Complacency kills and it was nearly my downfall! You’ve heard the phrase “to not put all of your eggs in one basket” because if you lose your basket, you lose everything.
I grew up hearing that phrase, it was my mom’s favorite saying, but I never really paid attention to it. I learned the hard way about how when you put all of your eggs in one basket and then get complacent about it that when your basket goes, you find yourself lost and in a world of trouble. That happened to me and my basket wasn’t a basket at all, but Amazon.
I know, it doesn’t make much sense now, but let me explain. My name is Joe and I come from a hard working family; my parents grew up rural and poor and instilled my sisters and me with the values that a job done right is a job well done and that hard work is the only way to get ahead. And, for the most part, we all took it to heart.
I graduated high school and got a job with the local mechanic; keep in mind that I did not grow up in a city, so job options were not huge in the surrounding area but they guys at the garage took me under their wing and taught me how to fix anything from lawnmowers to trucks. My fingers were often grease stained but I loved the feeling I got when I would turn a key and the engine would roar to life on something that had previously not worked.
Business began to slow down, one of the brothers who ran the garage also owned the antique shop next door, and they had to let go with all but the girl who worked at thecounter. Big Mike taught me how to refinish wood and no matter how beaten up a piece of furniture was, under Big Mike’s tutelage I became a craftsman in my own right. I was even able to take pieces of broken furniture and turn it into something new! I could weld old metal into a unique table stand and then set a nice piece of glass on top of it.
The garage closed down. A big automotive repair chain had opened up a few years prior about twenty miles away and we could not compete with their prices and slowly but surely, we lost business. The brothers closed the shop but kept me on part-time at the antique store. I did apply at the new repair shop but I was turned down because I had not learned to be a mechanic at a school and had no certifications.
Pretty soon, the antique shop closed too. Big Mike and his brother were throwing in the towel and closing the business down. They sold to me, at a deeply discounted price, a nice mixture of mechanic’s tools and equipment and for the furniture refurnishing and repair and they even toted it all up, packed in their truck, to my garage, where I was going to set up shop.
I despaired as to what to do for money, jobs were scarce and it was looking like that unless I moved to the city, I would be doomed to a life of doing odd jobs for the people in our town. Fixing a car here or there brought in enough to pay rent, but not much else and it was actually my sister, Megan, that gave me the answer that I needed; Amazon!
She told me that I could sell the things that I fixed up on Amazon and even the little knick knacks that I made in my spare time out of spare parts. I had taken to using leftover parts and welding them into little sculptures and I had shelves of them in the garage, animals, trees, and all sorts of things. Megan told me that I could be selling this stuff on Amazon and she showed me how people were buying and selling stuff. Well, it would be a good way to earn money until I got a steady job so I signed up and started listing my little creations on there, even some of the furniture.
It took me a while to get the hang of making the auctions look good and to take clear photos and write detailed descriptions of each item but pretty soon my little metal figures, made out of scrap, nuts and bolts or sometimes, even from carved and polished wood, were selling at a steady pace.
I was so happy with the money that I was making that I stopped looking for work and spent all my time in my garage, sitting in front of the computer on my Amazon page or running to the Post Office. My parents were in doubt that I could make a living off of Amazon and they warned me that technology was often more of a headache than a hassle and I shrugged them off.
Three years went by, I had outstanding reviews and a high rating, and for the first time in a long time, I had money in the bank. I did not have to worry about bills and due dates. I was able to replace my shabby things with new things.
Amazon account was compromised and because of that, Amazon suspended my account and so did PayPal. I sent in reports to regain control but nothing was happening. I had to fax over paperwork proving that I was who I said I was and I had to send notarized statements that I had not been the one to misuse my account.
A month went by and then two, the money in the bank was nearly gone and I began to panic. How was I going to make next month’s rent? Afford gas in my truck to drive to interviews? Eat and pay the utilities. My appeals to Amazon got me nowhere. PayPal unlocked my account but without Amazon, it was useless. I was beginning to get desperate and my mom’s words about all my eggs in one basket kept floating around in my head.
About a year prior, that big automobile chain had opened up a smaller location closer to me so I went there. I told them that I had no certifications but I could fix anything. They told me that they would hire me and pay for the certification and they would take the cost from my checks, so I agreed. I passed the tests, got the paper that made it legal for them to hire me and was once again fixing cars and up to my elbows in grease but I missed my Amazon auctions and I missed creating those little figures. I saw Megan in the shop one day, talking to the manager, showing him something and then they were both staring at me. Oh boy, now what?
Billy, the manager came over, holding one of my welded cars that I had made, and asked if I had more and of different types. That day, after work, Billy came to my house and I showed him the boxes. He asked me if I would mind if they started selling them in the little auto parts shop that was attached to the garage! Things that I made, being sold in a store!
I said yes and it must have been a sign for more good things to come because Amazon unlocked my account, after almost 5 months, re-instated my ratings even! I still sell on
Amazon, and I still fix cars for friends and I still work at the garage because never again will I put all of my eggs in one basket ever again!