As many of you know, I design, manufacture and market ashtrays. I’d like to share with you some of the success I had with a recent design over the past weekend with one of my most exciting models: The Wristray. This is an ashtray that is build around a previous invention, the wristwatch, that though clever, I cannot lay claim to. While a good idea, the wristwatch has one MAJOR drawback - it can not be used to conveniently extinguish a cigarette.
The Wristray corrects this problem. I took two approaches to repairing the oversight of the small-minded fools who designed the wristwatch (which frankly is a very poor name since there is not much to WATCH on one of these things. I started watching one at about 4:53, and later that afternoon the darn thing began to repeat!).
In the first case, I used the existing wristwatch, removed the junk inside and lined it with tin foil. In the second case, I took a piece of string and one of those colorful metal ashtrays one finds in church bingo halls. I poked two holes in the flimsy metal and threaded the string through them, tying the string around the customer’s wrist.
While initially, I thought people would prefer the later, I was surprised to find that many people wanted to wristwatch-like Wristray. They only issue seemed to be when the issue of price came up. As you know, I do nothing half way, and so, on Friday, I sent several of my henchmen to fancy pants jewelers around the country with explicit instructions to purchase the finest watches from the very finest establishments. They returned late Friday night laden with Rolexes, Piagets, Swatchs, Phillipe-Pachecks, the whole shooting match.
One thing I will say for these watches is they are VERY hard to take apart. It took quite some time to get all of the little parts out of them and many of the first ones we worked on go so bent and dented that they were no good.
Once I opened them and cleaned them, it was time to line them with foil. That was easier to get. I simply went to the LAM LAB and grabbed a couple of rolls. Lining them was a piece of cake; I cut the foil into small squares and placed the squares inside the now faceless watch cavity. In some cases I was able to put the face on so that it still looked kind of like a watch.
As I was saying though, while some people liked the idea, most balked at the price. For example, in one case, I had a solid gold Piaget that had cost $12,000. I ADDED value to the thing but people were unwilling to pay the $12,000.50 that I was asking. All day this went on, I was getting more and more confused and angry. Finally, I threw up my hands, threw the unwanted Wristrays into a gully and returned home.
It was there that I came upon "option 2". Because of my ashtray making and marketing prowess, I have a large collection of ashtrays, both my own and others. Part of this collection is 15,000 aluminum ashtrays that once graced bingo tables all over America. (You will be surprised to know that I paid NOTHING for these, what a steal, you just go to the dumpster after bingo night and you are well rewarded).
I had my underlings prepare them to my exacting specifications, and within a few hours, the first prototype was complete. It featured a sunny yellow face (with a few stub marks I referred to as "SUNSPOTS!) and a 7" length of string. With great anticipation, I tied it to one of my test monkey's wrist and handed him a lit cigarette. Mr. Ray burned himself only a few times before (with my help) he managed to extinguish the cigarette on his wrist.
Now convinced that I had a winner, I instructed my production teams to go to work. Saturday had been a bust and Sunday was 6 short hours from dawning.
We went to work.
By 10:00 on Sunday morning, I had 8,000 Writstrays and was at a flea market. As usual, I was mobbed as soon as people realized that it was I, ANDY LAM! standing before them. By 6:00 that evening, I had sold 60 of my new wristrays (tm) at .50 each, meaning a profit of $30!! Let me tell you, plan A was a loser; I invested tens on millions of dollars in watches, all for naught. Plan B came through with flying colors. It really just goes to show one thing - you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.