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Call clickgranger.com or just stop by. Grainger, for the ones who get it done. This is our American Stories, and our next story, well, it's a little gross. It's a little silly and involves two young men coming up with a smelly, smelly product that ultimately has been put to use by the U.S. military to actually prepare medics and other types of people involved in operations that would include horrible smells. How did these two guys come up with their smelly product called Liquid?
Well, I'm just going to say assets. Well, here's Andrew Masters and Alan Whitman with this story. Alan and I met in an engineering department in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where we were doing electrical for automotive and trucks, and we're dealing with managers who are not interested in building a good product, but dealing with corporate politics and trying to advance their own careers, never making any decisions that might cost them a career choice. And Whitman and I, we both have spines, and we're more interested in building a good product and using logic and not really interested in a bunch of bullshit. And for that reason, we kind of gravitated toward each other and became pretty good friends. And Whitman kept talking about the stuff he had back in high school, and used to great effect, it stunk really bad, and that he still had a little bit left, and he should bring it in. And I guess at this point, Alan should probably back up to 15 years previous as to the story of the beginning of what became Liquid and his experience.
All right, well, this is Alan. I actually came up with this in high school completely by accident, and everybody asked me, well, how did you create it? Well, I can't get into the details, but I can say that my parents had bought me a chemistry set, and I was into sort of mixing things together and checking stuff out, and it just happened to me one day that I came across this stuff that was just so nasty. I thought, man, what if I took this in to school and played around with it a little bit? So I did that, and it was shocking with the reaction of people.
When you spray it in a classroom, when everybody is going crazy, and everybody is saying that the restroom actually smells better than the classroom, those kind of things, so I had a lot of fun with it there, and then ultimately graduated, went to college, became an electrical engineer, and I didn't use it all those years, and it wasn't until I got hired into my electrical engineering job where Andrew was. I was there first. He came later, but when he showed up, the company was, most of the people in there were very disgruntled at the time because we were told basically that we were going to be laid off. Probably we figured it would be about five years that we had left, and so everybody was pretty upset, so I was telling Andrew and a few other friends that I had this stuff I used in high school that I even cleared out a basketball game one time in high school, and Andrew just started looking at me like, yeah, sure, he did, whatever. You need to go into the details of the basketball game. Okay, on the basketball game, so what I ended up doing was, me and a buddy of mine, we grabbed, I guess it was an old Elmer's Glue bottle, so you know how big those are, right? That's a pretty nice-sized bottle. We filled one of those up, and right before the game started, we went into the bathroom in that hallway, the men's bathroom, and they had those old, I guess the radiator-style heaters, and I went in there, and I dumped that entire bottle into that radiator, and you could hear it sizzling and steaming, and I took off. So I went back up in the stands over there in the gym, and we could see through the doors into the hallway, and it was about half an hour later, I looked down, and I see somebody walking by with their shirts over their, you know, people with shirts over their faces, and they're waving their hands, and I looked at my buddy, I said, oh man, I said, it must be hitting good, so we went back down there half-time, and they had both double doors open on both ends of the hallways. It was snowing outside, and that place completely smelled like... and we were just having a great old time, people trying to figure out what was going on. So I'm telling them about this story, my co-workers, including Andrew, and I think people had doubts, so I was like, all right, well, I actually had some stuff that was at least 15 years old that was in a baby food jar that the lid had actually rusted on, so I carefully got that off without breaking the jar, and sure enough, the stuff still smelled like... so I'm like, all right, you know, game on.
So I grabbed a Visine bottle, rained the tip of it out, and filled that baby up, and I took it in, and we actually had a... Let me go back. We need to back up, because, well, I mean, he had shared the smell with us, and it really was shocking, just smelling the bottle. Next thing, we're walking by where his manager sits. It's a cubicle area, and I'm walking ahead of him. Next thing I know, I hear Whitman go, cover me!
