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That's the ticket

June 29, 2012

From time to time, we use our idle moments around here for a little daydreaming. This week, it was all about business plans. Don’t even ask how it started.

It’s rough to make business plans in a town headed for bankruptcy, in a state that has no money, and a country with an economy as stable as an aspen log over a creek in May, but we soldiered on with a couple of nifty ideas:

A one-hour photo shop. Sooner or later, we figure people are going to ditch all that digital hoo-hah and go back to film en masse. We’ll charge an arm and a leg for cameras few people know how to work, process spool after spool of blurry, over-exposed pictures, open a storefront, pay big rents, cross our fingers and believe the people will come back in droves.

A bookstore, with nothing except books. We say, “iPad, SchmiPad.” Who wouldn’t want to pay more for a real book than pay one-third that amount for a digital version, anyway? We’ll open up, pay high rents, offer something that nobody wants and we’re good to go!

A railroad. Ah, for the dreamy days of yesteryear. We’ll build and open a railroad. The plan is to appeal to that time-honored sense of wonder. We’ll sell shares to finance the thing, find abandoned rail, buy rusted and busted equipment from all over the place, and wait for the people to stream onboard! We’ll run it from Mammoth to Stockton, and be good to go.

A record store. We know that people used to buy albums for just that one song, and that they were perfectly willing to overpay. Let’s do it again! It worked once, it’ll work again.

A family farm. Right now, we know that small farmers are on the outs and really can’t compete with the ConAgras of the world, but that lifestyle is just so dreamy. We’ll have cows, soybeans, sweet corn, no profit margins whatsoever and huge costs per acre, but if Kevin Costner can do it, we can, too. Build it and they will eat, we say.

A new car company! This is a slam dunk. We’ll pay for foreign steel, shipping costs, unbelievable labor costs and no design sense whatsoever. Easy. There used to be dozens of car companies back in the day. What worked then will work again, we are sure of that.

A realty company. One of these days, those prices are going to shoot back up, and we won’t want to be left on the ground floor.

Best yet, let’s invest in skiing! We’ll take a small, mom-and-pop ski area that hasn’t made money in 22 years, in an industry that has been—at best—flat for a quarter of a century, make sure it is within spitting distance of the largest ski hill in California, abandon marketing altogether, battle environmentalists, town do-gooders, and county politicians. We’ll make it quaint and humble—a clear alternative to what most people want. We’ll call it June Mountain, and go forth with confidence.

Yeah, that’s the ticket!

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