Black Friday lived up to its reputation as the biggest shopping day of the year at my little store yesterday. We just about sold out of the glass water bottles, priced below my cost as a promotional item. Sales topped our record by 70%. I opened shop this morning ready for a big rake-in.

Four hours into the day, I have sold one $5 water bottle. People come in and say, "How cute," and shuffle off. Perhaps the overdid it with the credit cards yesterday and are feeling too guilty and burdened to further extend themselves?

Nothing has changed except for one thing. My Jamaican assistant, who has taken care of me and various family members since 2002, was at work yesterday. Chair and I have employed Lorna as nurse's aide, nanny and housekeeper. We appreciated her as a person of brains and discretion. We knew she once had a T-shirt business back in Jamaica. But we little suspected that beneath that gracious exterior were sales and bargaining abilities so profound as to put even the most expert diamond trader or car salesman to shame.

When I tell people I have a special deal for them their lip curls. Disbelief glints in their eyes. When Lorna tells them, they believe. Better yet, they buy. She tells them we are throwing extra bottle seals to show our love. The believe that too! I couldn't even think of saying it with a straight face. All I have to do is show a mild interest in the customer to send them running for the door.

Aubrey is another great sales talent. We first noticed this when he invented a, what shall I call it, a sales dance when we set him up in the lemonade business at age 4. A customer comes into the booth and he jumps to their side, explaining, demonstrating…and ringing up the sale on the iPad.


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