Don’t let his freckled face fool you: Underneath that black bowler hat is a businessman’s brain (not to mention a shock of curly red hair). “He’s a little entrepreneur,” says baker Amy Alfaro of her son Quinn, who at the tender age of 10 is following in his mom’s footsteps, selling cookies for a little dough. While Mom’s decadent delights, under the name Joe Bickies, are sold the usual way—in restaurants and stores—son Quinn takes it to the streets on Second Saturdays, dragging his wares around in a wagon and wooing customers with his winning ways.
Quinn recently took a moment out of his busy school-and-salesman schedule to chat with us at his East Sacramento home.
Why did you decide to go into the cookie-selling business? I want to make money so I can save up to go to Paris when I’m 13. My brother just turned 13 a little while ago, and they got tickets cheap and stuff and got a cheap hotel and went to New York, so I started thinking I wanted to go somewhere for my 13th birthday.
I hear you’re very successful and make quite a bit of money. Yeah, we make about $300 each time. At the beginning [of Second Saturday] we don’t sell that much, but when we get to Luigi’s [Slice], we get a lot more customers.
So, what does it take to be a good cookie salesman? You need to be able to walk a lot. And you have to be able to ask random people you have no clue about if they want cookies.
How do you approach people? At first, I really wouldn’t know what to say. I’d just walk up to them and say stuff like, “Hey, would you like to buy some cookies?” And now I walk up and say, “Excuse me, but would you like to buy some cookies?”
Your mom says you help bake the cookies, too, right? Yeah. (“And he does wash his hands,” interjects Mom.) I also have to cut all the name tags (stickers) and put them on the bags.
Have you ever made a baking mistake? No, but my mom has. One time she forgot to put the sugar in a cake. It tasted disgusting.
What have you learned about the business world in your short time as a cookie salesman? I’ve learned that you have to pay for all the stuff you need to get, like all the ingredients. And you have to keep track of everything. And that’s really all.
Can you see yourself doing this as a grown-up? (He squirms.) I can’t. I can’t see myself doing it as a grown-up. I’m not planning that far ahead.
Photo by Gabriel Teague