Dilemma

As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, I have an interesting post to push that one off the top of the blog, but first a bit of housekeeping.  As I suggested yesterday, its RIP for the “stories”.  Its been fun, and they have totally served their purpose over the past 6 months (more than you could know, “you” of course, requiring a semiosis with the reader (OK, they are really dead now :) )), but its “Adieu, Adieu” (and those who really get my blog get it).

Secondly, if you want to actually read a good metal detecting blog, read Pocketspill. I do. He’s a smart guy.  You’ll learn alot more there then here, unless, of course, your area of interest is semiotics or economics (not to disparage Pocketspill’s expertise in those disciplines, of course).  But, I think we all want to learn more about metal detecting, which is easier than the former, and harder than the latter.

So, onto the Dilemma.  This stuff is good .  Economists love thinking about this stuff (otherwise they would be idiots for becoming economists, wouldn’t they?).  Some write Ph D theses on stuff like this.  The following is a real story from the metal detecting world (and you may have seen it on the forums; if not, maybe you will find this interesting).

This is a thought experiment.  The exercise here, after reading the story, is to describe how you would have acted were you in the principal actor’s shoes, and, most importantly, why? It is not an exercise in judgment of the principal actor. (Economists observe and predict the actions of actors; they do not judge them).

First, a bit of background for my non-metal detecting readers (of which, surprisingly, there are several).  Metal detecting people can skip this.  Silver quarters were minted in and before 1964.  They look very similar to non-silver quarters (1965+) to many, but are worth about 20x as much.  That is, while 4 modern quarters are worth $1, four similarly looking silver quarters are worth about $20.  Here is the difference in appearance –

You also need to know that “coinstar machines”, those machines in the supermarket that turn jars of change into dollar bills, and change a 9.8% “convenience fee” for doing so, clearly state that they do not accept silver coins (and, for non Mid-Atlantic readers of the following story, “mac” means “ATM machine”).

So, here is the story, in the words of the principal actor –

So I went to the supermarket this evening to get some ground beef for chili. I came home and realized i bought the wrong beef. What I bought was a mixture for meatloaf. All ticked off I went back to the supermarket. Went and got what I needed and proceeded to check out. There was a girl about 25 years old at the coin star. I “heard” all of her change getting rejected. She got in line behind me and I looked at her zip lock bag full of coins. I said to her since the coinstart takes about 10% from the total, I will tap mac and give her total face value. Well we sat there counting them out. My hands were shaking as I was doing that. I promptly gave her $70 even for 280 quarters…SILVER QUARTERS THAT IS!!! She needed the cash to do food shopping. Wow I am so glad I picked up the wrong beef!!! I truly believe that saying now that things happen for a reason.

I know some are going to say I ripped her off. Well I look at it as if the coin star took the silver quarters then she would have gotten about $62 back. I gave her the full amount for them. If she knew what they were she didnt care…

They are all Washingtons. No real key dates. One 1950 D that might be a D over S. Either way that is $1453 in melt value . I am still so stoked. What an awesome evening!!!

So, to reiterate the thought experiment, the question is, what would you have done, and why?  E-mail me.  (Comments still don’t work; not that I’m not interested in hearing them, its just that if I turn them on, I get 300 spams a day, and this is my work e-mail, and I can’t suffer that.  Moreover, I’ve passed my days of fighting bad software, been there, done that for 20+ years.  Maybe someday comments will be fixed; that day won’t be today).

BTW, you can google the PA’s story and find the 1000 post thread on another forum if you want to.  You may even find my inane responses. That would be cheating.  If you do that, don’t respond; I’m interested in unaffected responses.  I’ll write how I would have acted next week (and may even include some economics, both mainstream and alternative theory, but this is a metal detecting blog, after all, so don’t bet on it), if I remember to.

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