As fans of super-investor Warren Buffett know, this weekend is the annual meeting for shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway
Highlights of the weekend include an extended Q&A with Buffett and his partner, Charlie Munger, and the opportunity to shop at various local Berkshire-owned stores, such as Nebraska Furniture Mart and Borsheim's, a jewelry store. The Fool covered these proceedings in several different articles last year, and published a series of articles on Buffett and Berkshire in 1999.
Most, if not all, of the questions asked at the Q&A are serious, well thought out inquiries about Berkshire's business and Buffett's views on investing.
And then there are plenty of more lighthearted questions that Fool Jerry Thomas (TMF Cheeze) thinks should be asked at the annual meeting, but almost certainly won't. Recently, Jerry posted his suggested questions on the Berkshire discussion board, and we've posted the highlights below. Enjoy them while you wait for next week's reports from some of the four Fools who will attend the real question and answer session.
Jerry Thomas' (TMF Cheeze) Questions for the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting
1. If Borsheim's started selling cubic zirconium instead of actual diamonds, how long would it be before the customers noticed the difference? Could we be out of town by then?
2. Why don't you and Charlie do those cute Bartles & Jaymes commercials anymore?
3. If I eat a box of See's Candies with a Dilly Bar and a Cherry Coke, which Berkshire insurance wing would provide coverage for expenses related to the subsequent sugar coma?
4. Historically, Berkshire Hathaway has acquired companies that throw off very high rates of free cash flow. This high rate of cash infusion has resulted in an enormous pool of billions of dollars in cash. Exactly how much money is there, and, more importantly -- can I have some?
5. No, really, can I?
6. Do you think it's possible that Berkshire might eventually reverse its policy against splitting shares sometime? Some of us have trouble with big numbers, you know.
7. Last year you underwent surgery to remove a portion of your intestine. Why is there no accounting in the Annual Report for this divestiture?
8. About 12 years ago, I bought an end table at Nebraska Furniture Mart. I forgot to use a coaster once, and now there's a ring on it from my coffee cup. I want to return the table, but it's been so long I can't find the receipt any more. Can we work something out here?
9. I think that the GEICO Gecko is an insult to the Gecko-American Community. Must we continue to see such broad, offensive stereotypes promulgated in your commercials?
10. Please tell us which stocks you are secretly accumulating so we can buy them too.
11. I'm still confused about why that insurance float thing is so doggone important. Could you explain it to us again, this time using balloon animals as visual aids?
12. I've never been to Omaha before. Where can I find some action around here?
13. Would you sign this $100 bill for me so I can resell it for a profit on eBay?
14. While we're at it, could you sign the bottom of this revision of your last will and testament that I've taken the liberty of having prepared on your behalf?
15. In triplicate?
16. (Don't forget to initial the rider.)
17. How much cash and marketable securities does Berkshire need to keep around for liquidity purposes? Is it in a drawer in your office? Can we all go there and look at it?
18. Would you like to buy a copy of 101 Reasons to Own Berkshire Hathaway?
19. How come Lleweilun Smith gets to ask all the smart questions?
20. What are your lotto picks for this week's PowerBall drawing?
21. Could you say something folksy and homespun for us again?
22. Wouldn't the berkshirehathaway.com website get a lot more page views if it had some celebrity thumbnail pics?
23. I just got done reading the 2000 Annual Report. It looks pretty good, but jeeze -- does everything have to be about money?
Jerry Thomas does not own Berkshire Hathaway stock. And he won't -- at least not until he gets some answers, dammit. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors, and so on and so forth.