Skip to main content

Cody Willard's Over-Share-y Primer On Short Selling

  • Author:
  • Updated:

I'm going to present this one without commentary. To parse it would be to meddle with its genius (genius that, if it's doing its job right, will haunt your dreams). I will however put a few things in bold that I think you should look out for:

Most people understand that shorting something means you'll make money if it goes down. Here's how it actually works:
It's Saturday afternoon and you stop by your ex girlfriend's apartment to pick some of your old stuff. You guys are friends and all, so you just let yourself in. You're grabbing your clothes from behind the fridge and see that she's got a case of Budweiser sitting in the pantry next to it. You happen to be on your way to a pool party and you know that your frat boy friends will be out of beer by the time you make your "casually late" entrance.

So you "borrow" that case of beer from your ex. That's called the locate, and since you didn't get her permission then that'd be called doing it naked. (Hey, stay focused here and stop dreaming about your ex's great body. I'm learnin' y'all something right now.)
You get to the party and sure enough, your boyz are desperate for more beer, so you sell (read: short-sell, since it ain't your beer in the first place) them the case at a dollar a pop, and you just pocketed $24.
Sure enough, you ex calls you just then as she's got a new loser boyfriend who wants to drink some Bud and she wants to know why you've stolen her beer (naked shortsellers ALWAYS get in trouble).
The brilliant part of this particular trade is that you stop by the Safeway on your way to your ex's and pick up a case of bud for $15. And you've just "covered" your short sell at a nice $9 profit (you sold the beer at $24 and bought it back at $15, see?).
Hmm, trading beer...maybe there are some real arbitrage opportunities here that I've not realized before.

Shortselling Explained: How to Shortsell Your Ex-Girlfriend's Beer [The Cody Word]