Jimmy ran his company “Grease Man” from a small tool shed in a poor neighborhood. The company logo “Grease Man” was written boldly on a large picture of a 55-gallon drum painted on both sides of his pick-up truck. He was not in the business of selling grease or cooking oil to the restaurants but he collected used cooking oil from the fryers for re-cycling.
“Hey Jimmy, you were supposed to pick up the grease last week,” said Christie, one of the girls at “Chicken, all you can eat,” a neighborhood restaurant.
“Yeah, I couldn’t make it last week, my vacuum pump broke down you know, I just got it fixed.” Jimmy immediately started pumping the grease into one of the drums on his truck muttering “man, this is yellow gold.”
Though, restaurant workers called Jimmy “Grease Man”, he didn’t mind at all since he was making pretty good living by peddling grease.
At the other end of the town, Billy ran “Fat Man,” another grease collection outfit. Billy was fat and never liked anybody call him as fat man. He pained “Fat Man, Grease Recycling Company,” in bold letters in yellow on both sides of his truck.
Jimmy and Billy competed against each other, and turned the restaurant grease recycling into a cutthroat business. Jimmy was a veteran in the business and Billy started later in the grease business.
The teenage workers in the fast food chains didn’t have a clue about all the fuss about collecting the foul smelling, yellow grease from the fryers. The grease clouded with drippings from hamburger cooking, with floating burnt-out batter drippings from fried chicken and fish, and small pieces of French fries, smelled bad. The grease turned sour and rancid with strong spicy odor within a few days of storage in outside containers for pick-up. But for Jimmy and Billy “the yellow grease” was “Yellow Gold.” The “Grease Man” and “Fat Man” competed against each other by stealing grease from each other’s accounts.
The restaurants contracted with either one of the two companies for disposal of the mess once the cooking oil was unfit for further cooking in their fryers.
Jimmy hated winter months when the grease solidified, and he had to shovel it or worse use his hands to scrape it. “What’s wrong with the kids?” Jimmy thought loudly several times when he found all kind of stuff like plastic forks, spoons, emptied tomato ketchup cups etc., in storage drums with yellow grease outside the restaurants. The workers at fast food chains have no understanding of what it takes for Jimmy or Billy to clean up the yellow grease before it can be sold to the animal feed industry.
Jimmy made a ton of money in collecting the used restaurant grease for free, and selling it for use in animal feed before Billy got into the business. The feedlot owners fattened the cows and hogs by feeding them the recycled restaurant grease or yellow grease. The animals loved their feed laced with the spicy restaurant grease, and gained weight by munching on the meal soaked in yellow grease - the animals got their share of grease without going to restaurants like us.
Billy’s “Fat Man” grease recycling company cut deep into Jimmy’s monopoly in the grease business and the “Grease Man” started to shrink slowly.
Jimmy started paying a small fee to the restaurants for their grease to keep his contract with the restaurants, and to keep Jimmy away from taking his business. The Fat Man Billy was no dummy either, he paid a penny more per pound for rancid grease than Jimmy did, and on top of it he distributed frozen turkeys as gifts for thanksgiving to the restaurant managers.
The price paid to the restaurants for picking up the yellow grease did not affect the bottom line for either Jimmy or Billy since both cheated the restaurants by under weighing the grease while picking up the grease.
The cows and hogs were addicted to feed laced with spicy yellow grease supplied by “Grease Man” and “Fat Man,” and refused to feed on regular grain or graze on pasture. Both Jimmy and Billy understood how badly the animals needed their grease to get fat easily.
One day, Jimmy met with Billy secretly to chalk out a plan to share the grease business in town between themselves without competing with each other.
“No more free turkeys to the managers, Billy,” said Jimmy.
“Well then, no more freebees from you to the restaurant managers either,” said Billy with a glee on his face.
“Shall we keep under weighing the product?” asked Billy.
“Sure, as long as we don’t get caught,” Jimmy, the wise man replied.
With the secrete agreement in place, Jimmy and Billy stopped competing against each other and stopped giving freebees, and even refused to pay the restaurants to pick up the rancid grease.
When the restaurants protested to Jimmy and Billy for withholding payments towards yellow grease pick-up, they told the restaurants to take their grease, and shove it in their backside. The restaurants knew that “Fat Man” and “Grease Man” were making a killing in selling yellow grease as animal feed, and yet could not keep the rancid yellow grease in their restaurants for too long without disposing it. This was exactly what Jimmy and Billy had in mind when they refused to pay even a penny for collecting the grease from the restaurants.
