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Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

Governor Davis

goes into business

"Good morning Governor Davis, and welcome to MegaLoan, California's largest bank," Ms. Smith the bank receptionist says.

"Good morning," Davis replies.

"Mr. Sharpe, our vice-president of business loans will see you now, and by the way, I'm really sorry about this whole recall thing. I can't believe you are here at the bank instead of watching the Election Day results roll in. You must be really calm."

Davis shrugs and smiles.

"Win or lose I'm a businessman now," he says as he makes his way toward the VP's office.

"Governor Davis, we have a few questions for you about the business plan you submitted to support your loan application," Sharp says as he shakes Davis' hand.

"It is pretty straightforward. I am going to buy a McDoogles franchise and sell hamburgers," the Governor says.

"Well, yes. But there are a few questions about your revenues and the loan amount."

"Oh of course, you mean the extra money?"Davis asks.

"Well that is part of it," Sharp says.

"That is for the lobbyist," Davis says deadpan.

"I see. Well, lets talk about your cash flow. Some of your figures seem a little optimistic."

"Like what?"

"Well, it says here in payroll that you plan to start new employees out at $75,000 a year salary with full health and dental benefits and a company car."

"Exactly," Davis says. "I care about my employees and I demand that they have an adequate standard of living."

"Mr. Davis, I'm the vice president of the bank and I barely make that kind of money," Sharp says.

"That is criminal. Everyone should make lots of money," the Governor says.

"Okay, well let's talk about revenue. Most new franchises similar to yours post gross revenues around the $2 million mark for the first five years. According to your business plan you forecast gross revenues of $19 million each year."

"To say the least that seems a little optimistic, don't you think?" Sharp asks.

"Not at all. The numbers are right there in black in and white," Davis replies. "Actually I am forecasting selling fewer hamburgers than most new McDoogles franchises."

With a bewildered look on his face our loan officer tosses the business plan on his desk.

"Mr. Davis, you are governor of our state. You are a powerful man. But for the life of me, I do not understand how you can forecast to sell fewer hamburgers than similar establishments and make 10 times the money."

"You must not have read my whole plan. Did you get to the price of our product?"


"Well, we will be selling a quarterkilo burger for $42. A soft drink will cost $9. Fries will be a loss leader at only $7. That way we can afford to pay our employees a decent wage and still remain profitable," Davis says.

"$42 for a quarterkilo burger?"

"Well, not just any quarterkilo burger. It will actually be a quarterkilo non-burger made of self-harvested soy that has been blessed by a Zoroastrian monk of questionable sexual orientation. Very healthy and worth the premium we think."

"It is really quite simple economics," Davis finishes with a slightly condescending smile as though he is explaining simple arithmetic to a child.

"Well, yes, it is simple. So let me get this straight. You are going to sell quarterkilo non-burgers made of Zoroastrian-blessed soy for $42?"

"Blessed by a monk of questionable sexual orientation," Davis adds. "But, in short, yes."

"Mr. Davis, nobody is going to pay $42 for a soy burger. It will not happen. People want a juicy piece of beef on their quarterkilo burgers and they want to pay $3. That is simple common sense," our good bank officer replies.

"Oh we thought of that. That is why we asked for the extra money for the lobbyist. This will be good for the people of California but, like all people, they do not know what is good for them. A few good laws will solve the problem," Davis says.

There is a long pause.

"You want to pass a law where I have to buy non-burgers that taste like bean curd for $42?"

"Actually the bean curd flavoring costs an extra $3," the still governor replies. "But, yes, that is why we have the line-item for the lobbyist."

There is another long pause.

"Well, when can I expect the funding to come through?" Davis finally asks.

"Any day I'm sure," Sharp finally answers, "but you will have to excuse me, I have some urgent business to attend to.

"Ms. Smith," he says over the telecom to the young lady in the front.

"Yes, Mr. Sharp?"

"Are the polls still open?"

"Yes sir. Until seven."

"I'll be right back Governor. This recall is more important than I realized."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:

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