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On the

Lighter Side

Al Jacobs invites you to take a break from the serious stuff and digress with a bit of diversion.  This month it's a short short story, which you may contend was written by a cynic.  I prefer to use the term realist.




Explore with us here the many aspects of prosperity: spending, saving, investing, giving and receiving, health, education, and overall well-being.
                                          – Al Jacobs



Straight Talk from Al Jacobs





If you’ve paid attention, the market value of gold recently plummeted.  This precious metal, which sold in the $1,300s per ounce as recently as four months ago, is now into the $1,100s.  For the benefit of those still enticed by gold’s prospects, please reread the following, which I presented in June 2014 under the title “All That Glitters.”




In case you hadn’t noticed, the marketing of precious metals is becoming a frantic exercise.  Not an hour elapses that some radio talk-host isn’t making a pitch for the “. . . only precious metals firm he trusts.”  And you can’t ignore the full hour infomercials where the anointed authority predicts that gold will rise to $5,000 per ounce by year’s end.  The fact that it has fallen from $1,900 into the $1,300s over the past three years is merely offered as justification that “. . .  you must buy now while it’s a bargain.”


Nonetheless, the incessant monotone goes on, as each marketer attempts to outdo his competitors with some special inducement for the buyer.  One pitchman claims a free informational brochure, “a forty dollar value,” is available to all.  Another assures the listeners they’ll have access to the firm’s top experts, as they contemplate whether a precious metal investment is for them.


But most hilarious is the offer of a “one-gram bar of silver” to whoever inquires.  At first blush, this sounds generous.  A little calculation reveals that at 31 grams to the ounce, and silver now near $21 per ounce, a one-gram bar is worth 68¢.


It’s clear; the precious metals marketers are combing the bushes in search of dimwits.  Will they find enough of them to keep the charade going?  To paraphrase that incomparable iconoclast H. L. Mencken: “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”



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