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View Full Version : How much would you pay for a human soul? (market research)


Winston Smith
08-14-2008, 10:33 AM
I'm meeting with the SBA officer at my bank next month to present a business plan for my Soul Monger venture. Without getting into too much detail, my plan is to act as a sort of middleman between Heaven and Hell. There is an abundant supply of souls available, at discount rates, and robust demand (you know, if you sell your soul to the Devil, and you happen to be in possession of two souls, you are free to specify which one you choose to bargain with). Old Scratch doesn't care a lick where the soul comes from as long as the quotas are met. Also, (to satisfy The Powers That Be) I will provide a release clause stipulating that untraded souls will ultimately be delivered to where ever they would have gone prior to trade.

I still need to fix the original price, though. I suspect that once this is all up and running the price will fluctuate from day to day, based on typical market forces, but I need a definitive starting point for my business plan to satisfy the SBA loan officer (and any investors I may attract). I've lined up a focus group later this month, but I was hoping I might get some preliminary results here (you've all been very helpful in the past). I have a number in mind but I don't want to bias anyone.

So, how much would you pay for a human soul?

Phlosphr
08-14-2008, 10:37 AM
$5,000 USD in non-sequential Jefferson $2-bills. Is that too low?

tdn
08-14-2008, 10:40 AM
$29.95. But wait! That's not all! Call in the next ten minutes and we'll throw in a second soul for free! That's a $10,000 value for only $29.95!

Really Not All That Bright
08-14-2008, 10:43 AM
Are you talking about a median price or a one-size-fits-all retail price?

Because, frankly, my soul is worth a lot more than, say, Fred Phelps'.

I think you'll need to create a series of pricing levels, like with Christmas trees or Hallowe'en pumpkins.

silenus
08-14-2008, 10:44 AM
You had better check with your lawyers first. I believe that Human Souls™ are a proprietary item, and the User Agreement specifies that they may only be sold, traded or redeemed by and at an Authorised Dealership. Unless you get written permission from The Management prior to engaging in this enterprise, you will be violating said User Agreement and subject to Penalties from said Management.

eleanorigby
08-14-2008, 10:47 AM
Well, depends on the soul, now doesn't it?
Some souls are hardier than others, some are purer. Does Beelezebub prefer minted new, without a scratch on 'em souls or is he less picky? Determining price can be so tricky.

I'd say your run of the mill, ignores some traffic laws, but pays his taxes and doesn't cheat on his wife soul should run you about $10 grand. Why so much? The average American holds about $8 grand on credit cards, so the $10 grand allows that to be paid off, with a bit extra for the wide screen Hi-Def toy he wants.


Women's souls are a different pricing scale altogether. Your average sinning Jane will run you about $12 grand. It's more because they live longer and have better fine motor skills. Don't look at me that way, I don't make these rules up!

Hockey Monkey
08-14-2008, 10:47 AM
I think the quality of the soul in question would affect the pricing significantly.
how old is the soul?
is it a Christian soul, other religion, or Athiest?
male or female soul?
is it vegetarian or meat lovers?
is it previously owned?
can it play the fiddle?



Using the Devil as the ultimate consumer here, I would think that he would value Christian souls over Athiest ones since he's likely to get those anyway. Although ease of soul obtainment would likely also be a factor. It may be fairly easy to get a little old lady soul when she is on a fixed income and needs to buy her meds, and with the Boomer population reaching that age shortly, there may be a glut of available souls on the market.

Winston Smith
08-14-2008, 10:51 AM
You had better check with your lawyers first. I believe that Human Souls™ are a proprietary item, and the User Agreement specifies that they may only be sold, traded or redeemed by and at an Authorised Dealership. Unless you get written permission from The Management prior to engaging in this enterprise, you will be violating said User Agreement and subject to Penalties from said Management.

Technically, I would not actually be taking possession of the soul. Rather, I would be trading on exercising those rights. No conflict.

Annie-Xmas
08-14-2008, 10:55 AM
Bart Simpson sold his soul for $5. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_Sells_His_Soul) Does that help?

Winston Smith
08-14-2008, 10:56 AM
I think the quality of the soul in question would affect the pricing significantly.

Many folks here seem to be under this impression, as well. You are, however, wrong. The value of a soul is not influenced in any way by the actions of it's host. Soul's are very much a cosmic commodity item, not unlike orange juice or pork bellies.