And I'm like, I'm confused. I turn around, and he's got that Visine in both hands, almost like he's peeing. That's the vision I had, as far as remembering. Turning around and seeing Whitman putting full pressure on that Visine bottle, aiming it right towards Stenson's office.
And this was my first experience of liquid s*** outside the bottle. And by the way, they had set up a large fan, an industrial fan. They were blowing that crap around a 10,000-square-foot design center. And that whole place smelled like s***. Everybody had their shirts over their faces, and it was shocking.
I remember it worked well, but it worked really well in the room. Yeah, so he just had a little bit left in that baby food jar, and I remember, because we were running out, you added a little alcohol to it. I mean, really, I don't even know if we did, what, two operations?
There was probably a few, but the problem was that once we did it, we had to have more, because it was so addicting that we couldn't stop doing it. And then the problem was that I couldn't remember exactly how to make more. We're like, how can you not remember? And he goes, well, I know the basics, but there's some other subtle things. It's the process.
There's a process to making it, and if you don't have that exactly right, it ain't going to happen. That's all I can say. So we were all jonesing for more operations and trying to get daily updates, and finally one day, Woodland comes in and he goes, oh, I think it's ready. I think we got it. And we tested it, and sure enough, so that set off a, oh, man, how long did we do? Two months? Three months?
Three or four months. Yeah, of basically strategizing of how to create maximum chaos without drawing too much attention where we would actually get caught. And so, good. So what would happen is that if I went into the bathroom and somebody had plugged up a toilet, I'd call in a visual to Andrew, which basically he had some out in his car, and then he'd go out in his car and I'd tell him, we got a visual in, you know, stall number three, building one, and he'd go get the stuff, and then he'd go ahead and ask the hell out of it. And so it was hard to get in trouble because, you know, there it is, right? There's the, you know, the blocked toilet, and, you know, of course the janitor would come in or whatever. He'd be just, you know, losing his mind going, I don't even understand how this is possibly being there with the plunger trying to get this down with this overwhelming smell, which is really not from the actual problem.
You know, it's actually our stuff, and that started being a fun thing. So, you know, we'd have times where I'd call in a visual and he'd enter to hammer it, and we'd come back and they'd have crime scene tape, you know, over the door like, this bathroom is closed. I was walking through the area, and of course it was a day I'd hit it hard, and a guy was walking in front of me from another department, and it was obviously, he was very disturbed. And our buddy Joe was walking out of his cubicle area, and he intersected the guy, you know, and the guy stopped and looked at Joe, and he goes, what is that smell? And Joe goes, I don't know, but it seems to happen every Thursday.
And he was dead on right. So I went over to Whitman, I forgot to go to Whitman, hey, hey, hey, next operation's on Tuesday. And you're listening to Andrew Masters and Alan Whitman.
When we come back, more of these pranksters, these chemistry set experimenters, these funny guys here on Our American Stories. from people living with the debilitating muscle weakness and fatigue caused by this rare disorder. Each episode will uncover the reality of life with myasthenia gravis. From early signs and symptoms to obtaining an accurate diagnosis and finding care, every person with MG has a story to tell. And by featuring these real-life experiences, this podcast hopes to inspire the MG community, educate others about this rare condition, and let those living with it know that they are not alone. Listen to Untold Stories, life with myasthenia gravis on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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Head to LiveNation.com slash summer's live. And we continue with our American stories and the story of a product called liquid, well, I'm calling it liquid assets. You use your imagination. And it all started again with a couple of teenage boys, well, just looking to make each other laugh in the end. We're talking about Andrew Masters and Alan Whitman. Let's return to them for the rest of their smelly and kind of funny story. That was three or four months full of fun there, turning a job we really disliked into a fun time. These were actually days that we did not have to set our alarm for because we'd have a specific day that we would go do it. And you almost couldn't sleep at night. You basically just got up early and just went in to work and then started having fun. And at the end of the day, your ribs would hurt.
