A Sweet Investment
Kate: You remember when we were married?
Kate: Didn’t we agree that any time we contemplated purchases of over $500 we would discuss such an expense before it was incurred?
Jaron: Yes, and you have veto power.
Kate: So explain this canceled check for $1,000 made out to Sees Chocolates. I realize you have a sweet tooth, but this is ridiculous.
Jaron: In my opinion, Sees candies are the best chocolates in the world. Better than Godiva, Black Magic, Hershey —
Kate: I admit they’re delicious. I like them too. But a one-pound box is only $11.50. It looks like you bought about 90 boxes. You violated our agreement.
Jaron: It’s an investment.
Kate: Oh, stock in Sees? That’s different. After all, isn’t Sees owned by Warren Buffett, one of the richest and most astute men in the world?
Jaron: Yes, the company itself was founded by a canny Canadian in 1921.
Jaron: I thought seriously of buying more stock, Kate, but it didn’t make sense. Our portfolio is made up of stocks, some bonds and real estate. We are sorely lacking collectibles. The $1,000 represents boxes of chocolate.
Kate: A collectible is something you keep until the value goes up. Chocolates go bad after a few months. Unless you’re going to put them in a giant fridge. Tell me you didn’t buy a giant fridge.
Jaron: I didn’t buy a fridge. I said the $1,000 represents boxes of chocolate. I bought gift certificates.
Jaron: And when you make a purchase of $1,000 from Sees, you get a corporate discount of almost 30 percent. That means I have enough certificates to trade for 118 boxes of chocolates. Our per unit price is not $11.50 a box, it is only $8.50.
Kate: How long are the certificates good for?
Jaron: They never expire. And they are backed by one of the richest men in the world, as you pointed out.
Kate: What if the price of Sees chocolates goes up?
Jaron: That’s the beauty of it all. Each certificate is redeemable for a fresh one-pound box of Sees. Now, tomorrow or in the year 2029.
Kate: I see — you are…buying chocolate futures, is that right?
Jaron: Better than chocolate futures, darling. We are stockpiling the chocolates themselves. This is one of the greatest investments I have ever made on our behalf. Let us say the price of Sees chocolates appreciates 12 percent a year. Do you realize what a box will cost in 2029?
Jaron: Do the math, darling. In six years, at a 12 percent annual increase, a $11.50 box of Sees will sell for $23. The price of those chocolates will double five times within 30 years, until in 2029 when that box will go for $184. You tell me what other investment is absolutely guaranteed to go that high in such a short time.
Kate: And how in the world would we redeem the coupons?
Jaron: As customers enter the store, we will ask them if they’d like to buy a pound box of Sees for $150 instead of $184. We’ll sell our gift certificates like hot cakes. In a worst-case scenario, we will have a tenfold return on our investment.
Kate: Is that legal?
Jaron: Yes. The gift certificates are transferable. They are better than gold or silver certificates. Better than bearer bonds. Better than real estate.
Kate: May I see all the certificates?
Jaron: I don’t have all of them.
Jaron: I had to make sure that the chocolates were up to standard, so I visited a number of Sees stores and traded a few certificates in and ate some of the chocolates. We are talking about 30 years into our future and I had to be certain the quality was there. I am pleased to report it was. You know if we bought enough of these certificates we could corner the Sees chocolate market. We could take Sees away from Warren Buffett. I’ve projected some figures — you want to have a look?
Kate: No, I want to know how many boxes you had to test.
Jaron: Oh, 20 or 30. But that was over a period of several months. You want to try one?
Kate: Soft centre?
Jaron: Sure. Also milk chocolate, nuts and chews, dark chocolates —
Kate: I’ll take one of each, but we are going to have a new rule.
Kate: Any time we contemplate purchases of over $6.90, we discuss it. I will retain full veto power.
Update: the above article was written several years go.
Today (May 18, 2011) — price for a pound of Sees: $16.50. I bought one pound coupons four years ago for $8.00. I doubled my money. My real estate is down 40%.
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