The Museum

POSTED: 07/30/10

The Wondrous Journey of Ben Richter and His Bag of Goodies

You all (or most of you) have come to know Benjamin August Richter as the lead singer of The Museum. You know about and may have witnessed his superb singing and guitar playing abilities. But do you know what lies deeper? Oh yes, there is much more to this man than mere singable melodies and catchy phrasings. He is a master of the money. How did this come to be you ask? Well I’m glad you asked.

You see when Ben was 11, the great depression hit his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, so in order to help his family pay the bills, he was forced to go find work. However, as you can imagine, work was not easily found due to the crumbling economy around him. So, with three packs of hot tamales, a few ice cold coca colas, and some pickles to boot, he set out on his journey to find work.

Now in those days a young boy like that was very useful in the coal mining industry, as coal was a very valuable commodity. With that in mind, Ben set out to begin a job in the mining industry. The one place he knew he could find a job in that field was Dallas, Texas. Therefore he began his trek to Dallas. It was at this point in his life, that Ben began realizing the value of a dollar, and began using his money very wisely. In order to make it from Albuquerque to Dallas, without more than 20$, hot tamales, a coca cola and some pickles, you had better know how to be frugal.

Well, after 30 sleepless nights without the luxury of a hotel or a shower I might add, Ben finally made it to the beautiful city of Dallas. As a result of his young age and good work ethic, Ben found a job quickly there, working for 3$/hr (that would be the equivalent to 30$/hr now). While on the job, he met a young man by the name of Geoffrey Ashcraft, who also had left home in search for extra money for his struggling parents. Geoff however was a little rough around the edges. Being the son of missionaries, he grew up in the icy, Siberian tundra, and wasn’t used to urban Dallas. Ben and Geoff hit it off quickly though, with their many stories… Ben’s stories of his travels to Dallas, and Geoff’s stories of fighting off polar bears and sabertooths were their immediate connection. They were also a great team while mining. So good, that their boss decided to relocate them where the coal mining business was suffering, in hopes they could bring it back to life again.

So once again, Ben gathered himself some tamales, pickles, coca cola, and Geoff gathered his animal weaponry, and together they set out for Peachtree City, Georgia. Having made a good living while working together, Geoff decided to allow Ben to handle the money side of things for the two of them. This was a fantastic decision! Ben began putting his money smarts to good use for them both. Being the son of a poor banker, Ben had learned a lot about how to handle money, along with the art of bargaining. His father taught him many things, but the one principle that always stuck out in his mind was, “When you’re looking to get a bargain for an item, you must always be willing to walk away with nothing.” This incredible piece of advice paved the way for Ben’s prowess behind a checkbook.

Now during their trek to Georgia, they decided to use some of the money they had earned to stay in hotels. After all, they had worked hard for that money, and they deserved a decent place to sleep. So they would travel for the day, and then around dusk, they would locate the nearest hotel and Ben would walk in and use his father’s technique, saying, “I know it’s late and you have some rooms available, what’s your best offer?” Sometimes he would get them to come down 50%; while other times, he would walk away empty-handed! However, he never once paid full price for a hotel room. One other instance I feel inclined to tell you about, was the time during that same trip when they went to a Western Outfitters store. At this point in time, they were in the middle of Mississippi and both needed a new pair of jeans. Ben’s jeans had 13 holes in them, while Geoff’s had 20. Ben’s were about a year old while Geoff’s were 7 years old. So, they walked into the store, picked a pair they both liked, and Ben began his masterpiece. They were $5 per pair. However, there was only $30 left to spend on the whole rest of their trip to Georgia. So, Ben began talking to the clerk at the counter and the next thing you know they walked out of there paying $5 total for both. It was quite a sight to behold. Despite seeing this a number of times, Geoff’s mouth always hit the floor when Ben got his deal.

16 days later they finally arrived in beautiful Peachtree City, GA. After being on the job there for a few weeks, trying to revitalize the coal industry there, they began making friendly conversation with a young man who cleaned the holes in the ground (their toilets). Word on the street was this guy, Josh Kirk, had some coal skills, but was just never given a chance to make a living with it. So, they decided to put young Kirk to work, and what a miner he was! Kirk could mine 35 lbs of coal a day (just so you know the average rate was 15lbs.) The three of them became a team deciding to join forces. For a while, things couldn’t have been better. They were making great profits and loving life. However, after some of the other miners saw how much money they were taking in, some became jealous and plotted attempts at their lives in an effort to steal their wealth. It was then they realized that they needed protection. In their time around the Atlanta and Peachtree City area, they had heard of a 7’5’’ giant who worked on the police force and lived about 40 miles north. They decided to consult with him and offer him a position protecting them. Chris quickly obliged after meeting them, looking for a more exciting line of work. It was then that this group of 4 decided to join forces and begin mining together.

To get back to Ben’s money prowess, he continued to get them discounted food, clothing, lodging, etc. Anytime they went anywhere, they never paid full price. And the four worked contently together getting discounted rates at everything. Later in life, they began a band together and enjoyed making polka music for the nations.

This story Is 99% fictional. Ben is very good with money, and gets us discounts on everything. Seriously. It’s ridiculous. Just remember his #1 rule: “You must be willing to walk away with nothing.”

-Hope you enjoy, -CHRIS
The Museum

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