Economics for a 12 Year Old.

Economics 101

The term "Buyers  Market" has been heard all my life. For once in my tenure on earth I would like someone to announce when I was selling something that I am in a "Sellers Market". Do you know what a confidence builder that would be? I would be getting the highest value for the article and I could brag that my selling skills were the best. So far, that has not occurred in my experience as a man except on one memorable occasion.  

First Encounter with Selling Success

I first encountered the phrases "Buyers and Sellers markets" at age 12 when I sold my first 4-H calf (by the way, that was emotional sale because "Speedy" went to cow heaven directly from me to the slaughter house). The educational experience in the rules of economics began in a very innocent fashion. 4-H kids all sold their steers at an auction on the last night of the county fair except for the Grand Champion steer, who was in a sales class all his own. There were at least 50 of us 10-17 year old who knew each of  our calves were special. Speedy was unique and handsome (if a calf can be classified as handsome?).It was apparent to me I would be rich off the earnings of Speedy's sale. I was certain buyers would recognize the value of this fine animal because I was so attached to Speedy and the quality of this particular bovine.  Little did I understand that my attachment or affection for Speedy would not make a bit of difference to these uncaring buyers. I was about to get my first lesson in economics.

Keeping  the Faith

 I wasn't one of the people selling early in the sale. As I remember  we drew numbers and I was selling about half way down the list of sellers.  The early steers sold pretty high. With those early sellers, the load speaker bellowed the words "It is a Sellers Market". I knew exactly what he meant. It meant I was going to be a 12 year old rich kid. However, things began to change as more cows were sold and the buyers were  tired of bidding. It was at that time my hopes of wealth began to dwindle. The auctioneer was pumping up the crowd by saying that "it was now a Buyers Market". (I was learning basis  economic economic lessans at the worst time.  Slowly the buyers began to lower their offers and as the time for my sale was nearing, the ring master handling the auction said those dreaded words," Folks you can get a deal because " it is now a buyers market and we need to get rid of the rest of these cattle". How rude and how devastating at the same time. The basic lesson was. if you are going to sell, do so when the market is hot. If you try to sell when there is a lot of your  commodity available, you are going to have visions of grandeur quickly shattered. There is only one catch and that  revelation hit me as I stood in line to sell the wonderful, well mannered, lovable hunk of beef on the other end of the halter I held so gently in my hand. The problem was that Speedy and I werre still twenty places back from our turn in the sales ring and the price was deteriorating rapidly. A neon "BUYERS MARKET" sign might as well be turned on in front of me.  To show my maturity I  swallowed my pride and stayed in line to take my low sales price punishment like a man.(Didn't they know I was only 12? Give me a break because I am but a kid. Manhood wasn't expected until at at least 13).

Miracles Do Happen

I then experienced a very humbling event. It was right up there with miracles for 12 year old kids.  A well meaning man walked by to reassure all of us down the line that our cattle would sell although he made no promises about the price. As the man walked by expounding his reassurance, he slapped Speedy on the rump. Speedy jumped and lunged forward pulling the rein on his halter completely out of my hands. He bolted into that sales ring in front of all the buyers with me chasing behind unable to contain my embarrassment. Now it was evident to me that we were going to end up in the bottom fifth of the lowest third in the sale. The buyers were laughing and applauding as I finally grabbed Speedy's rein and, red faced , led my steed (calf) back into line.  That is when I discovered another element of economics. The buyers recognized the kid who couldn't control his calf and ran around the sales ring nearly having to tackle his charge. Apparently, the buyers enjoyed the humor of the event more than I did. When Speedy's and my time came to enter the arena for our verdict on value, it  wasn't looking good for my dreams of wealth. Then it happened. The auctioneer began the sale with these words," Folks we have a real showman (sarcastic humor for lack of control) and let's make this one a good one". I wasn't sure whether that meant good for me or the laughter we had caused? I had not intended to be a comedian. I just wanted to sell Speedy and get the heck out of there before they all began laughing again. It all ended well because the auctioneer pushed, prodded, and pulled bids from the buyers until Speedy sold for more that any other cow ahead or behind him. Yeah, I have stumbled into a "Sellers Market". I liked the lesson. The buyers remembered the event which made Speedy unique. I hope Speedy is happy in cow heaven, Nirvana,  purgatory, or where ever cattle go because I did end up with at least a new bike. It was many years and many calves later that I finally got the car I had dreamt of when I was 12.

There was a final lesson in all of this mayhem. In the words of Will Rogers," If you are going to stand out in a crowd either be famous or infamous."

In Him