Mr. Mortimer turned around and addressed the class.
“For the Green, Blue and Yellow Groups, we will continue with the class for this term and you will have the end of year exams. The Orange group has delivered excellent grades so far. As such they will not have exams”.
A groan went through the class. “It was not fair” seemed to be the general consensus among all students other than the Orange group, obviously. “However”, Mr. Mortimer continued, “The Orange group will complete a project in this term and will be graded based on the same”.
Mr. Mortimer gently polished his glasses.
The class knew he was going to say something serious. For the last few terms, the students had watched and learned.
“How many of you like ice cream?” asked Mr. Mortimer. Some hands went up.
“Well, how would it be if ice cream was free?”
There were smiles and nods across the class except the Orange group. “Where is he going with this”, whispered Meg to Chen, her close friend. She didn't have to wait.
“Orange group, here is what I want you to do. I want you to open up an ice cream shop and give free ice creams to all who come to your shop. You will
not charge your customers for the ice cream. The ice cream will be FREE”.
“This is your project for this year. You have thirteen weeks to come up with a plan and convince me that it will work”, said Mr. Mortimer.
On hearing this statement from Morty, there was deafening silence in class as the students slowly tried to take in this message. The Orange group members stood frozen with open jaws.
For the past two terms, the class had been doing Business Basics. They had been learning about how a business functions, about what is revenue, cost and profit. Today was the summary session.
Prior to this bomb shell, Morty was briefly touching upon all the aspects of Business they had learned over the last two terms. There was a presentation slide on the board that highlighted the key points.
• A business needs a purpose.
• A business can sell a product, a service or both.
• A business charges money for the product and/
or service. This is the Revenue.
• A business incurs costs in making the product
or providing the service.
• Profit is Revenue less cost.
• A business has to be profitable in order to
A footnote on the board indicated that for a manufacturing business, the major costs would be cost of raw materials, cost of labour, cost of energy and cost of capital to build the factory. For a Service business, it was predominantly cost of labour.
“But Mr. Morty, how is that possible?” piped in Karan. “You have been telling us all year that a business cannot run without making a profit. If we give ice creams out for free where is the profit?”
Karan was a studious boy who was not well liked by most of the other kids. Meg was his only friend, if you could call it that.
“If we give it away for free, there is no revenue. Hence no profit”, Chen said supporting Karan. Chen had enjoyed basic business and had gained a good understanding of the subject over the year.
Mr. Mortimer pulled up his pants.
The class knew he was going to say or do something outrageous. For the last few terms, the students had watched and learned. He was not called Mad Mortimer for nothing.
Mr. Mortimer cackled making a little dancing step and said, “You are right. But I will make an exception to the rule. I will give you energy for free to make your ice cream”.
The Orange group stared back at him with a puzzled look. The bell went off. As the class rose to be dismissed, Mr. Mortimer said, “Every week we will catch up on this project. You will give me an update on what you have done, and you have thirteen weeks to go”.
The walk back home was gloomy. “There goes my straight A's record”, fumed Karan. “Why did mad Morty have to come up with something this weird?”
Meg had no come backs. For once, she seemed to be agreeing with Karan wholeheartedly.