BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Bedford investor Frank A. Weil learned a long time ago that long, drawn out negotiations are often surprising, funny and accompanied by weird behavior. He sees the same behavior in several current world circumstances.
In his blog on Huffington Post, Weil said the posturing between Greece and Europe, Iran and the United States, and Russia and NATO over Ukraine was not unlike a similar experience he had with a Japanese art dealer 35 years ago.
Weil recalled how in the 1980s he envied a superb pair of screens with eight scenes of Japanese daily life in the late 1700s. But the cost, $35,000, was too steep.
Weil visited the shop where he saw the screens for several years on subsequent trips. As the exchange rate fell, so did the price on the screens. The price finally slipped to $15,000 when he consulted an adviser.
Weil’s adviser said the screens were valuable, but romantic scenes. had dipped in value. Everyday scenes had come in vogue.
"How would you go about getting the best price?" Weil asked his adviser from Japan, who told him to write a check for $7,000 and to take them. He did just that.
As Weil headed for the exit, the shopkeeper tugged at Weil and “mumbled some more Japanese,’’ according to Weil. “We agreed -- in English -- that my check included shipping and wall mounting.” When Weil asked his adviser what the shopkeeper said, the adviser replied: "(Expletive) It can't be helped."
Weil still has the screens. More importantly, he learned a valuable business trait. “At the end of the day -- and just before the stroke of midnight -- both sides in a long running negotiation engage in screaming fits, gestures, promises and threats to try to gain some last moment advantage and possible benefit. All it takes to get through the process is some cool calmness and a willingness to walk out the door.’
Weil is the chairman of Abacus and Associates, Inc., a private investment firm in New York. He has also been involved with a variety of non-profit organizations.
Click here for his posts on Huffington Post.
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