I’ve been lazy and reluctant to blog lately, and what inspires me to blog right now is the Charity Week & Canteen Day 2010 which took place about 1.5 years ago. Many of my classmates would either have been in local & private universities already, and I must say that I truly cherished those times together. This is what I could come up with, and after reading this, I hope I could put a smile on your face of what we have been through together as a class, as a single entity. Having said so, I hope you enjoyed it.
It wouldn’t have occurred to me that U6A3 would emerge in the Top 5 list of the charity collection sales for it has never took place, due to many painstaking factors. The sixth formers tend to be more academically active whilst neglecting the purpose for this responsibility. Secondly, not withstanding the fact that we are limited in numbers. Heck, some form six classes are one quarter of an ordinary class in the school, probably even less. Common sense (or maybe economics) tells you when you have limited human resources, thus you have less workforce, hence productivity would be relatively low. With so many odds stacked against us, we managed to achieve the almost-impossible, that is to emerge as the overall champion for the Form 6 category, 2nd in terms of highest per capita collection and nonetheless 4th overall in the entire school. A total of RM5115.15 in all. Cool, eh? Of course, all of these comes with sweat, effort from everyone of us multiply it by 24. We had set a precedent whereby other Form 6 classes were about and set to follow, which they did in 2011.
When the charity week program was being briefed to us, we weren’t exactly excited nor were we anticipating it. The old Xaverians would be probably be telling you that was yet another annual program of school that was a complete waste of time. Some would’ve said they enjoyed it cause they get to eat in class – like openly! Meanwhile, I on the other hand was thinking that is yet another opportunity for us to skip lessons and it’s rather cool. Well, you have to be mischievous sometimes for it is a part of process of growing up in high school. Anyway, when the class talked about it, albeit secretly (of course we couldn’t afford to have our teacher to learn of our mischief), the excitement and momentum slowly builds. We were talking of selling this and that, basically anything under the Sun that we could possibly be thinking of.
Here comes when I volunteered myself to lead the class as the overall coordinator for this event. Well, someone had to take the lead. When I proposed of having the class to donate RM10 each as a starting capital to ensure a smooth cash-flow for our raw ingredients, whoa you’d never expect the backlash that I got. Well, human’s nature to blame. They could talk about selling the world, but when we are about to get real, everyone seems to be taking a backseat. I slowly explained to them that this is necessarily vital, and most of them slowly agreed and compromised. I actually promised the class that we would be assured a spot in the Top 5 if we unite. Our class enrollment was perfect, good enough to get things done and not to have a case where too many cooks spoil the broth. No doubt, it was the kiasu-ism spirit that actually fueled us and made us got this far. Our class kicked it off by selling gwai leng gao (herbal jelly). We managed to sell all of it within a day, although sales and comments were unfavourable. I learned my lesson shortly after and was glad that we managed to earn a net profit of RM40 without much effort. That was a good start, I’d say cause it hasn’t officially start yet.
When we thought we were on the right direction, we started to get ambitious. That’s pretty common eh, as what was stated in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? You simply will not be satisfied with the same result you obtain earlier, cause your craving for success naturally increases. That’s when we faced with our largest obstacle yet. Guess what? With poor planning and teamwork, we couldn’t manage to sell out all of our sausages on our first day. (Yes, we were selling sausages, damn it!) Subsequently, I faced the wrath of my classmates. It’s a do or die situation, really. We conducted a post mortem to further identify our problems. During the discussion, many of my classmates objected with the idea of selling sausages. They find it too common. I begged to differ, and faced criticism of being too dictatorial. I hadn’t concede that claim on me because in order to get things done, someone had to be the bad guy. I persevered to the end that we should sell sausages, my friends in the marketing line supported me because they said sausages can really sell, it’s just that we face problem from the production line. Finally, we managed to reach a consensus that they reduce the amount of sausages. I secretly agreed to them but my actions strayed. I directed my friends to further stock up more sausages. I corrected the production line and straighten things up. The next day, when they were presented with even more sausages, they were shocked. I nevertheless asked them to begin operation. True enough, production managed to catch up with marketing. Both were moving at a correct phase. All sausages were sold out. Miracles? Heck no, effort and teamwork alone!
Most of you would be thinking, of so many products, why sausages? It’s so common. Precisely, you got it right. We want it to be just sweet and simple. Do not underestimate it, cause we managed to yield a high profit margin on sausages alone. It causes about 25cents net for a piece – including sauce, butter and everything to get it done. BUT, we sell it at 3 for RM2. Not convincing enough? You do the math. Mind you, sausages are just as easy to sell as anything else. Gradually, other classes were seen trying to innovate ways in order to come out with their sausages, but to no ado. Simply because we produce it en masse over proper production line. Next, when we realize that the momentum of our sales starts to drop, we introduced two new flavours which are the cheese and black pepper sausages. It sold like hot cakes – probably even faster. We made it a point to push for our leftover normal sausages to sell together with our new product due to massive popularity since it yields a higher profit margin. With both the sausages released into the market, revenues flowed in like nobody’s business.
