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Oh, What is the Worth of the Things you Know?

July 23, 2006

For most of is, we can’t answer that question. Oh, we get a tad of an idea from our salary, but there’s lots of things we know that aren’t figured in because it doesn’t apply to our gainful employment. After twenty-eight years of marriage (with SWMBO), I know a few things about marriage, and after raising two kids (with SWMBO), I know a thing or two about raising kids; my compensation package includes nothing for that knowledge. Heck, I know how to can green beans, how to make beer, how to change the clutch cable in a 76 Vega, the official stance of the United Methodist denomination on the death penalty, how to communicate over amateur radio (even in Morse code), who Indianapolis selected in the 1998 NFL draft, how to smoke a pork butt, how to fly a single-engine plane, what an f-stop is, how to play Shenandoah on the guitar, who the Skipper’s little buddy was, where the first marriage in the US took place, the difference between a refracting and a reflecting telescope, and lots of other things . . . but I’ve no idea what the value of that knowledge might be in the market place.

I could take the things I know, slap them all together in one collection, and make it available for a price. But were you or I — Mr/Ms Typical American — to do so, it’d still be tough to find out what it’s worth. Most of us don’t have a vast marketing engine to drive the collection to the public, to garner the attention needed to find out it’s true value, so we will never know what the things we know might be worth. That’s most of us. Not all of us.

While it still hasn’t been nailed down for the fellow in the photo, at least he has established an upper boundary, a knowledge of how much the things he knows isn’t worth. Because at the $1.00 price, with the books in the basement where the deep, deep discount is applied to books that won’t sell, there were still boxes and boxes sitting there, moldering away, waiting to become promotional “give-aways,” as is the final destination of books you can’t get rid of any other way. So it’s been determined for this individual that the things he knows are not worth a buck, and is fast approaching the “worthless” tag.

I also noticed it was a slim volume; at a guess, nothing in there covering a twenty-eight year marriage, 76 Vega clutch cables, or canning green beans. And another observation was the store’s effort to improve sales by their strategic placement of the discount sticker; were it me, I’d probably take offense to that particular location.

Anyway, based on what I’ve heard from the guy, it was interesting to see my opinion of the value of the things he knows is being reflected in the purchasing decisions of the general public. Plus, I just found it funny.

From → Ramblings

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