“Grease Man” and “Fat Man” expanded their business to other towns, and shared the restaurants between themselves without anybody getting into their grease business, and kept fat profits to themselves.
For starters, very few outside businesses were mindful of the amount of money “Grease Man” and “Fat Man” were making in collecting the used restaurant grease, which everybody believed to be of no value, and nasty to handle. Billy and Jimmy wanted others to believe exactly that way while they went to bank laughing.
The animals couldn’t live without lapping on spicy yellow grease, and the feedlot owners depended on “Grease Man” and “Fat Man” for grease supplies. This made Jimmy and Billy indispensable, and their business exploded making them rich.
A large venture company from out east stumbled on yellow grease recycling business when one of their guys while munching at a fast food restaurant watched Jimmy pumping the yellow grease from the restaurant kitchen. Following some inquires, he realized the profit margin in the restaurant grease recycling business.
The venture company paid handsome price to buy out Grease Man and Fat Man from Jimmy and Billy. The venture company did not like either of the company names “Fat Man” or “Grease Man”, instead the new company was named Yellow Gold Corporation, as it sounded modern. Yellow Gold Corporation quickly turned into a national franchise under the new ownership, and bought small grease recycling outfits across the country, and cornered the entire grease market in the country. The logo for the new company was a fat cow and a pig with yellow grease dripping from their mouth painted on black trucks.
The company went public immediately, and issued millions of shares to the public (IPOs). The stock price skyrocketed in first few days after it went public. Billy and Jimmy flushed with hundreds of thousands of IPOs became instant multimillionaires.
For less than a halfpenny paid per pound of grease to the restaurants, the “Yellow Gold Company ” made 100 times more as profit. Jimmy became the chairman of the board and Billy the President of Yellow Gold Company. They discarded their old pickup trucks and bought expensive imported cars. They greased their hair, and combed backwards like investment bankers from back east, and started wearing pinstriped suites.
“I worked from bottom up” boasted Jimmy at every board meeting.
“I am an operational guy all my life” boasted Billy to counter Jimmy at the meetings. They both knew pretty well that their old companies made money because they spent little money on environmental compliance by dumping wastewater from factory into city sewer on a stormy day to escape being caught by the inspectors. They paid little or nothing to the restaurants for collecting their grease, and yet charged a hefty fee for their product from feedlot owners. That was pretty much their business model of the past.
Yellow Gold Company jacked up the price of yellow grease knowingly that cows and hogs were addicted to their product in their feed. They stockpiled the finished product in their tank farms, and hoarded it until the prices went up. The cows and hogs refused to feed without the grease. It was almost like going on dieting, and the animals lost weight rapidly. The feedlot owners panicked when they saw their animals loosing weight. They begged Yellow Gold Company for grease supplies at any price.
The Yellow Gold realized their hold on the meat industry and issued more stock to the public to expand the company exponentially making the stockowners particularly the company officials immensely rich.
The Yellow Gold Company, now a national chain for yellow grease recycling popped up in every town. The company’s black trucks painted with a Holstein cow and Berkshire pig with yellow grease dripping from their mouth were all over the place picking up grease from the restaurants. With no competition and high price for their product, the company raked profits in peddling grease to fatten the animals.
The environmental impact of yellow grease processing attracted various government agencies, and the Yellow Gold Company came under scrutiny for environmental non-compliance that drove the company stock value dramatically down overnight. The company officials cashed in their stock options early leaving the average investors on a greasy slippery slope with worthless stock. Quickly, the yellow gold stock turned into fools’ gold.
The price of yellow grease was bottomed out and cheap grease started flowing into the market. The feedlots doled out spicy rancid grease to the animals again, to quickly fatten them for slaughter. The animals once again regained their top position as the recycling machines for the yellow gold albeit-the yellow grease.
The yellow Gold Company went broke and filed for bankruptcy. Jimmy and Billy bailed out to start their own company “Grease Men” and went straight back into grease collection business.
“Jimmy boy, I thought we would retire after all that money we made from Yellow Gold,” said Billy.
“Billy, yellow grease flows in our veins, you darn well know that, don’t you?” said Jimmy, getting out of the truck. Then, they both started to sing in harmony:
Yellow or brown grease,
whatever the name.
Animals love to feast on it.
We love to pick it up to line our pockets.