If you are old enough, you may recall that in the late 1970’s we had high inflation rates, high gas prices, and high unemployment. The government was saying that our standard of living was on the decline. Interest rates for a loan went to a high of 21%. I remember once getting a loan for 11% and thinking that I was getting a great deal. And I was. There was a lot of doom and gloom then. Sound familiar?
One day during the late 70’s I walked into the real estate office where I worked and there was a note on the bulletin board containing a short story. It was written by an anonymous author and posted by an anonymous source. No one ever took the time to explain the note, or the story, but the lesson I learned that day in the late 1970’s is one I still remember to this day. I’d like to share that story with you. It was a story about a man who sold hot dogs.
The Man Who Sold Hot Dogs
There was a man who lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs.
He was hard of hearing so he had no radio.
He had trouble with his eyes so he read no newspapers.
But he sold good hot dogs.
He put up signs on the highway telling how good they were.
He stood on the side of the road and cried; “Buy a hot dog, mister?”
And people bought.
He increased his meat and bun orders.
He bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade.
He finally got his son home from college to help him out.
But then something happened.
His son said, “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio?
Haven’t you been reading the newspapers?
There’s a great depression.
The European situation is terrible.
And the domestic situation is even worse.”
Whereupon the father thought, “Well, my son’s been to college, he reads the papers and helistens to the radio, and he ought to know.”
So the father cut down on his meat and bun orders, took down his advertising signs, and no longer bothered to stand out on the highway to sell his hot dogs.
And his hot dog sales fell almost overnight.
“You’re right, son” the father said to the boy.
“We are certainly in a great depression.”