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July 2020


We’ve written before how we encourage investors to think not of being a ‘stockholder’, but rather in terms of having passive ownership of companies. Our client, Carla, took it one step further with her experience at Destin Commons in Florida.

Here’s how she described it to us:

"It was a nice day, so after I finished shopping at Chico’s I decided to walk around and maybe check out some of the other shops. A block or so down the street I was looking in the doorway at Williams Sonoma and, seeing a couple of interesting items, I decided to go in.
It was maybe a minute or two after I entered that a very nice-looking woman, evidently a salesperson, asked if she could be of assistance.
That’s when, out of nowhere, I heard myself say, in a friendly tone, “I’m one of the owners of Williams Sonoma and I have never been in this location before. Just wanted to see it.”
We chatted as she showed me around, even introducing me to the manager and a couple of other saleswomen, but without reference to me being ‘one of the owners.’ She was not patronizing, just eager to let me take in the operation of the store. We exchanged names and email addresses, with her encouraging me to let her know if I needed anything from Williams Sonoma, even when I am in St. Louis, and she will take care of it.
It was a very friendly meeting, in my opinion two people communicating differently than would have been the case had I not mentioned my ownership, but nevertheless not at all a strained or hierarchical situation.
I’ll certainly be going back to that store.
I just wanted you to know how I finally got the whole ’passive interest in good companies’ thing. I don’t think I will use it often, but I wonder how it would work with some insolent or indifferent salesperson?
If I find out, I’ll let you know.”

Good work, Carla, and thanks for giving us a good example to use in addressing the concept of the difference between owning stocks and having a passive ownership in good companies.

Until the perception by investors becomes one of Covid-19 being, if not eliminated, as least manageable, and the economy is heading into the productive mode of prior to the lockdown, and of course, the political bickering and name calling subsides (how likely is that?), and the anarchists have lost their attempt to infiltrate viable organizations, and there are no more statues to topple , and …. Then the volatility will subside. We won’t hold our breaths; however, we will stay our disciplined course with your portfolio.

Stay safe, stay strong.

Previous column: June 2020
Next column: August 2020