You'd laugh so hard at the chaos. Yeah, well, laughter is addictive, you know. So the fact that I know I'm going to go into work and just be laughing all day, and I definitely didn't need an alarm on those days. And I always liked doing pranks in college. I had a fair amount of good ones that I did. And oddly enough, one of them was fart spray, which didn't work to my satisfaction, so I threw it away. But after several months of all this fun, I was like, this is like the best stuff ever. It's like, look at this.
It works good, it stinks really bad, you get a lot of laughs, and then you lay off for a couple days and people forget about it and you press replay. So I told Whitman, I said, look, this is the best stuff I have ever used. I said, we can sell this. And Whitman was like, yeah, probably could. Now, one of the problems was we were both looking at getting out of engineering.
I was working on a master's degree in math to get into teaching college math, and Whitman was looking at starting a car wash, his own business. So there was distractions. When you know the end is near, you start coming up with ideas, you try to figure something out because there was nothing else in the town that we were in, so we were all going to have to move one way or another. Something was going to change. So when Andrew came up and decided that we needed to do this, I said, all right, let's just do it. We'll go 50-50 and we'll just see where it goes in parallel with other things that I was doing and that he was doing. We just decided we'll just sort of see how that plays out.
And it did take quite a long time, a lot longer than we thought. I guess because there's a lot more to it when you get in and it seems like, well, I'm just putting liquid in a bottle. But then you've got to figure out what kind of bottle, what shape of bottle, what material is the bottle made out of, what kind of mystery are you going to use, how many milliliters is it going to put out. Where do we get a label? How do we put the label on?
What's the artwork look like and what's the name? Well, although the name is the funny part. Yeah, the name was probably one of the easiest things we did. It was a big mystery as far as, well, how do you pick a good name? I've learned in doing my own and starting our own business here, I've learned one thing is that if you're a marketer, you chain smoke and you have a ponytail.
We don't do either. So I can remember walking into the conference room, shutting the door, and Whitman was halfway sitting down and he goes, so what are we going to call it? And I said, I don't know, what are you thinking?
And as he's sitting down, he goes, liquid. And I said, that's it. It's got a ring to it.
Let's just go with it. So we went out. We decided that we'd find all the radio stations in the country that had crazy morning shows.
We decided to send them samples with a little note. And there was about four or five of those stations where we did really well. We got a surge in sales. But then it would die off again to practically zero until one day I was reading an article about a guy named, well, he goes by, his radio name is Bubba the Love Sponge, and it was in the local Fort Wayne paper because this guy was, his hometown was two counties over. So I was reading the article about him and I looked up his mailing address and I remember packing that box, I can still remember it to this day because I put six bottles in there and sent it to him. And I never heard anything from him until all of a sudden Whitman's like, hey, our webpage is down because something's going on.
We've got so much traffic that shut our webpage down. And it comes to find out that Bubba the Love Sponge, and I can't remember his real name, but he was actually using it on a show as a punishment for someone who did something stupid. Usually their cell phone would go off while they were on the air. What they would do is if somebody screwed up on the air, cell phone went off or did something else stupid they weren't supposed to do, they went on liquid alert. And once they were on liquid alert, if they screwed up one more time, then they would take them in the room in the studio there and they would the hell out of them. And of course this was on Sirius Satellite and it comes on right before Howard Stern.
It was on Howard 101 channel. So it went nationwide. And these guys did us a real favor by basically, you know, using this probably for three or four months, three or four months advertising.
And I have to thank old Bubba. He got us on the map. That put us over the top where we actually were making enough that, well, we don't need a day job anymore.
It'd be rough, you know, it'd be tight, but we would make it. We spent two years and then we couldn't really get out of just doing an interview and having 20 orders and then it go back to zero within a week. We just couldn't get the thing to stick for whatever reason. But once Bubba started talking about it on a daily basis, that started a floor where we actually had something and it didn't go away and it started growing slowly. And then I think the next year was when Amazon picked us up and then we did definitely need a day job and that worked out great because that's about a few months after that is when we got laid off. I remember telling Whitman, I said, I just can't stop smiling. I'm like, I just can't stop smiling, you know, when Amazon picked us up and we got another boost to the point where I was almost making the same as my engineering salary.
