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February 27, 2004

Street Corner Selling – Lesson #4

Today’s lesson is MERCHANDISING

In Lesson #3, you learned how street corner sellers procure their product. In Lesson #4, we take a look at how drug dealers merchandise their procured product. As with the previous lessons, this inisght into the business practices of drug delears comes from Dealing Crack written by Bruce Jacobs.

After purchasing their “bundle,” the sellers package individual quantities for retail.

A bopper purchased wholesale (for $100), might be broken down into ten $20 rocks – yielding $200 in sales or double the investment. Quarter-ounces purchased wholesale (for $250) might be broken down into some combinations of fifties, twenties, and tens that equaled, when retailed, $500. Half-ounces purchased wholesale (for $500) might be broken down into boppers, fifties and twenties equal to $1,000 at retail.

The goal is to double one’s money. More often than not, this is a goal and nothing more. As K-Rock explained, “The only way to double your money like that for real is to sell twenties. You need twenty sales to make a straight profit.”

On the street, dealers confront desperate and financially strapped users wanting to “get over” – soliciting twenties for $12, fifties for $40, or tens for $3 or $4. Buyers would sometimes reportedly bring the full amount to a transaction and attempt to either hide this fact or more brazenly, ask for change from the dealers they were trying to short.

To maintain profit margins, dealers might bite open a baggie, break off the quantity requested, and sell the remainder later for its marginal value – or even at full price to some dupe. Breaking off pieces; however, is inconvenient, imprecise, messy (crumbs might be dropped, and time-consuming. In the meantime, a sale might be lost to competition or, worse yet, observed by police.

To avoid this, a small number of $5 and $10 rocks might be prepackaged. Such nickel and dime sales, however – referred to as “kibbles and bits” – were disliked. Like most merchants, crack dealers want to make the fewest sales for the most money.

Street Corner Selling Curriculum:
Lesson #1: Customer Acquisition
Lesson #2: Ten Minute Rule
Lesson #3: Procurement
Lesson #4: Merchandising
Lesson #5: Angel Customers and Demon Customers
Lesson #6: Developing Enthusiastically Satisfied Customers (pt. 1)
Lesson #7: Developing Enthusiastically Satisfied Customers (pt. 2)


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