Tuesday, March 23, 1999

"Speak To My Chief Advisor"

by Craig R. Hersch

At dinner tonight, I received a phone solicitation from a Wise brokerage firm. My four-year-old daughter was in the middle of describing her day at pre-school, my wife was tending to our two-year-old daughter (who was busy tossing her unwanted pasta onto the floor), and I was annoyed that the phone intruded yet again into our family time.

Looking at the caller I.D. (what a neat device) I recognized it was probably a solicitation, but answered just so the incessant ringing would stop. (Mental note to self: shut off ringer during dinner!)


"Yes, Mr. Hurst?" (They always mispronounce my name.)

"What do you want?"

"I'm from the Wise Brokerage Company and would like to let you in on our select stock picks guaranteed to beat the market." (I'm thinking that they are probably referring to the flea market, but decide not to press it.)

(Feigning interest...) "Sure, I've got some money to invest. Let me know the picks."

"I would be happy to after you establish an account with us, would you like to do that now?"

"How much do you charge in commissions?"

"Well, we can get into that in a bit..."

"And your picks... I'm sure you are familiar with the Foolish Ratio. Tell me how your picks rate there?"

"The Foolish what? I don't know what you are referring to, sir, but I would like to explain our stock picking strategies in a little more detail. I think you'll be impressed."

"Wait a minute. I want you to explain all of this to my Chief Investment Advisor." (I put my four-year-old daughter on the phone -- she'll talk to anyone.)

"My teacher's name is Miss Ellen. She let us play outside today. I saw a big bug outside. It was scary..."


"Yes sweetheart?"

"They hung up!"

"That's good! Now, tell me about that bug you saw."

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