Winston Smith
08-14-2008, 10:57 AM
Bart Simpson sold his soul for $5. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_Sells_His_Soul) Does that help?

That's not really a sustainable price point, and I think at the end of the episode he got it back (and was thus vindicated).

Bosstone
08-14-2008, 11:09 AM
Aside from selling it to the Devil, what are some of the features that will be included in the Human Soul 1.0?

42fish
08-14-2008, 11:42 AM
Many folks here seem to be under this impression, as well. You are, however, wrong. The value of a soul is not influenced in any way by the actions of it's host. Soul's are very much a cosmic commodity item, not unlike orange juice or pork bellies.

Have you considered starting a futures market in souls instead?

Derleth
08-14-2008, 11:50 AM
Without getting into too much detail, my plan is to act as a sort of middleman between Heaven and Hell.Can't you spare me over till another year?

pravnik
08-14-2008, 11:54 AM
I believe the going rate for a human soul is one music lesson.

ArrMatey!
08-14-2008, 11:57 AM
I traded someone their soul for a lava lamp. Not sure what to do with it, really, but I own it now...

eleanorigby
08-14-2008, 12:03 PM
Many folks here seem to be under this impression, as well. You are, however, wrong. The value of a soul is not influenced in any way by the actions of it's host. Soul's are very much a cosmic commodity item, not unlike orange juice or pork bellies.


Ok, if that is true, then so be it. I stand by my price of $10 grand for male souls and $12 for females.

I do have a few questions that may impact on the price:

are these souls the same size (for male and female)?

what is the redistribution model (aka turnover)? Is it LIFO or FIFO?

Where do kids' souls factor in or is that another market altogether.

A sound business plan, Mr Smith, depends on such details.

TroubleAgain
08-14-2008, 12:11 PM
Yeah, like I need *another* useless thing cluttering up my house.

Winston Smith
08-14-2008, 12:36 PM
Ok, if that is true, then so be it. I stand by my price of $10 grand for male souls and $12 for females.

I do have a few questions that may impact on the price:

are these souls the same size (for male and female)?

what is the redistribution model (aka turnover)? Is it LIFO or FIFO?

Where do kids' souls factor in or is that another market altogether.

A sound business plan, Mr Smith, depends on such details.

I assure you I have a sound business plan.

You are still clinging to idea that souls differ meaningfully from one another. This is simply not the case. I will adress your questions, though, in an attempt to disabuse you of these rediculous notions.


Are these souls the same size (for male and female)?

Sould are non-corporeal, so the concept of size simply does not apply. This is a tremendous advantage in regard to storage costs (approximately $0.00)

What is the redistribution model (aka turnover)? Is it LIFO or FIFO?

LIFO/FIFO distribution models do not apply. The very concept is, in fact, completely irrelevent. Think of it this way: Does it matter which dollars you get back from the bank when you withdraw money? Or which dollars you get when you sell stock? A dollar has the exact same value regardless of who holds it in his pocket, and so does a soul.

Where do kids' souls factor in or is that another market altogether.

The age of the soul is not a function of the age of the host (souls are immortal).

I hope this helps.

CutterJohn
08-14-2008, 12:41 PM
We also need some information on what use a soul has. Can it be used to power spells/enchantments/god powers? Or is it more like a knicknack that god figures and voodoo priests collect just for the sake of collecting them, akin to postage stamps.

Acid Lamp
08-14-2008, 01:08 PM
Barring further information, One could assume that a human soul has the monetary value of one Reasonable Wishtm. That is, a wish that the devil might grant without upsetting either the fabric of reality or violating the general order of the world.

For example: The devil could arrange for the death of a rebel leader in a war torn country, but not that of the POTUS. He could arrange for enough wealth to make you independently wealthy by the status of your country, but not simply re-arrange reality to make you bill gates.

By this model, I would estimate the value of a human soul to be around $ 1million USD That is a significant enough amount to ensure financial security if managed properly.

Chessic Sense
08-14-2008, 01:44 PM
Well, I think you have to discount the soul. Otherwise, the devil would just buy it from the person himself. I also think it costs the devil a little more than it costs you to buy it from a person, what with the red horns and pitchfork being a little offputting. So basically, you're charging him to be his agent for soul acquisition. I think the cheapest type of soul the devil could get would be the "I need money for my mom's operation" type. Let's ballpark it at $150k. You, by virtue of being human, could pick up a soul for about as much as a birthright- 1 bowl of soup. So I'd say you'd have to mark it down to about $120k on resale. So your balance sheet should reflect a profit of $119, 999.63 per soul.

