Warren Buffett made the first pennies of his estimated $US71 billionfortune 78 years ago.
As a 6-year-old kid in Omaha, Nebraska, he bought packs of gum at his grandfather’s grocery store, and spent the evenings going door to door selling them to neighbours.
Buffett wasn’t intimidated; he was a hyper-intelligent, super-talkative kid who had an easy manner with grown-ups.
But he took a firm stance with selling.
“I remember a woman named Virginia Macoubrie saying, ‘I’ll take one stick of Juicy Fruit,'” Buffett recalled to Alice Schroeder in her biography, “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.”
His reply to the woman? “We don’t break up packs of gum.”
It was a matter of honour for the mogul-to-be.
“I’ve got my principles,” he explained to Schroeder. “I still, to this day, remember Mrs. Macoubrie saying that she wanted one stick.”
And the young Buffett wouldn’t move an inch.
“No, they were sold only in five-stick packs,”
Buffett said. “They were a nickel, and she wanted to spend a penny with me.”
Buffett’s early business acumen would blossom as he grew.
Using a variety of hustles beyond selling gum — including horse tracks, pinball machines, and delivering the Washington Post — Buffett would make $US53,000 by age 16.
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