Doing a quarter of the work, by the way. Yeah. I guess we can start talking about our customers now. Well, there's some customer stories, yeah. We can, yeah, there's quite a few customer stories and we've had people that actually used it in their bubble juice like for a wedding, you know, when they blow bubbles, you know. They mix the bubble juice with the liquid and they're blowing bubbles as the bride and groom come down the aisle, you know, with this juice, which I thought that was sort of clever. People are putting it in balloons and blowing the balloons up so when they pop it smells like...
This is one that was in particular sort of strange and this was sort of early on so we were probably only selling it for maybe a couple of years at that point. This guy calls me up and he wants to order and okay, that's cool but it's obvious that he used it before and at that point we hadn't, you know, we didn't have tons of customers so I said, so I just asked him, so it sounds like you've used the product before. He says, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. He goes, I use it. He goes, man, I need more but I need it real soon here or whatever, you know, and it's like, well, I said, so apparently you had some success with this.
What did you do? And he was sort of hesitant to tell me and he's like, all right, I'll tell you and he starts this story off. He had bought our product and he had it laying around and he was in the process of moving to a new city. He had to get his utilities set up.
He calls up and it had been like two or three weeks. His wife is complaining that they don't have the power on yet. Well, he's a contractor and he has one of the special keys. He's got a way to get into the box to turn the power on so he turns the power on himself.
Well, he only gets a... The next day the power company actually shows up. They see that it's turned off or turned on, and he ends up getting a fine from the power company because he had screwed around with the box and that's illegal and he's not allowed to do that. So he's like, all right, well, I'm going to pay this bill and I'm pissed off because they should have done this for me anyways sooner. So he writes a check and he coats it with liquid and he sort of lets it dry. So he goes over to what sort of looks like a bank teller set up with that vacuum tube and they leave.
So they take off. Well, the following day the police call him up and the cop, when he goes into the office, the cop's got like an evidence baggie and it's got his check in it. And they're claiming that this bank, well, not the bank, but the co-op or whatever, has now shut the entire building down. They've got tape all the way around the building or whatever. It looks like a crime scene and they can't open it up because the whole freaking building smells like crap. And the teller apparently is claiming that she's quitting because she claims that she's handled feces.
You can't make this up. So the cop's like, well, he goes, here's the deal. He goes, we're going to send this in for analysis and if it's got feces, you're going to jail, you're in trouble or whatever. He's like, well, you go ahead and test it all you want because I didn't do that. Ultimately what happened was is that it came back clean.
They couldn't do anything about it. And at the end of the day, he said, what could I have done that would have got them back? And I looked at him and I said, well, now you're ordering more? He's like, yeah, because I've got some other business to take care of.
I said, all right, we'll send you a couple extra bottles. Have a good day, you know, and we recommend, you know, it's a prank product that's not to go out there and destroy people, but every once in a while, I guess that happens. You know, we like to say that we make the gun, we don't shoot it.
So, you know, at your own risk, I guess. But most of the time, people are just having fun with it. And God, there's tons of YouTube videos out there. And we started making a few YouTube videos until the YouTubers outdid us. And so now our customers are doing, you know, better videos than we could even dream of.
So if you ever go out there, you go out there and look at YouTube and type liquid, you'll see really good stuff out there. In partnership with Argenics is exploring the extraordinary challenges and personal triumphs of underserved communities living with MG. Host Martine Hackett will share these powerful perspectives from real people with MG so their experiences can help inspire the MG community and educate others about this rare condition.
Listen to find strength in community on the MG journey on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Malcolm Gladwell. I don't know if you notice about me, but I'm a car nut. And I will do anything to keep my cars happy, to make sure they stay running smoothly. I look for those things at eBay Motors. With eBay Guaranteed Fit, when you see the green check, you know that part will fit. Get the right parts at the right prices.
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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-31 04:26:54 / 2023-07-31 04:37:29 / 11