I live immediately down the street from the Cal football stadium. Little more than a touchdown run away, actually.

So I'm sitting out by the sidewalk as I type this, amidst much hoopla. Taking in the scene, drinking my morning coffee. The season kicks off in less than an hour, Cal playing Nevada, and the neighboring frat and sorority houses are exploding with beer and BBQ activities. Today's game holds extra significance as the newly-renovated Cal stadium opens up after the team had to play last year across the Bay in SF.

So as the parade of fans flow towards the stadium I see two guys who appear educated in ways other than academics making their ways through the crowd. One's holding a sign which reads, "I need tickets."

As they walk past me I ask, What are tickets going at?

The guy with the "I need tickets" sign says, 40.

40, I say, noncommittally sipping from my mug of coffee.

Then the sign guy immediately says he'll pay 50. Rather enthusiastically, actually.

So I tell the guy, I'm a buyer. Which I don't think came as a complete shock because the sign guy's sidekick quickly let me know that he's got some for 200.

So basically what I was dealing with here was a couple of sidewalk ticket entrepreneurs making a two-sided market, 50 bid, at 200. Which was rather clever as the cardinal rule of pit trading was the counter-intuitive notion of bidding when already long, which they obviously were. I guess that precept extends past the pits. All the world's a trading floor.

Whatever the case, I told them that I would think about it for a while and they shuffled away. About twenty seconds later the guy with the $200 offer comes back and informs me that he's now suddenly willing to sell at 50.

At this point I had to laugh as I told him that I presumed that his partner had pulled his 50 dollar bid or else you guys are making a flat market in football tickets while standing outside a stadium. That's a curious business model, I added.

"Do you want one or not???"

20 dollar bid.

"Twenty dollars???"

Yeah, was all I said. He didn't say anything as he handed me the ticket; and me, his money.

The game starts shortly. The football one. The other game just ended.


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