Month: October 2017

Making Big Purchases

Each of us has a daily routine and by now we are pretty good at it. We know the best place to buy fuel for our vehicle, shop for food or buy the household goods or hardware needed for our family’s daily life. In other words, because we have practice at these things we do a pretty good job of making purchases for our day to day items. It’s also true that all these purchases are done in a none stressful, care free environment, no one tries to up-sell you at the grocery store or the gas station. In fact, today we pay at the pump for our fuel and many supermarkets now have self-check-out, therefore we can complete these transactions with no human interaction at all if we wish. Even at the hardware store the clerk is most likely laid back and there to be helpful.

However think about our big purchases, cars, trucks, homes, RVs. Notice that as the price tag goes up and the purchase becomes less frequent, the companies who sell these things see to it that human interaction is the main focus of these transactions and rightly so as we often do need help as we are unfamiliar with the product and in many cases the typical means of financing. Thus, the value of sales staff for the customer and business is obvious. Yes, it is possible to buy many of these things without sales folk, but most of us will not, as we value the hand holding a knowledgeable sales staff provides.

I still remember the first time I went to make a purchase that I really had no idea how to quantify the value of the item.  Having grown up in a very conservative no-jewelry household I experienced deep angst upon attempting to buy a diamond engagement ring for my intended bride. I also did not know anyone who could guide me in the process and since it was to be a secret until “the moment” I could not make a lot of inquires. The good news is I did find an acceptable ring, Audrey said yes and that diamond is still part of her jewelry collection, now on a pendent as the diamond ring needed to be upgraded a few years ago.   

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October 19, 1987

This week we remember the 508-point, 22.6% stock market crash of October 19, 1987

In the summer of 1987 I had levered up, borrowing to buy a house and also committed to purchase a business. Watching TV that night my thoughts turned to my grandfather who, though an orphan, had worked himself into a position to buy a farm in the late 1920’s. Only to lose it in the Great Depression which was triggered by the stock market crash of October 1929. Obviously, he had borrowed lots of money and when the farm was repossessed his equity was wiped out. My thought that night was: “Are the Miller’s just unlucky?”

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