It would be wonderful to preserve the interesting memories that many of us have of an amazing and unusual individual. I never really had the extended time with him as most of you did, having sold my business to Clicks in 1984 and 4 years later Clicks then sold to Score, where upon Jack then moved to Melbourne.
However, my memories of him from a work sense are those of a business genius who, with little education, was able to start, grow and build enormous operations by using his gut and his ability to motivate people; most of whom never seemed to leave the company notwithstanding the pressure pot that these businesses usually were. That was Jack’s style. I often used quotes of the things that he used to tell us, such as “turnover is vanity, profit is sanity” as well as many others.
Of all the mentors I’ve had over the years no one has quite made the impact that Jack made on me, notwithstanding again only having the experience of the working for him for a relative short period of time. The way he would negotiate with suppliers and leave them usually beaten but still feeling good about themselves was quite unusual, but in spite of his toughness in business he was a man whose handshake was all that was needed; which is often quite different to experiences that one has these days. I remember that he used to insist that we pay suppliers back if they undercharged us in error.
One amusing incident with Jack and myself occurred in Frankfurt when we were at the Frankfurt Trade Fair one February and this story I’ve repeated many times including to Jack himself. We were staying at different hotels and he asked me to fetch him at his hotel one morning at 8am so that we could catch a cab to the Fair together. Upon arriving at his room and ringing the bell, I came face to face with a somewhat distraught Ethel who was travelling with him on that trip. “What’s wrong?”, I said to her. She said “Jack is really really annoyed”. Now standing there to hear that Jack was ‘really really annoyed’ I was thinking I should may be turn around and go back home, because the next little while would not be pleasant. However, I plucked up my courage and said, “And why is he annoyed?”. She said “Because he is trying to get through to the office and no one is answering and he’s worked out that it is already a quarter past 8 in the morning in Cape Town.” At that time, from memory, our switchboard was supposed to be open from 7:45am. As we stood there, Jack walked out of the bedroom into the lounge of their suite where we were standing and he was red in the face, pacing up and down with a phone in his ear. I thought I had to quickly defuse the situation, which I did by saying “Mr. Goldin, by the way, it’s Sunday. The office is not open today, while the Fair is”. He turned from red to white, said nothing more, Ethel almost collapsed in the background with laughter and off we went to the Fair.
So, that’s just one small incident in a collection which I’m sure that will be many by the time you’ve spoken to or been in contact with ex-Clickers. If I think of any other incidents, I’ll let you know. Keep well.