Observation #2 - The Building Fund

The following was posted by Jim on The Chip Board on June 26th, 2004

This observation is probably the most difficult one I have ever had to write. It is most difficult because I must somehow deal with reality while maintaining an illusion that someday "we" might have a building to call our own. I am a chip collector at heart but I am also a Certified Public Accountant and a realist.

My heart tells me how wonderful it would be if we could have our own "place". After all no true chip collector who loves this hobby could be against the concept of having our own clubhouse. No one in their right mind is publicly going to be against the "dream" of owning such a place.

When we were kids we always wanted that special place to go hide, play and enjoy. It was ours. It might have consisted of a big paper box or a closed in group of hedges or maybe an abandoned garage. It was fun and brought tremendous enjoyment to those of us lucky enough to experience such a childhood. We could hide in our clubhouse and pretend to be whoever or whatever we wanted to be.

The reality of the outside world only rear its ugly head when it was time to go home, eat, and do homework. However, we would and could look forward to the next day when school was over and once again enter our dream world of fun and excitement.

Collecting these little pieces of clay or whatever you collect gives us fun and enjoyment much like we experienced when we were kids. I don't know about you but once in a while I'll find myself holding an "old" chip and thinking about who might have held it in their hand. Where it had been and whose live it might have touched and strange how it has ended up in my hand. The history it had experienced - if this little piece of clay could only talk.

The chip, ashtray, book of matches or whatever provides joy and fun and a necessary outlet from the stress of reality from everyday life. Is it any wonder many of us dream of a building where we can go and enter a world of enjoyment and fun? A place that will give us endless pleasure from the many collectables on display and the history of a simpler time.

This dream is shattered and reality takes over when some of our associates cry "foul". How dare you dream an impossible dream? How dare you put money aside for something that will never happen. How dare you become part of the "scam". It must be a scam because it can never happen. All one has to do is look at our financial statements. All one has to do is be a realist.

Often other collectors will come up to me at chip shows make small talk and than ask my opinion about the building project and more specifically the building fund. The question makes me feel like a defendant who is asked by the prosecuting attorney "When did you stop beating your wife?" It's a no win question with a no win answer. My chip collecting heart tells me yes - but my brain says look at the numbers.

Many of us are engaged in occupations that deal with the public. My occupation of CPA requires I give my clients sound advice as to investments, taxes, and any other financial planning they may require. I must tell you this club building fund has created personal difficulty for me. It has cost me potential clients because I have not come out publicly against it. I will not come out publicly against it. If I do it will kill the little kid that is still inside me. The little kid that loves the fun and excitement of collecting these little pieces of clay.

I know the numbers are not there for getting a building. Hell, we couldn't afford the yearly expenses of insurance, security, utilities, real estate taxes, etc. if someone gave us a building.

I know that - you know that- and any club member with half of a brain knows that. You don't have to call it a scam and hurt me and others because it isn't a scam. The facts are clearly out in the open for all to see. All one has to do is look at the financial statements. If we continue along the same course we are traveling it will never happen. There - does that make you happy? Do you enjoy smashing my dream and the dream of others?

If you don't want to be part of the dream that's O.K. Maybe your dream is different. That's also O.K. It's a dream - yeah, maybe a pipe-dream that probably will never happen.

Why than do we continue on with a building fund?
I can not answer that question for other club members; I can only answer it for myself. Every night I say a little prayer that just one of the many multi-millionaire club members we have in our organization will allow the little kid to come out and build us a building. Don't laugh, it could happen. It has to happen if we are ever going to have our own building. There is no other way.

Folks we have individuals in our organization who can't spend the interest that they make. I spoke to one of them at our convention. He told me with a smile that if he was to do such a thing how was the club going to pay the monthly expenses for upkeep? I didn't answer because at present there is no answer. I also smiled to myself knowing that he would think about what I suggested.

If Jerry Wall was still active in this hobby there is no doubt in my mind he would have built us a building. Jerry Wall loved this hobby. His goal was to acquire every chip that was ever made. In addition, he probably built most of the Toys-Are-Us stores in the United States. He had a heart as big as a pumpkin with the love for the hobby to match.

There are others in our hobby who quietly collect who would make Jerry's wealth look like a "piker".
Just maybe one day one of them will build us a building. I can dream and no one can take that away!