Winston Smith
08-14-2008, 02:15 PM
Well, I think you have to discount the soul. Otherwise, the devil would just buy it from the person himself. I also think it costs the devil a little more than it costs you to buy it from a person, what with the red horns and pitchfork being a little offputting. So basically, you're charging him to be his agent for soul acquisition. I think the cheapest type of soul the devil could get would be the "I need money for my mom's operation" type. Let's ballpark it at $150k. You, by virtue of being human, could pick up a soul for about as much as a birthright- 1 bowl of soup. So I'd say you'd have to mark it down to about $120k on resale. So your balance sheet should reflect a profit of $119, 999.63 per soul.

You assume the Devil can just whip out his billfold and pay cash for souls. No so. The Devil gets souls by means of temptation and bargaining, the objective of which is to lead men to sin. The idea of selling one's soul in exchange for wealth, sex or fame is merely allegory for leading men to the sins of greed, lust or pride (respectively).

But I'm not so constrained.

Also, that's Pan with the horns and pitchfork, not the Devil.

Winston Smith
08-14-2008, 02:17 PM
Barring further information, One could assume that a human soul has the monetary value of one Reasonable Wishtm. That is, a wish that the devil might grant without upsetting either the fabric of reality or violating the general order of the world.

For example: The devil could arrange for the death of a rebel leader in a war torn country, but not that of the POTUS. He could arrange for enough wealth to make you independently wealthy by the status of your country, but not simply re-arrange reality to make you bill gates.

By this model, I would estimate the value of a human soul to be around $ 1million USD That is a significant enough amount to ensure financial security if managed properly.

Would you pay $1 mil. dollars for a soul? Most of us don't happen to have that much cash lying around, and banks don't typically issue unsecured loans in that amount. I'm afraid you're not being very realistic.

Q.E.D.
08-14-2008, 02:21 PM
Do you take bits of string?

Winston Smith
08-14-2008, 02:27 PM
We also need some information on what use a soul has. Can it be used to power spells/enchantments/god powers? Or is it more like a knicknack that god figures and voodoo priests collect just for the sake of collecting them, akin to postage stamps.

Sorry, what you choose to do with it is entirely up to you.

Winston Smith
08-14-2008, 02:36 PM
Do you take bits of string?

If they're wrapped around a big bundle of money, I do.

Quartz
08-14-2008, 03:12 PM
Of course, dealing in souls is a fundamentally evil act in itself, so I wouldn't pay anything - I'd step away from the deal.

Acid Lamp
08-14-2008, 03:30 PM
Would you pay $1 mil. dollars for a soul? Most of us don't happen to have that much cash lying around, and banks don't typically issue unsecured loans in that amount. I'm afraid you're not being very realistic.

Of course I wouldn't pay anywhere near that much. However, since the devil values souls highly enough to bargain for them in the form of wishes, It is a reasonable baseline. Now, knowing that a soul has an inherent value of a reasonable wish, I would probably take advantage of my insider knowledge and fleece the disbelieving public into selling me their souls for $1000.00 each. It would be easy to find a stream of people willing to sign their soul over for what they would perceive as "free" money.

Acid Lamp
08-14-2008, 03:33 PM
Of course, dealing in souls is a fundamentally evil act in itself, so I wouldn't pay anything - I'd step away from the deal.

Why not? according the OP the devil doesn't care which souls he acquires, so you could sell him one of your surplus for a "get out of hell free card". Assuming you repent before you die, most Christian religions would consider you good with the big guy upstairs. Even if you didn't chances are that the devil would reward you for doing his work, with a lake of fire-side resort mansion, and many succubi or inccubi to help while away eternity in style.

Bryan Ekers
08-14-2008, 03:44 PM
Yeah, like I need *another* useless thing cluttering up my house.
Well, if you need to save space, you could fillet it.

Stealth Potato
08-14-2008, 03:55 PM
My biggest question: about how hard would it be to gussy up hog souls to traffic them as human? I happen to have a steeply discounted high-volume source, and I'm thinking there's profit to be made for a sufficiently unscrupulous graftsman.

