As I lay on
my bed one warm summer's evening up in the Swiss Alps, it occurred
to me that the answer to my cash-flow problem lay in the glass
that I held: Beer.
You see, at
Kleine Scheidegg, what with its overnight population of 30, there
is nowhere to get a beer after 11pm. There's no shops, coca-cola
is the strongest drug you'll get from the vending machine and
the restaurant is shut. Every night, I'd have to share in the
suffering of my colleagues as we thirsted for the precious fluid,
most of us having already drunk the one or two bottles that we'd
brought up from the village on our last voyage to the valley below.
Whenever I did make it down the mountain I'd always head straight
for the Co-op, what with it's decent yoghurt and delicious bread
it couldn't be beaten. It was also well known for one other product:
cheap beer. Now, admittedly, it wasn't the best, but at 20 pence
a bottle (a half litre bottle at that) you couldn't really say
no. The reason not many people bought it was that carting it up
and down the mountain was no easy task. Still, with the promise
of a profit to lead me on I went ahead and bought 48 bottles,
and spent the best part of an afternoon trying to get them back
home (it had to be done in stages as I couldn't carry more than
two crates at a time).
village on the rack railway I considered how I would get the beer
back to my room. I had to avoid being spied by the owners of the
hotel where I lived and work - I mean, what would they think?
They'd get some bizarre idea that I was irresponsible! Unfortunately
my luck was not in, as the owner's brother got on the train at
the midway stop and I was forced to explain why the four seats
around me were stacked with crates of beer. Still, he did help
me carry them back to the hotel once we reached Scheidegg, explaining
that he knew what it was like when you need a beer but can't lay
your hands on a bottle.
in the staff room everyone was informed of the amazing deal on
offer from room 415 - a cool beer for only 50 pence! It was less
than half the price of any other beer in Scheidegg, and would
give me a 150% profit.
Ten days later
all the beer was gone. I'd sold one bottle and had a mighty big