Business at the merry-go-round

Yesterday we were visiting the city of Colmar in Alsace, France. In the Champ de Mars park, there is a carousel, and obviously my kids wanted to ride the flying horses ;)

The prices were:

  • 1 ticket: 1.70 €
  • 5 tickets: 5 €
  • 10 tickets: 8 €
  • 15 tickets: 10 €

The grandparents first bought them 2 single tickets. As you can imagine, as soon as the round was over, "I want to go again"'s were heard.

Analyzing the situation

During the first round, I was sitting outside and analyzing the parents and kids coming to the attraction. The flow was steady, and all were bying either single tickets, of 5 tickets a pop. A quick calculation brought me to realize that providing single tickets at the second tier price (1 € per ticket) while having bought the tickets at the fourth tier price (15 tickets for 10 €) would provide a 50% return on interest (10 € invested would bring 15 € revenue / 5 € profit) while still representing a 41% reduction in price for the end consumer (they would pay 1€ per ticket instead of 1.70 €). Sounds like a pretty good Win-Win situation for all.

Get up and make your first step

As a challenge to myself, I went to the counter and handed over my 10 € bill for 15 tickets. I handed 2 tickets to my kids for their second round, and went off to find my first customer!

As I'm starting to feel with the other projects I'm involved with at the moment, the biggest difficulty is in getting started and jumping the fence. In this case, I got a bit nervous/tight throat while approaching this mom-and-grandma-and-two-girls party, but as soon as I had started explaining that I had bought too many tickets for my kids and would sell them these individual tickets at the reduced price, they were onboard. I had expected to have to sell tickets one or two at a time, but they directly wanted 5 tickets at this spectacular price! Problem was: they only had a 10 € bill, and I didn't have any change. I initially directed them to the ticket booth, explaining that they would get the same price for 5 tickets, but I then asked my father-in-law if he had 5 €, which he had. I then went back to my potential customers, and the sale was made.

What a great feeling!

Riding on this positive wave, I immediately went after my next customer. There is a small enclosed kids park next to the carousel, where they can play on slides and swings. I approached 2 parents and their single kid as they were leaving the park, and proposed them the deal. They hadn't planned to go to the carousel, but the deal must have been interesting enough that they decided to also buy me 5 tickets! Once again, the deal almost feel apart due to my lack of change, but at the last moment the mother found 5 euros in coins and the transaction was made. It sounds almost too easy!

At that point, I had sold 10 tickets and recouped my 10 € inversion. My kids already had had an extra ride for free, and I had 3 tickets left. To share the fun, I decided to dedicate 2 of my remaining tickets to have my kids ride once more (which you can imagine they weren't sad about!). And off I was to make my last sale.

I went into the kids park, and the 3rd group of parents/kids I approached bought me my last ticket. Done!


  • 10 € invested for 15 tickets
  • 11 tickets sold at 1 € a ticket, total income 11 €
  • 4 tickets used for my kids to have fun (bying these 4 tickets would have cost 5 € at the cheapest)

Total: 1 € benefit and 2 kids having fun on their 2 free rides!

Lessons learned

  • Keep your eyes open

    Abundance mindset: just look at what's around you, there's enough for everybody: my second and third customers had not planned to go on the carousel, so I brought extra clients to the carousel while passing savings on to the customers.

  • Have change for your customers

    My lack of change almost cost me my two biggest sales.

Even if the 1 € benefit is laughable, I really see this as a win for me: forcing me to get out of my spectator's seat/consumer position and placing myself out there to make a profit while benefiting both my customers (lower price) and provider (more customers).

Plus we've enjoyed 16 € of benefits (the 11 € in hard cash, plus the 4 rides which would have cost us 5 € if we had had to buy them) for only 10 € investment. A 60% return on investment on this first "entrepreneurial endeavour" is not to be laughed at ;)

I'll see you next time on the merry-go-round!