A certain friend of mine tells a great story. It has to do with the time he met the CEO of Coors Light. Now for those international readers who don’t know, Coors is a big time US beer brand, but it’s on the way to Europe now so keep an eye out. In fact I was sitting in a bar here in Menorca just the other day and saw a killer add for Coors Light with Jean Claude Van Damme (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL9UZHAyN6E), but back to the story.
My friend had come to meet with the Coors Company in order to try and make them a bit environmentally friendlier by selling them pollution offsets. It’s a big time company so making a sale here would mean big news for my friend. Of course making sales are hard and it’s normal to get the runaround so you can imagine his delight when he found he’d be meeting with the big cheese himself. Make the sale to him and there’d be no more hurdles to jump.
So in comes the CEO and my friend starts his pitch: “Buy carbon offsets with us. It’s the future. You can advertise being carbon neutral on your products.”
“Ok, let me stop you there,” says the CEO. “Let’s be honest. I make cheap beer for people who like drinking drink cheap beer. Are you telling me when my customer goes to the store and says to himself ‘what’s the cheapest beer they have?’, he’s going to pause and say ‘oh wait! Coors Light is a bit more expensive but it’s carbon neutral! I’ll buy that instead!’ Is that what you’re saying?”
Alas, no sale was to be made that day.
Now flash forward a year, I’m at a party at the house of the richest guy I know and he’s not just rich, he’s got megabucks, silly money. I mean money in this guy’s house is like steroids in baseball: it’s everywhere. There a humidor the size of a pirate chest full of cigars. There’s high end Vodka and Champagne being abused like homeless guys abuse Boons. In short, it’s paradise.
Still, I’m more of a beer drinker, so I pass over the fine wine and head for the fridge half expecting to open it and find a hidden beer cellar, but when I open up the door what do I see? Coors Light, hundreds of cans of it. For a moment I thought I’d fallen asleep and dreamt I was in a Coors Light commercial.
“Dude, why do you have so much Coors Light?” I asked more than slightly perplexed.
He looked back at me with an equal look of puzzlement, “I like it.”
This all makes one very important point. No matter who you are you can find things you love that are very cheap. All children know this, which is why you could leave caviar and wine next to Kool-Aid and cookies in a kindergarten, without ever having to worry about finding a bunch of drunk four year old. Unfortunately, as adults, most of us have forgotten how enjoyable inexpensive things can be. There’s no better time to recapture that pleasure than when you’re traveling. In many countries you’ll find inexpensive fruits, meats and cheeses you can’t find back home. You can try new pastries and snacks and spend even less than you would at your local supermarket. Even something as simple as trying exotic pizza toppings can allow you to sample local cuisine without spending more than you normally would at home.
As I mentioned in my last post there’s more to food and drink than money. Many people imagine that I’m living like Oliver and begging for a little extra oatmeal after breakfast, but fortunately that’s not quite true. In fact, for just a few cent I can have a cup of green tea, some fresh fruit and a chocolate croissant for breakfast, a meal that only an emperor could have had just a few centuries ago, except for the croissant with chocolate, since they wouldn’t have been discovered yet. So take a few dollars and go out and enjoy yourself today. You can eat like an Emperor or drink like a billionaire.