CEO of My Refrigerator
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CEO of My Refrigerator     662 Words


I’m not good at corporate finance. My husband explains high finance to me using the “Nordstrom Postulate” which is much silliness about the real cost of buying a dress on sale and paying interest on my credit card.


Of course he doesn’t take into account the side benefits which can’t be measured, such as my image enhancement (how hot I look in the dress) and, since I’m feeling so attractive, how his sex quota (“sales”) might increase. And, hey, let’s not forget the increased awareness and market share of admiring looks from other men or the worth of comments like “Have you lost weight?”


At the moment, I’m working for a corporation whose financial worth is sinking faster than a mob hit wearing cement shoes. As I sit through a series of endless meetings led by bean counters I am having a difficult time grasping how in Hell we got to this point.  But then, I have the epiphany: Running a company can be compared to my household’s refrigerator.


I look at the contents of my refrigerator as if it were my own corporation. Like any corporation you have some employees who perform particularly well and are the backbone of your organization. In my refrigerator, I call those eggs, milk and butter. These outstanding performers are able to work in several departments and multi-task. Eggs and milk, for example, can be made into breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. Every refrigerator also has their “specialists” or consultants. Most of mine are in the condiment section. That little jar of capers was great on salmon a few weeks ago but isn’t doing much for me these days.


My job, as CEO of my refrigerator, is to manage the business of the household refrigerator. Once a week I go shopping. If at the end of each week my refrigerator is pretty bare, then I’ve done my job and spent my money well. If I’m throwing away a lot of uneaten or spoiled food, then I’ve wasted good money that could have been better spent on, say, a great pair of shoes.


For example, one of my VPs of Sales (my 11-year old daughter) recommended applesauce. So, I bought it. She hasn’t eaten the applesauce since. Clearly, I should have done a little more focus group testing before that applesauce hit my grocery cart.


Of course I have to watch out for market trends. My husband is always trying to sneak in some new fad food. This month, the popular refrigerator items revolve around the South Beach diet. They’re not performing well since only my husband’s market segment will eat them. There’s no consumer demand from the rest of the family.


Occasionally, I’ll open the refrigerator only to be confronted by a bunch of styrofoam and cardboard take-out containers. This means management has lost control and brought in a bunch of specialists who perform once and then hang around until they start changing colors and growing hair.


So, here’s my point: If you’re going to run a corporation efficiently, and save money, run it like your refrigerator. Hire the eggs, milk, butter and cheese. Bring in the Chinese take-out only when you really need it. If you’re going to bring in a consultant (like capers), don’t keep them hanging around taking up space. And don’t hire them in the first place unless they’re going to give it their all on the first project. Avoid food fads unless enough of your market segment is going to eat them. And for gosh sakes when something stops performing get rid of it! It’s not as if the yogurt that’s gone way past its expiration date is going to miraculously turn into something REALLY useful like, say, chocolate.


And if any member of my family stands in front of the open refrigerator and says “There’s nothing to eat”, I can be assured that my position as CEO of the refrigerator is secure when I tell them to go scramble some eggs.

2004 Nancy Franklin. All rights reserved