: 'The Wisdom of Ginsu'

The results were astonishing! We could hire a trucking company, load the truck with Miracle Painters, deliver them to the UPS loading dock in Chicago, and have UPS ship to our customers in Chicago and every state west of Illinois for about the same money it was costing us to ship through the post office. At that time we were getting about 50 percent of our orders from Illinois and the western part of the country, so we had to make this shipping change immediately. Then UPS threw us another curve. UPS said it could give us a Chicago shipper number, but we had to have a local address where the undeliverable painters could be returned. We sure didn't have an office in Chicago, so I relied on the old pals act once again. My friends Lew and Fern, who I had grown up with, had recently moved to Chicago. I called them up and asked them if they would accept the undeliverable product for me in their garage.

They were happy to help and replied, "Sure, why not."

I don't think they or I knew what they were getting into. You see we were selling about 8,000 COD painters a week from Chicago and west of there. UPS delivered about 90 percent, so that means that 10 percent, or 800 units, of product came back to their house every week. After a few weeks Fern called me in a panic, saying, "We have so many painters in my garage that I can barely close the door! Please get them out of here! I feel like I am being attacked by Miracle Painters!"

Now it was the situation in reverse. We had to find a trucker to go to their house, pick up the product, and bring it back to us so we could repack it and ship it out again. Once that was accomplished, our crisis was at least half over. Now that's a zig!

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