Monday, May 21, 2007

The Price is Right (?)

Global equity markets are currently like a version of "The Price Is Right" gone terribly awry. As the regular contestants are busy trying to guess the correct retail price for a series of consumer products, a 5-ton male gorilla shows up. Completely disregarding the rules, every time a regular contestant bids $3.49 for, say, a can of hairspray the gorilla jumps up and down screaming "hunnerd bucks, hunnerd bucks I pay, mine, mine". A hapless Bob Barker tries to calm the animal down by explaining that this is just a game and not an auction, but the gorilla will have none of it. He smacks the table with his ham-fisted hands and demands that he MUST buy all the items on the show. Picking a fight with a male gorilla in heat is not wise, so the animal is rapidly accumulating a whole bunch of toothpastes, oven cleaners and cake mixes. In any case, he seems to have a rather unlimited supply of genuine, crisp "hunnerd" dollar bills so why pass up the huge mark-ups he is paying?

After their initial shock, the contestants are catching up, too: their handbags hold items the gorilla also wants - a tube of lipstick, a hairbrush, a package of moist towelettes - they are all going for a hunnerd bucks. The animal is ecstatic, wildly stuffing his purchases inside scores of Hefty(R) plastic bags (hunnerd a pack, naturally). Bob is not to be outdone, either: as the animal's attention is diverted by a contestant's particularly flashy key chain, he is seen calling his wife on the cell phone to stuff the SUV with every cleaning product they have in the house and rush down to the studio.

...and as the show's music changes to "Money For Nothing, Chimps For Free" Bob is rubbing his hands with glee. He is thinking: "This must be a good time to retire, let the damn gorilla have his way. What is he gonna do with all that cr*p, anyway?" The gorilla's backers, the ones providing all those freshly printed hundred dollar bills, must surely know a good deal when they see one, no?

N.B. The first time I saw the show (no gorilla) was in July 1974. After 35 years with the show, Bob Barker (a noted animal rights activist, no joke) is in fact retiring this May. Godspeed, Bob...


  1. Knew about the animal rights side of Bob...thought you had him calling his wife to get the spay/neuter device so this gorilla wouldn't reproduce.

    Heck, even HSBC got in on the act, doing a sale-leaseback of it's beloved Canary Wharf shack for GBP 1.09 billion.

  2. Nope..let the ape pay
    no sense in stopping him, eh?

  3. My personal opinion is that Chinese administration doesnt want things to go bad before the Olympics in August 2008. The US administration doesnt want things to go bad before the election in November 2008. That makes me think that tings won't go too bad until the end of 2008.