In the meantime, we couldn’t rely much based on sausages alone. I thought we needed more products and diversification is our only option. We’ve even managed to create a name for ourselves. Whenever they see sausages, the students would relate it to our class. I kept on brainstorming for other products. Valentine’s was around the corner, we even thought about it. However, we omitted the idea after the lengthy production process. Instead, I wanted an innovative product this time. That’s when I asked Krystle, to come up with our one and only homemade mini cream puffs.
Mini Cream puffs or profiteroles was next in our product line. I’d say that was our most creative product yet! Cream puffs isn’t something really common to sell at all, we thought. The more we talked about it, the more hyped we got. Some shouted that it’s definitely going to be an instant hit! And really, it did. Initially, there was just about 80 cream puffs that was done at home by Krystle just to test the market out there. Never would have we thought that it sold out in a matter of minutes, no kidding. All we did was adding some icing sugar to the already cute and mini puffs that make it look so attractive that practically everyone would fall in love into. Days later, we begin a massive production for cream puffs in the school’s bakery, producing over 800 of this cute pastries, staying back after school. We then managed to sell over 600 of these cream puffs in a packet of 3 each, selling RM2 each the next day. A net profit of RM1.80 and a whopping 1000% profit margin. It’s actually very simple, considering the cost of cream puffs are really cheap but the perceived value of it seems higher and consumers are willing to buy it, so why not?
We had over 200 pastries left and we thought that we couldn’t be continuously selling cream puffs, it was supposed to be our rare and exclusive product, so we came up with something new this time. And that was to integrate ice creams into the pastries, thus naming it ‘ice cream puffs’. Creative eh? Hell yeah. When we started selling it during recess, people were starting to get curious about what this ice cream puff thingy was all about and I just couldn’t possibly picture the crowd that we amassed. It was huge! The sales of our ice cream puffs was so overwhelming that it slows down our sales of sausages (we still had leftovers). Status quo of the ice cream puffs now befalls opon us, and so we thought, so why not sell both products together? “Buy 3 ice cream puffs and get 2 sausages free for RM4”, was our instant reply to the crowd, and it resulted in clearing both our puffs and sausages. Actual calculations shows that they in fact they paid for those puffs AND sausages. It was just some marketing gimmick. Awesome eh?
The following week, we were very amused by the revenues of other classes who were selling drinks alone. Their profits were way above than what we expected. Then of course, they practically monopolized the entire beverage market because there were simply too many classes selling food. Too saturated it may seems, wasn’t good for us. We ceased all productions that has got to do with solid food and snacks, and we ventured to a whole new market entirely, which is the desserts category. We followed the blue ocean strategy very closely. I wanted to create a new market for my class, monopolising it entirely. By the time we entered the second week, there were no signs of people selling ice cream, then I thought it might be our only chance. We then submitted application to the organizer and applied for sole monopoly in selling ice cream, thus barring the rest from selling, citing reasons that we had stocked too much. I know, we were acting like a bitch that time (pun intended, haha). On the day we started selling, students were happy to see a RM1 ice cream with a single scoop and peanut toppings on top of it. Much to their delight and ours as well, a day’s revenue shoots up to RM500 without even doing much, just by selling ice creams alone. We told ourselves that it is okay to sell it cheap, simply because we could sell in volume and keep having repeated customers. On the grand finale day, we stopped selling ice creams because we were notified that there were various applications of classes who are about to sell it as well. We thought, no point wasting our time to do something that wouldn’t let us earn as much. True enough, other classes that sells ice cream were fighting amongst each other, price wars were starting to emerge towards the end of the canteen day and some had very little profits, mostly breakeven and even losses. We managed to find sponsors for our products for canteen day from the 5-star E&O Hotel. They were kind enough to sponsor us chicken pies, scones, and other English pastries which we earmed a decent profit of RM700 on that day alone.
Those days were over, and I believed much were cherished in our hearts and minds. What I truly hoped for was to have a class reunion (no need to wait for 5 years like what Pn. Halina says) and start talking, sharing, laughing and teasing about the days we spend together, the jokes we had and the time where we would act as if we really paid attention to Accounting classes, or chat over PA & MUET classes, slept over PP classes, etc. I actually missed U6A3 of 2010, what about you? =)
– Eric Ong