Friday 15 July 2011

The man who wants to buy new shoes (a soft satire)

Long ago, no, longer than when policemen wear shorts… Go back longer. When Chinese men still wear pigtails? Yes, that’s about right!

There lived a man in a Chinese village (why most stories happen in villages?) who wanted to buy a pair of new shoes in town.

He is a “precision” kind of guy. Everything has to be “exact” and “precise”. He loves to measure everything!

True to his nature, he took 2 strings and measured them against his feet. Cut away the ends, and presto! He got 2 strings that have exactly the same length as his feet. Confidently, he put them on his nightstand and went to bed.

The next morning, he walked to town with a spring in his stride. He’s gonna have new shoes!

On arriving at the shoe shop, he slipped his hands into his pocket and to his horror… He has forgotten to bring the strings with him!

Disappointed, he walked back home empty-handed.


Before you laugh at the man, how do you buy stocks?

At the very least, the man used the strings he measured himself…

(I am putting my magi-mee pot over my head now.)


  1. Some men on arriving at the shoe shop and to their horror they discovered the string has somehow either become too short or too long.

    They walked back home empty-handed. They will get new string to measure their foot again.

    Strange thing always happen to their string. when they reach the shoe shop. Why neh???

  2. the problem is that the lenght of our foot always changes, cannot be precise. no need to measure, just buy the biggest shoe available.

    back to out sourcing, are you an expert in sourcing? if yes, ok go ahead.

    the problem is that out sourcing is even harder than just blindly picking a stock.


  3. Thank you both CW8888 and Coconut!

    For a moment I thought this story will "bomb" like the man-son-mule story...

    I guess this story can be harder for younger readers to figure out.

    Need to have worn out a few pairs of shoes first, I guess.


    I am at the exploring stage on "outsourcing". I can't deny there's a bit of greed in my search.

    But the main idea is that I don't trust myself 100%. If I park some of my money elsewhere, and if I self-destruct once again, at least I don't lose everything.

    There lies a hint of humbleness in me that there are professionals out there better than me ;)

  4. I am glad a young friend in cbox asked me to explain what I meant in this story last friday.

    Please allow me to share my thoughts when I wrote it:

    1) The shoe can be a stock, property, or investment you are eyeing.

    2) How do most people buy stocks?

    Some read "detailed" and "precise" analyst reports to find out what shoes to buy.

    Some use very colourful charts with all the bells and whistles to tell them when to buy shoes.

    Do you use strings or your feet to buy shoes in real life?

    3) And we do all this without putting out feet into the shoe to see if it fits? I mean even shoes under the same brand will have different "fit" - depending on the model and style. Why so sure shoe size 7 will always mean all shoes will fit us? Past performance is no indicator of future performance!

    4) I think this example is clearer since I got it from academic ciricles. If we want to find out how goldfish swims, would you research it in the libraries or do you just go to a pet store and observe goldfish swim in the tank?

    5) I am not saying don't use strngs! They are useful tools. But to not trust your own feet.... This is what I am poking fun it.

    OK, now you can thow the shoes at me. I have my maggi-mee pot on now!

  5. haha, no i'm not throwing shoes, i'm throwing my hat.

    buying a hat would be a better choice i think. if you bought too small, you look like a crown, but if you buy too big, it can endanger your life, so don't over do it.

    i think i'm too strong on my words. but thats what i will advice someone close.

    sure, everyone can learn to invest their money, meaning taking risk. as long as you can accept the consequances (win or lose) thats fine. but the picture i've seen so far not looking good.

  6. ya forgot, the true investor that i come across, they don't use strings, they don't see the price everyday. they buy up the company.

    meaning, if you want to buy stocks, think of owning the company, thats the only valid reason i can think of.

  7. Hi SMOL,

    I still blur...haha :)

    Buy shoes is easy for me. I look at the design first, try it out by fitting my feet into the shoe. If it doesn't fit, try a larger or smaller size, then walk around and see if it's comfortable or not. Repeat this until you found the right fit. After that, I look at the retail price. Then I wait for discount or sales, then I'll buy it up.

    That's really how I buy shoes, haha!

  8. 1) Hey Coconut,

    I like the hat analogy! Will "steal with pride" for my future story telling.

    2) Hello LP,

    What can I say? If we buy stocks like the way you buy shoes, a lot of us will be very comfortable with the choices we have made. No buyer's remorse.

    Having said that, we have people that:

    a) Care only for design. Comfort and price not an issue.

    b) Care only for comfort. Ugly and price does not matter.

    c) Care only about price. Comfort and design can be sacrificed.

    d) And some don't wear shoes. (Not barefoot lah! They wear sandals and flip flops can?)

    Now I've made myself blur... Fantastic! I needed that ;)


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