Winston Smith
08-14-2008, 04:07 PM
Of course I wouldn't pay anywhere near that much. However, since the devil values souls highly enough to bargain for them in the form of wishes, It is a reasonable baseline. Now, knowing that a soul has an inherent value of a reasonable wish, I would probably take advantage of my insider knowledge and fleece the disbelieving public into selling me their souls for $1000.00 each. It would be easy to find a stream of people willing to sign their soul over for what they would perceive as "free" money.

Ah, but the Devil doesn't place as high a value on souls as you would think. The Devil's objective is getting us to sin, not to win souls. The only value a human sould has to the Devil is that the Man Upstairs doesn't get it (and of course the satisfaction of a job well done).

Winston Smith
08-14-2008, 04:13 PM
My biggest question: about how hard would it be to gussy up hog souls to traffic them as human? I happen to have a steeply discounted high-volume source, and I'm thinking there's profit to be made for a sufficiently unscrupulous graftsman.

Impossibly difficult. You know how coupons sometimes have a disclaimer that says "Actual cash value 1/40 of one cent"? It's kind of like that with animals' souls. This is because animals are creatures of instinct and lack a sophisticated intellect. A soul is more about the dynamic potential of choice between good and evil than it is about the choice between chewing cud in the sun or shade.

eleanorigby
08-14-2008, 04:21 PM
I assure you I have a sound business plan.

You are still clinging to idea that souls differ meaningfully from one another. This is simply not the case. I will adress your questions, though, in an attempt to disabuse you of these rediculous notions.


Are these souls the same size (for male and female)?

Sould are non-corporeal, so the concept of size simply does not apply. This is a tremendous advantage in regard to storage costs (approximately $0.00)

What is the redistribution model (aka turnover)? Is it LIFO or FIFO?

LIFO/FIFO distribution models do not apply. The very concept is, in fact, completely irrelevent. Think of it this way: Does it matter which dollars you get back from the bank when you withdraw money? Or which dollars you get when you sell stock? A dollar has the exact same value regardless of who holds it in his pocket, and so does a soul.

Where do kids' souls factor in or is that another market altogether.

The age of the soul is not a function of the age of the host (souls are immortal).

I hope this helps.


<dazzled by business acumen of Winny>

Name your price, sir!

THespos
08-14-2008, 04:23 PM
Does it matter where you put the price point? You're not going to be able to compete with the likes of eBay, which has better distribution than you can hope to achieve.

All they have to do is create a human souls category and you're done. Fini. History.

Your SBA officer would be insane to give you a loan on this one.

Sigmagirl
08-14-2008, 04:24 PM
Originally posted by Winston Smith
Impossibly difficult. You know how coupons sometimes have a disclaimer that says "Actual cash value 1/40 of one cent"? It's kind of like that with animals' souls. This is because animals are creatures of instinct and lack a sophisticated intellect. A soul is more about the dynamic potential of choice between good and evil than it is about the choice between chewing cud in the sun or shade.Disagree. The soul of my dog is of such greater worth than the soul of -- well, of my soul -- that Satan can only stand sadly by and weep while Heaven is populated with the spirits of Sparkies, Gidgets, and Sassies gone before.

Freudian Slit
08-14-2008, 04:24 PM
Nothing. Now, monkey souls, that's where it's at. Or dogs, they are so much more soulful than us--just look at a puppy's eyes!

mr. jp
08-14-2008, 06:59 PM
I have bought a friends soul for a slice of pizza

Jragon
08-14-2008, 08:21 PM
I dunno, let's talk over a game of assumption (http://sff.net/people/lucy-snyder/brain/2005/12/playing-poker-with-tarot-cards.html).


I'm sure we can think something up!

I don't know what to do with all the ones I already have though, I have a nasty habit of opening my pocket watch and collecting people's souls ((OOC: No, really, I do this all the time in front of people)).

Really the value has gone down, what with the laws making it somewhat difficult due to the recent banning on interplanar soul-powered summon lines without prior court approval and good homunculus rituals being heard on a case-by-case basis. With all the red tape there's not really much of a market any more. I'd say about 3 medium rubies and an emerald? And even that's a bit generous.

CandidGamera
08-15-2008, 08:44 AM
I once bought a soul for $1.75. Agnostics are a good value!

Winston Smith
08-15-2008, 12:02 PM
Does it matter where you put the price point? You're not going to be able to compete with the likes of eBay, which has better distribution than you can hope to achieve.

All they have to do is create a human souls category and you're done. Fini. History.

