Hello and good day!
I had showered, shaved, dressed, drowned myself in cologne, and gotten ready to go to a party with the girl I was dating.
I sat on the bottom bunk of the bunk beds in my dorm room.
My roommate had been expelled from college a month earlier for a long and sundry list of improprieties and I had the place all to myself.
I was the only young gentleman in the entire three-story dorm building who lived alone. That made me something of a hot prospect, at least that was how I figured it.
My figuring didn't necessarily manifest itself in the real world, but the idea that I was something special bolstered my confidence.
I was on the second floor. The room was small and square and had windows on one side overlooking a grass field where students gathered to picnic and play frisbee.
There was a desk in the corner of the room, a futon in the middle, my bunk beds were up against a wall, and all of it was illuminated by a dull yellow ceiling light.
I had Sam Cooke on the stereo and he was crooning, "Darling, you send me. I know you send me. Honest you do, honest you do, whoa oh oh oh!"
I was feeling pretty good about things.
It was nighttime. I smelled good. And I had plans for the evening.
There was a knock.
I stood up and opened the door.
It was her.
I reached out for a hug, but she held up her index finger to stop me.
"One second. I think I have to go to the bathroom," she said.
Then she turned and walked away.
It was strange, but I didn't think much of it.
I left the door open and sat back down on the bed.
Sam Cooke kept singing while I waited.
When she came back, she sat sideways on the futon's black metal arm, facing me.
She took a deep breath, and this was the first time I recall ever seeing a specific kind of look.
It was the look of somebody who has something to say but wishes they didn't have to say it.
"Adam, I don't think we should see each other anymore."
I was surprised and not thinking straight and that explains the very silly question that came out of my mouth in response.
"Does that mean we aren't going to the party?"
It was a bad question because obviously we weren't going to the party.
That was the whole point of her telling me then instead of later.
And now things got really painful.
"Well, I was still planning on going. Maybe we could each go on our own," she said.
"You don't want to go together?" I asked.
She shook her head.
"Listen. I want to tell you something. I like you a lot. But this is moving too fast, and I don't want to be in anything serious right now. It's not that I don't like you. It just isn't the right time for this," she said.
She walked out.
I thought about going to the party, but I couldn't stand the idea of seeing her there talking to other guys.
So, I went to Rajiv's room. Rajiv was one of the quirkiest people I've ever known.
Thick black hair and thick black glasses. He hated parties and was always in his room.
His favorite thing in the world, I kid you not, was to play sports video games with the volume down so he could call the game as if he were a sports announcer.
It was very strange and very funny.
That night he had ordered in Chinese food.
We ate kung pao shrimp, played basketball video games, and I listened to Rajiv impersonate Marv Albert for 4 hours.
I'd rather have gone to the party with the girl, but kung pao shrimp and Rajiv weren't such a bad alternative.
Now back to the look a person wears when they have something to say but wishes they didn't have to say it.
I am wearing that look right now.
Maybe the story above was a stall tactic.
Whatever the case, I have to spit it out.
We are going to be raising our prices next week.
You probably don't follow the world cacao market, but we do.
We don't only follow it, we're in it.
There have been three years of global cacao deficits and now the African cacao harvest is coming up short due to unseasonably heavy rains.
Stored prior year surpluses have been exhausted and there are vast shortages of cacao.
We are seeing action out in campo that we've never seen before.
Middlemen who have never set foot in the district of Hauarango are scouring the countryside in search of cacao and offering outrageous prices.
We have no choice but to pay our agreed upon premiums and our cacao costs are up 30% to 40% this year.
That is the bad news.
The good news is that we honestly believe this spike is a short-term phenomenon.
We've seen shortages like this alleviated by bumper crops in following years.
We really hope that happens.
If prices come down in the future, we will lower our prices to reflect our ingredient costs.
However, it is a certainty that our prices will be going up 10% - 20% starting next week.
We've managed to hold our prices stable through the inflationary economy of the last couple of years by good, efficient supply chain management.
But we will not be able to sidestep this market reality.
It is a very simple matter of supply and demand.
There isn't enough cacao to make all the chocolate the world wants.
And we'll be darned if we stop making our chocolate.
So, we have to pay the price, as we have for the last 15 years.
This presents the closest thing to a discount we'll ever offer.
We don't do black Friday sales or holiday specials.
We offer the best price that we are capable of offering for exceptionally good chocolate, all day every day.
I've asked one of our team members to run the numbers for me.
He'll have the calculations ready in a few days and then we'll adjust our prices.
If you buy before then, you'll get the current prices.
Therefore, if you were planning on buying some chocolate from us, I'd recommend you do it now.
Dang it I hate having to raise prices.
But that is the real world.
Sometimes you have to do things you wish you didn't.
Like breaking up with a guy right before a party.
Or eating shrimp with Rajiv.
Thank you so much for time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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