This question may have been more appropriate yesterday, as a Valentine’s Day topic, but I came across it a day late, reading a very clever manuscript that Robert Pollard, its author, handed me. I’m not sure when his book-to-be, Street-Smart Economics, will be completed and published, available to be One-Clicked, but I hope it won’t be long. I enjoyed the portion he handed me.
His point in asking this question is to drive home the notion that “needs” are often merely ‘wants’ – but that we tend to call them needs because it helps us rationalize the expenditure.
Another of the points he makes that I like: there’s no such thing as a free lunch but there’s big money selling them. To make this point, he tells the story of P.T. Barnum’s 1843 Great New Jersey Buffalo Hunt. You may already know it, but it was new to me.
Ordinarily, of course, there were not a lot of buffalo in New Jersey in 1843 – still aren’t – but that was what gave P.T. Barnum his opportunity. He took out ads in New York for this event, to be held FREE at a race track in Hoboken. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers took the ferry across the Hudson to see the ‘savage beasts’ lassoed and hunted.
‘The grand hunt was a grand debacle,’ Pollard recounts. ‘The buffalo ambled into the arena, huddled together, and refused to move.’ But Barnum was happy – he cleared $3,500 on the enterprise . . . having first rented all the ferryboats and refreshment concessions at the race track for the day.
Have a good weekend . . .
HAPPY PRESIDENT‘S DAY
Next Week: A Book Out Next Month that You CAN One-Click
Quote of the Day
A veteran Massachusetts politician not so long ago was horrified at the conduct of a less savvy colleague who was indicted for bribery: 'Imagine taking money from a stranger.'~Wall Street Journal, 10/14/93
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