Thursday, December 3, 2009


We haven't all worked in commodities trading, but I think we've all worked with someone we would like something like this to happen to:

“You mus’ be Brad,” a cheerful voice jumped in. Brad’s eye’s shifted towards the scruffy fellow wearing some sort of workman’s uniform who was sitting in one of the reception chairs. “Now first and foremost, how in the Sam Hill are we ‘sposed to moor this boat? I count two cleats, but we sure as heck can’t hitch these. And, shoot, do you even have a bulk berth?”

For once, Brad was speechless. He had absolutely no idea who that man was and he could hardly understand a word he said. Plus, there was that gargantuan vessel that was slowly moving towards the building. “Uhh,” he stuttered, “wait. Are you delivering… coal? To… uhh, us?”

“Well, yeah! Twenty-eight thousand tons of the good ol’ black gold!” The workman sarcastically furrowed his brow adding, “I mean, we did get the right address, har har. This is Æxecor? And this is Pier 53? And you are Brad, the fella who ordered it, right?”

It was that moment that Brad’s palm almost immediately made contact with his forehead. He realized that something must have really gone awry: instead of virtually trading 28,000 tons of coal, Brad had somehow ended up with 28,000 tons of real coal.

This story doesn't have a Wikipedia standard citation to back it up, but the article goes into sufficient detail to make it convincing. Most commodity trading is carefully set up to avoid the possibility of ever taking physical ownership. You can see why...

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