Thursday, September 2, 2010

Daniel Trump

I Become A Commodity Trader

Yesterday, I was at the Shell station, getting my morning energy drink. This has become my morning ritual, as the Shell station is near the Fire Station where I stash my guitar and bag, before coming to this here library.

I Make 75 Cents

There, a guy pulled up on a bike. He had a sink tied to his handlebars. It looked like a stainless steel one. He also had a bag of aluminum cans with him. He was on his way to the recycling place, I gathered.

I thought about the cans which I had collected Saturday morning, which I crushed under foot and filled a bucket with. What hadn't occurred to me as I was doing that, until I had filled the bucket, was that I wouldn't be able to cash them in without my ID, which had been in the stolen guitar case. I had hidden the bucket, near the fire station.

I decided to propose a business deal to the fellow, though I wasn't exactly in business attire, with my stained jeans, my tee shirt with holes in it, and my work boots, but neither was he, in his stained jeans, tee shirt with holes in it, and his work boots. Besides, he had a stainless steel sink tied to the handlebars of his bike with a bungee cord. That always makes a person seem approachable, to me.

I decided to "break the ice," with some humour. I looked his bike over and then said, "Gee, you've got everything tied to your bike except the kitchen s-, oh, as I was, I guess you do have everything!

I Broker A Deal

I told the guy with the sink tied to his handlebars about the bucket full of crushed aluminum cans. I said that I figured them to weigh about 3 pounds. I told him that they were at the fire station, which was a short ride on a bike, even with a sink tied to its handlebars.

He acted as if he wasn't that interested, but reluctantly agreed to meet me there, after complaining that he didn't have a lot of time to spend upon retrieving 3 pounds of aluminum, as if he had "bigger fish to fry." (According to the London Metal Exchange, [see chart above] 3 pounds of aluminum would be worth about $2.75)

I didn't know the London Metal Exchange price at the time. I asked him for 75 cents for the whole bucket-full. I told him that he could fill his sink with them, and thus, wouldn't need to ride with the bucket. I remembered the time that I traded in 5 dollars worth of aluminum, and I was judging the value of my aluminum to be about $2.50. I was pretty sure that he was going to come out ahead.

Once there, he removed the crushed cans from the bucket and put them in a plastic bag. He did this, apparently to ascertain that there were no dummy weights in the bucket, just pure crushed cans. He then held the bag by the handles, and attempted to guess the weight, by raising and lowering it. "There's no way this is five pounds," he said to me, and he handed me the bag, so I could judge for myself. "Have you ever held a five pound bag of flour? This is more like, maybe three pounds, maybe."

I agreed that three pounds, maybe, was a good estimate, and one which I had already arrived at. I had to meet him on that point, because I knew that scales don't "lie," and that he would soon know the exact weight. If my assertion of what I believed the weight to be turned out to be too far off, it would make me look like a fool, embarrass me in recycling circles, and could tarnish my reputation as a straight laced aluminum trader.

He told me that he was probably only going to break even on the deal, if he gave me 75 cents, as the going rate at the recycling place is 50 cents per pound. He did conceded that he "might make a quarter," but added that he would have to transport it, by the sweat of his brow.

Negotiations Almost Stall

He was playing hardball, trying to bolster his "bottom line," I was pretty sure. I didn't want the bucket to be sitting around the fire station, and didn't have any way to cash it in myself, and plus, I would have to walk the metal to the recycling place. I was at a disadvantage, and he could smell it on me, like a shark smells blood in the water. He was moving in for the kill, trying to get me to budge on my asking price of 75 cents. I had to respect him for that, because "business is business," as they say. I didn't take it personally.

I was just about to open my mouth and reduce my price to 50 cents, when he told me "I'll give you the 75 cents, anyways." I was just glad to have the aluminum dealt with; out of inventory, and into liquid assets. My balance sheet won't be as convoluted this quarter. I breathed a little sigh of relief (to myself, of course, I didn't want to tip my hand, in case I ever have to deal with the fellow again. I didn't want it to seem like I felt that I had gotten too good a deal, at 75) I'm sure he went on to double his money, which is more than the Commodities Traders in Chicago could ever dream about.

He handed me the cash, and then our conversation turned to more pleasant topics, us becoming good acquaintances. I think we were each glad that the wheeling and dealing was out of the way.

He said his name was Mike, and that it was convenient for him to be standing there talking to me by the fire station, as, he was waiting for certain people across the street to go on their lunch break, so he could look in their dumpster for more metal scraps.

And that was how I spent a half hour yesterday, meddling in the metal business.

I felt like I had had a good morning, business-wise, and so I went to the Shell and celebrated, by spending 75 cents on a can of beer -Budweiser Ice, what all the tycoons drink. I punctuated the occasion by crushing the can underfoot.

I Make 6 Dollars With The Yamaha

Some other time that morning, when I still had the Yamaha, and not the Jasmine, I was asked outside the shell, by a young man, to play a song. I made excuses for the sound of the Yamaha, it having a bent neck and all, and then played "Knocking On Heaven's Door."
A man came out of the store while I was playing and threw a buck on my case. Then, the man who had asked for a song, threw 5 bucks in the case. Then the man who runs the store came out and told me that I couldn't play in his parking lot, and that I would have to "go downtown" to play for money.
And that is how much money I made with the Yamaha in the one day that I had it.
I have made 2 dollars with the Jasmine, as, this morning I was asked to play a song, as I was standing and talking to someone in front of the McDonalds

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