Last month, we published Don Oshman’s response to our July Limeblast.

Dear Mr Ohsman

Ron Sauer did not like my July Limeblast either but he came back with some very constructive thoughts and the resulting friendly exchange of opinions resulted in the August Limeblast and in another collaboration that will be disclosed shortly.

So you find my remarks to be full of inaccuracies. Great. I love to learn. If you just could explain what is inaccurate, I’d be able to answer you, because from your rebuttal letter I deduce that despite your first reaction, we agree more or less on 80% of what I have written. We only use different words.

In your fourth paragraph you quote P T Barnum. Personally I don’t agree, because those who purposely intend to fool other people always find victims until they are stopped by the law. In our case, I wonder why so many different market reports report the same thing in a totally different way.

I can understand that each individual interprets figures and situations according to his own gut feeling, but a Russian price for a specific weight range can differ from one report to another by a few cents, not 10-20 cents as happens often. There is less difference for prices in other markets I admit. And to stay at home, do you really believe that the US packers report exact sales prices, or their exact sales for that matter and inform the competition?

Don’t you think they may ‘help’ themselves with a couple of cents and a few containers either way? I stopped believing in fairy tales when I was seven years’ old. Total honesty in business regretfully is a non-existent commodity. Enron and the rest teaches.

I agree with your fifth paragraph, but when one report or service dies, ten others will come up. Watch my lips and keep an eye on the www! I have never mentioned or even hinted at Hidenet in my Limeblast and you have taken offence at something that was not directed at you. The purpose of the Limeblast was to raise questions on the general topic of market reports, not specific reports.

I actually said between the lines ‘look around and take care what you read’, or ‘read the good ones and discard the bad ones’. I have taken your point about unbiased reports, something I had already mentioned in Limeblast words.

TV and newspapers have an agenda, whether you like it or not. They have an opinion and try to bring that opinion to their viewers or readers as if it were the Bible. No two news channels bring the same news the same way, no two newspapers tell the same story in an identical way.

Many try to be neutral and some, few, get close to being neutral, but they are the exception. I watch the news and read the papers with extremely critical scepticism, especially now in this turbulent period when a minority of the world wants to go to war pushed by the home industry while the majority are prepared to sit back and see if people will or will not be murdered ‘en masse’. Let us keep in mind that my freedom fighter may be your terrorist or vice versa. It all depends on your point of view.

Limeblast wants to be critical and sceptical, not push absolute ideas. Limeblast tries to show a situation and asks people to think about it.

I have been in the leather industry for 25/+ years and I have always seen the market reports. They are useful and have a value in forming a basic idea of where the market stands. Whether they are of ‘great’ value I personally doubt very much, but each individual will determine that for himself.

If a report puts the market at 70 cents per lb that may be a fact because ‘a’ sale was made at that price, but the moment that price is reported, it’s history, done, finished, and only new negotiations between a buyer and seller will determine the spot market and the next price.

A buyer and seller determine a deal bearing in mind their financial situation, their stock position, and their guess of what the future will bring. The buyer tries to buy as cheaply as possible and the seller as expensively as possible and neither bothers at that moment with what is written in some report.

Market reports are good background information, useful to keep in mind when you negotiate, but they certainly are not the determining factor when one closes a deal. The dealers in under developed countries don’t even know there are such things and they run their businesses just as effectively.

Sure, nobody holds a gun to my head to read all reports. People must vet what they (want to) read. But that’s exactly what I said. We don’t have the time to read all and then determine what we actually need. We can extract what we need or think we need. So, basically. I said the same thing as you!

I ask you, my friend, why do major media networks, newspapers, supermarkets, commodity manufacturers have psychologists on their payroll? I’ll tell you!

They have these people in order to MAKE people drink only Coke, or watch ONLY CNN, or shop exclusively at Sears, in short they try to influence and direct choice by any means at their disposal. We think we have a free choice, but that is an illusion. He who shouts loudest, gets the most attention.

As for the information available to everybody ….. I regret I have to contradict you. Your report, like most others, is only available to those who pay. So how much money should I spend to be independently informed?

I hope you don’t mind that I talk frankly and straight forwardly. I am a communicator, not a warmonger, so please don’t take offence.