Willingness to Pay

Many years ago when I was a poor undergrad, there was a band I wanted to see.  I didn’t have a ticket, but I showed up anyway.  The show was sold out but a scalper offered me a ticket for $40.  That was too much for me.  I stood there just waiting and waiting.  The whole time, the scalper kept egging me on to buy the ticket, “Man, the show is starting soon, if you want to see it, you have to buy this ticket soon!”  But I just waited.

Eventually, you could hear the band taking the stage inside. By then, the crowds on the sidewalk were all gone.  It was just me and scalper.

“Last chance kid, I’m leaving now.”

“Ok, I’ll buy it from you,” I said.


“I’ll pay you $10.”

“$10 dollars?” he replied.  “I paid $25 for this.  If I sell it to you for $10, I’ll be losing $15.”

“And if you don’t sell it to me, you’ll lose $25.”

He huffed and puffed, told me to go to hell and started walking down the street.  He got to the end of the block, looked down at the ticket in his hand, turned around, and walked back.

“Ok, give me $10,” he said.

I held out a $5 bill.  He gave me a dirty look, grabbed the $5 bill, handed me the ticket, and walked away cursing me under his breath.


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