I noticed a new trend on my local news channel when it comes to reporting the weather. The weather person now gives an estimated number of people affected by whatever weather phenomena they are reporting on.

For example, the Midwest is sometimes under tornado warnings when a line of heavy thunderstorms rolls through the area. The weather person reports it as, “This line of thunderstorms may spawn some tornados. There are 20 million people in the path of this storm.”

They do it for shock effect. The average person is going to think, “My goodness! Twenty million people! I had better stay glued to my TV. I want to be the first to see the devastation as these storms clobber Kansas!”

Technically speaking, the weather person is correct. If you assume the storm is as wide as possible, zigs and zags an impossible pattern around the areas with the most population, then yes, the storm may affect 20 million people. The reality is that the storm is much narrower and skirts around less populated areas. If a tornado touches down, it does so in a remote area as it rumbles through a field and tears up some trees. Maybe an outhouse is blown over. There is minimal damage and no one injured.

Philately could benefit by playing this numbers game too.

Think of the 2015 sale of the British Guiana 1˘ Magenta. News reports should have read something like this: “Twenty million collectors interested in bidding on the world’s rarest stamp.” Technically, every stamp collector alive would probably like to bid on that stamp. The reality is that there are about two dozen people in the world who have an interest in stamps and they also have $9.5 million to spend on this single item.

Enough rambling. I have to finish this pricelist. There are 20 million collectors out there that may be anxiously awaiting my current list.