Before the internet came to be, TV was very popular. I watched A LOT of TV and one of my favorite programs only second to cartoons are those art and crafts for children. You know how it goes, they would teach and demonstrate us young viewers on how to make a mouse from construction paper and a pair of scissors. After watching, I would try it all. Cardboard tanks, flying war planes and even paper dolls. But one day, I saw an episode called the “Joke Box” and that was the beginning of a downward spiral.
The Joke Box was suppose to be a joke dispensing machine but without the technical gadgetry. You are suppose to sit yourself in this box and wait for “customers” to slot coins and in return you are to slip a joke which you have prewritten on a piece of paper. They even taught you how to make a cardboard knob to let customers choose what sort of jokes they want- Knock-knock jokes, one-liners, riddles etc. I was 9 years old then and to me this was brilliant. Why didn’t I thought about that before? And it so happened that my parents, just bought a spanking new refrigerator and that means I had a huge box for my disposal. Perfect!
The Joke Box is made out of cardboard with nice paint designs on it.
The Joke Box on TV was pretty, it had all sort of design and the guy took his box to the streets. People were slotting in coins like no tomorrow. It looked like a lot of fun. Soon, armed with some magic markers and a cutter, I started to work on mine. It didn’t look as fancy as the one on TV but everything was there. A huge sign, a knob I made out of an egg carton and I even made up like a dozen jokes.
I didn’t have a lot of paint so I guess my box would just be in its natural color, brown. By this time, my annoying sister is already on my case, telling me that nobody is gonna give me any money and my joke box is a joke itself. But I’m determined to prove her wrong. I don’t have to pay rent space and I had zero overheads, it’s just a box, people. Any money that comes in is pure net profit! As soon as the money starts rolling I’m so gonna patent this idea!
Basically, the Joke Box has 5 important requirements.
No.1: You need a sign that says “Joke Box”
No. 2: You poke holes on the cardboard box.
This feature is for you to speak to your customers.
No.3: You cut a small slit for customers to insert coins.
No.4: You cut a larger slit so you can dispense your jokes on small pieces of paper.
No. 5: The knob also made out of cardboard let customers choose what sort of jokes that want. eg knock-knock jokes, one liners, funny riddles etc
No.6: You are suppose to sit inside the box to wait for a customer.
Don’t you just love your siblings sometimes.
I place my Joke Box near the staircase of the HDB flat. Whenever a stranger went up or down the flight of stairs, I would hold my breath and brace myself. I have a fistful of jokes scribbled on paper and I was psyche to sell my first joke. But nobody seem to take notice. They didn’t even took the time to stop and read my sign. Being inside the box was horrible. I kept sweating even though I was armed with one of hand held fan. It was very dark and I had to rely on the light that’s coming from the box cracks. My sister was of course taunting me and laugh every time a stranger ignores me. I realized that I have to market my box in a different way. Location is everything.
As you can see, my sister is having a hell of a time.
I took my box and place it in the middle of the voiddeck. Surely, people will notice me now. I can so see it, they will swarm my Joke Box like how MacDonalds sold their Hello Kitties. But hours passed by and nobody came. I started to get bored. The only hi-light of the day was when the wind blew the box, exposing me inside. Now THAT was bad for business. It’s a good thing my customers did not see that; my future shareholders will not be pleased. As disappointed as I was, I finally told myself that this idea is not gonna work. But on a high note, I did got one customer. It was my sister.
Me with a fistful of jokes, getting exposed at the void deck.
She went downstairs, turned the knob, chose a Knock-knock joke and paid me with currency that was accepted by millions of kids all over the world; candy. I was elated.
Looking back, I finally realized why the Joke box did not work. It needs advertising.
Rabbit in a box,