Everybody’s business

Cable crap
I’ve been frustrated with Comcast cable lately, mainly because it’s jacked up its rates to pay for improvements and yet reception has been fuzzy far too often of late.

Several times, I’ve called the company and asked to have my account credited for the days the cable is out. They always say they will do it, and then the credit never shows up on the bill. This time I’m going to be watching more closely.

As I was stewing over this (significant plot twists in All My Children were missed), I got a message from a Chico resident who went a step further. He went into the office and complained. Comcast cut his bill in half.

The squeaky-wheel technique seems to work.

More time for me to watch AMC
There comes a time in every business writer’s career when you just have to punt. Let someone else do it, I say. With that go-get-’em attitude, I sent News & Review intern Kanji Aiso to cover an event last weekend. His report follows.

Kids incorporated
The smell of popcorn and the sounds of rock music and laughter filled Acker Gym Saturday, March 27, as children turned into little entrepreneurs.

It was all part of the Wise Kid Healthy Kid Youth Entrepreneurship Camp, a program of Chico State University’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) club.

One volunteer, Kota Minegishi, described the energy of the scene. “This atmosphere was like the Chico Farmers’ Market,” Minegishi said. “They are active and motivated.”

But the children didn’t sell vegetables. Instead, they sold necklaces, candles, dolls, lawn-mowing services, handmade birdhouses, hot dogs and Asian foods.

In a corner of the gym, an Asian girl sold spring rolls, egg rolls and fried rice from a 7-foot table. She said she likes to talk with people and make some money. “My parents didn’t push me to do this, and this is fun,” she said. “I want to do this again.” Even though she likes to serve food, the girl said she didn’t want to open a restaurant in the future. Her mother cooked all the foods for the event.

Three booths away, three children sold handmade various birdhouses. A white birdhouse with blue and yellow Lego blocks on the roof fetched $25. They said they would buy toys with their profits.

At a booth across the aisle, another boy had worse luck. He didn’t bring any handmade products, instead selling beef jerky and sodas like a convenience store.

The same day, as part of the International Trade Fair, SIFE also sponsored Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE), in which high-school students from the Bay Area engaged in mock businesses.

While the businesses were simulated, using virtual money, they were managed by students to prepare them for working in a real business environment. Working as a team, the students made business cards, used computers and brought shopping catalogs. In a booth named Kicks N’ Clothing, the students wore identical polo shirts and took orders from visitors who knew they wouldn’t receive real materials.

Curt DeBerg, the faculty adviser to the SIFE Chico team, said the events are drawing more and more corporate sponsors and winning awards for the team.

“After you graduate from Chico State, you will recognize the reputation of the school and sponsors,” he said.