Your SBA officer would be insane to give you a loan on this one.

Pfft. She'd be insane not to. The distributed nature of Ebay suppliers makes their entry into this market infeasible. The three key elements to successful operation of a Soul Mongering venture are personalized service, centralization of operations and strong core values (all of which are sorely lacking at eBay & thier ilk).

If successful men listed to all the folks that told them their ideas weren't going to work, we'd all still be driving around in foot-powered cars like Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble.

The Great Sun Jester
08-15-2008, 02:37 PM
I have nothing useful to add, I just wanted to say the Winston is my hero today.

Darth Sensitive
08-15-2008, 02:46 PM
I would try to price yourself at a sustainable point just above these guys (http://wewantyoursoul.com/index.php). The quotes on the website aren't working, so you may need to do a little digging.

TroubleAgain
08-15-2008, 07:32 PM
Well, if you need to save space, you could fillet it.


Mmmmmm. Fillet of soul. :cool:

Der Trihs
08-15-2008, 08:42 PM
Using the Devil as the ultimate consumer here, I would think that he would value Christian souls over Athiest ones since he's likely to get those anyway. No, no, the last thing that either the Devil OR God wants are atheist souls ! As anyone who's read fantasy knows, gods and godlike entities gain power from belief, which of course means that atheism weakens them. So naturally, both God and the Devil have spent a lot of effort playing hot potato tossing atheist souls at each other. As I understand it, they finally dumped all the atheists on the Norse gods; almost no one believes in them anyway, and both they AND the atheists are too drunk to care.

mswas
08-15-2008, 08:47 PM
Somehow I think there is a flaw in your marketing strategy. There strikes me as something inherently diabolical about consigning someone else's soul to Hell, whereas they were already going to Hell because they already sold you their soul, but you'll go to hell too for participating in their damnation.

Dunno, sounds like a losing proposition to me. I'll give you a nickle for every soul you don't want and see if I can put a good word for them in with the big guy upstairs.

Jragon
08-16-2008, 12:26 AM
No, no, the last thing that either the Devil OR God wants are atheist souls ! As anyone who's read fantasy knows, gods and godlike entities gain power from belief, which of course means that atheism weakens them. So naturally, both God and the Devil have spent a lot of effort playing hot potato tossing atheist souls at each other. As I understand it, they finally dumped all the atheists on the Norse gods; almost no one believes in them anyway, and both they AND the atheists are too drunk to care.
READ MOAR D&D that is. They won't have to worry about the atheists (or anyone worshiping an "overgod" who doesn't care about us and delegates everything to lesser gods and spirits for that matter) taking them down, they'll all just get condensed into a "wall of the faithless," around one of the many celestial "heaven-like" cities.

Given that the Judeochristian God may or may not fit the overgod description, it's almost a coin toss over the percentage of the world going into the wall.

Half Man Half Wit
08-16-2008, 04:15 AM
I once bought a mate's soul for a beer.
So now, as actual data points, we have:

One beer
$1.75 (presumably USD)
One slice of pizza
A lava lamp

Granted, deriving a precise monetary value from this short list seems difficult at best -- a beer, at the right moment, can be pretty much invaluable, and while most pizza tends to be in a similar monetary price range, the difference in spiritual value between a supermarket bought deep-frozen preservative pie and a finely hand-crafted Italian piece of pie-art is damn nigh infinite (some say even a bit more) -- but still, as a rough guesstimate, you're probably looking at something in the low tens of dollars, I'm sorry to say (and whoever traded his lava lamp probably still got screwed).

Jragon
08-16-2008, 05:41 AM
I once bought a mate's soul for a beer.
So now, as actual data points, we have:

One beer
$1.75 (presumably USD)
One slice of pizza
A lava lamp

Granted, deriving a precise monetary value from this short list seems difficult at best -- a beer, at the right moment, can be pretty much invaluable, and while most pizza tends to be in a similar monetary price range, the difference in spiritual value between a supermarket bought deep-frozen preservative pie and a finely hand-crafted Italian piece of pie-art is damn nigh infinite (some say even a bit more) -- but still, as a rough guesstimate, you're probably looking at something in the low tens of dollars, I'm sorry to say (and whoever traded his lava lamp probably still got screwed).
You forgot my 3 medium sized rubies and an emerald!? At least my invisibility potion is working (or it wasn't considered a data point)... :p

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