JUST WHAT are we willing to do for money? It's a question that gets asked fairly often, usually in a truth-or-dare setting, but it's relevant to the whole concept of business. The question speaks to what value we assign to objects and actions, and is really the basis of commerce. What we buy as well as what we sell tells a story about us.
I recently ran across an auction on eBay for a human soul (in the form of a certificate). To entice buyers, the following descriptive text appears:
"What you are purchasing is a certificate that states 'Human Soul Of [Seller] Is Now and Forever the Property of (Buyer).' You will also be purchasing my handwritten journal to be sent out 29 days after purchase. I will also listen to and consider all of your life advice and participate in the religion of your choice (free service with purchase)."
The current bid for this priceless gem? Twelve bucks, plus $3 shipping and handling. (Classic!) Here we have an entrepreneur identifying a commodity and putting it on the market. Unfortunately, he didn't really think things through, as evidenced by the low bid. In fact, this image inspired the following conversation between my girlfriend and myself:
Meaghan: "Participate in the religion of your choice"?
Marshall:Well, he is selling his soul, ya know.
Meaghan: Yes. But changing religions for $12? There are easier ways to get $12.
Marshall: Agreed. He should have set his reserve higher.
Clearly, the opportunity isn't right. Souls are easy to find, and TV and movies show us that people will offer their souls for sale at the drop of a hat. It's a buyer's market. Offering to change religions isn't a premium or special promotion, it's standard. What this joker should be doing, I regret to say, is something a little more dishonest. Souls may …