A Life of Letters

Buuku Bucks

Posted in 1994, Loves, Rebecca by southpawcom on March 6, 2012

The state senator I had worked for for the past two years surprised his staff and other observers by announcing that  he would not seek re-election in 1994. That left me in the fall of that year thinking somewhat stricken with panic about my future. And what I thought was that it would be neato to own a travel agency.

I had some money coming to me from a going-away package from the Senate, and I also thought I had a credit line as trustee of mom’s estate. Without spending a whole lot of time researching the subject and with positively no experience in the travel and hospitality industry, I reached out to a company called Uniglobe, a franchisor of travel agencies. I remember spending an hour or two in a creepy guy’s poorly-lighted hotel room on Lansing’s west side, the room air still heavy with the steam from his morning shower, listening to his sales pitch and looking at the sales literature he brought. He asked a lot of questions, but soon it became apparent, to him at least, that I lacked the capital to make a go of opening a Uniglobe franchise in Lansing.

I think shortly afterward I got a letter from Uniglobe headquarters saying that they regretted shattering my dream but I was not the well-heeled investor they were looking for.

It was not long after this that the Internet happened, and everyone started making their travel arrangements themselves online through Pricline and Travelocity. I just checked, and Uniglobe is still out there, but I wonder if their cost-to-earnings ratios and profit margins are the same as they were in those brochures in 1994, before William Shatner and the gnome started taking our reservations.

I’m just grateful I didn’t give anything more than 45 mins and the time it took to write this blog post…

Bec, now equipped with a couple of kids, writes with encouragement, not as much for going into business but for continuing to write. Sadly devoid of any pen flourishes or whimsy save her signature and closing with a queer sequence of letters and special characters she called her “e-mail address,” her letter foreshadows the demise of the art of letter-writing.It reminds me of how Nazi officers begin to replace the bohemians at the guest tables at the end of the movie, Cabaret.