The Merger

The Merger

November 22, 2020

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by Trey Nosrac

“I just put together a big merger. This plan is COVID-proof and looks like a cash cow.”

David arched an eyebrow in the passenger seat and asked, “What merger and what plan?”

“The Hot Diggity Dogs Food Truck is moving to the parking lot of The Splash and Dash Drive-thru Carwash.” Last week, as I was running the Lexus through the car wash, an idea came to me between the whirling brushes and the final whoosh of the air dryer. I was feeling a bit hungry. It occurred to me that combining the two businesses would be synergy, solve some problems, and help out a few pals.”

“Problems, pals?”

“Nine Pin Carter, captain of my bowling team, inherited the Splash and Dash from his father. Nine Pin says the carwash is doing okay, but he is worried about competition from a new place named Magic Rabbit Car Wash under construction just down the road.”

“And the food truck?”

“Another pal, Ricky Palmer, a budding bluegrass musician, is being kicked out of his parent’s house at the tender age of forty-one. To quote his mother, the long-suffering Lucy Palmer, who is taking some advice from Dr. Laura on the radio, “Tell your son the empty nest closes next Tuesday and either he finds some work or he can take his guitar on the road.”

“So, he bought a food truck?”

“Well, technically he is leasing the truck from another pal, Spider Greenspan, who has no use for his food truck until May. Anything he gets out of Ricky is free money, plus Spider has insurance in case Ricky burns it down in a grease fire. It was a very complicated merger to pull together.”

“What’s in this for you?”

“Not much except free hot dogs and car washes. Ricky owes me a few hundred, so like Spider, I got nothing to lose.”

He chuckled. “Well played.”

“Thank you. This deal came together fast, 15 minutes, and three text messages. I’m good at combining pieces and parts to make something new. Of course, sometimes the new thing is better, and sometimes the new thing turns into a nightmare. But shaking things up is more fun than standing still.”

He agreed. “Standing still is the fastest way of moving backward in a changing world. You know who said that?”

“Steve Jobs? Bill Gates?” I guessed.

“No, Lauren Bacall.”

“No kidding, Lauren was on the money. I sure hope horse racing is looking down the road. I’m afraid that racetrack operators and the powers that be are praying that six months from now, nothing changes. Hunkering down seems to be the game plan.”

He asked, “What would Trey, the great merger maven, suggest?”

“I’d start with a simple, doable, measurable project with no downside.”

“Do tell.”

“A Biden/Harris rally on TV was the stimulus. It was one of those COVID-safe rallies where people stayed in their cars or sat in front of them on lawn chairs.”

“Where’s the merger? What’s the plan?”

“While the rally was on CNN, I read an article about how drive-in movie theatres are doing great during the pandemic. They are making money on movies and using the premises for weddings, concerts, and other crazy stuff.”

“Good for drive-ins. They were on life support.”

“Yeah, it helps when you are running one of the few games in town. These two incidents got me thinking. Why can’t racetracks paint parking slots on the aprons of the racetracks facing the races? Why can’t they reconfigure, maybe even lay down some extra asphalt and go halfway around the track? Seriously, is that rocket science?”

He got into the swing of things, “It is not rocket science, and it would be an opportunity to bring some energy to the races. Fifty cars encircling the track during the races would be a bit of a buzz, a great improvement over an empty apron.”

We started ping-ponging ideas, “And, I see more mergers. Spider Greenspan could bring his food truck. Fans could order curbside.”

I gave a finger snap, “If the virus hangs on, people will be desperate for activities they can do from their cars. Going to the races would be a novel experience.”

He said, “People could wager from their I-pads; maybe give a discount code to fans on the premises.”

“In nice weather, they could sit in chairs in front of their cars. In crappy weather, they could be toasty inside.”

He said, “I would suggest they number each parking slot, charge a fee to use them, and keep the total number of slots relatively small to give them value. This idea could be a revenue stream if promoted properly. Trust me, it the idea catches on, and people can’t rent a slot, that’s when they will want a slot.”

“And…”

My phone chirped. I held up a finger to answer and put the phone to my ear, “Sup Ricky.”

“Uh-huh.”

“No”

“Why not?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Hey, let me call you back. I’m in a meeting, working on another merger.”

I pushed the disconnect button. David asked, “Was that the guy who leased the food truck?”

I nodded. “Yeah, Ricky is pumped, asking about the menu, pricing, and some other crazy ideas.”

He smiled. “Ricky’s not standing still. That’s good, very good.”

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