Gathered around the table for their weekly business meeting, the employees of Scottie Glee-ater, the entertainment venture in Sageland Elementary’s MicroSociety, were facing their first financial crisis. Their annual loan packet was due to the credit union in an hour and they were more than just a few Micro dollars short.
“Look, we need to figure out how much we need to hold us over for at least two pay periods. If we can make it to next month, we have our annual Talent Show and that always brings in the bucks,” Valeria, the 6th grade casting director declared.
“Attendance at our weekly shows is down,” she added, holding up a bar graph for all to see. “If we don’t fill the seats at our next few Celebration Serenades, I hate to say it but we are…well, through. We need to get a survey out there to find out why we are losing fans.”
Meanwhile Valeria drummed her fingers on her cheek. Consumers just weren’t spending. She knew she wasn’t. She had seen her dad cut back at home after he lost his job. “Save, Don’t Crave” became her father’s mantra. Valeria brought it with her to the Marketplace. Surely others brought their parents’ practices too.
5th grade vocal artist, Victor, jumped out of his chair, “What if we invite Selena Gomez to perform with us?” he declared. A superstar would certainly boost their ticket sales.
“Wishful thinking,” answered Angelina, “but not likely.”
Analicia, the 5th grade co-producer, mumbled, “Well, I guess we could get rid of one of our employees. It happened at my mom’s work. And we’ve got to pay bills. . .” she trailed off. Employees started sizing one another up, gauging who would be “the one” to go.
Valeria started making calculations in the margin of her paper. “If we let someone go, we could save–” Bryan, the 6th grade venture director, cut her off.
“Not a chance that we are downsizing here. Take away any one of us and the show cannot go on.”
An idea came to him. “When the Walmart was in trouble they put everything on sale. It brought more people to the store. Even though the prices were lower, they made more money because more items sold.”
Analicia shouted, “Spin the wheel! We could make a wheel and put percents in each section. 10%, 15%, even 20%. When consumers pass our box office, we can invite them to spin for a discount.”
“Kinda like at a fair. People always pay to spin them there . . . and they don’t even win every time,” Victor pondered.
Bryan interjected, “Just remember, we can’t have a year-long sale. We won’t last. Once we are back on track, we have to figure out what really happened to get us into this mess in the first place.”
A serenade of “Yeah’s” followed. It was reasonable. It was logical. It was a campaign. Not a permanent solution. “The Wheel Deal” they called it. In just one month, they were turning a profit again and adding new shows to their schedule to meet customer demand. There would be no more breaking the bank but plenty more “Break-A-Legs” for this crew… and hopefully no broken wheels!