Continuing on about the reality TV show and how every episode has some drama around it, itís easy to see that many of these reality shows are anything but reality. Almost everything is scripted for drama. You have to keep the audience on the edge of their seat and wanting more.

Itís amazing that almost every house they buy, there is some major surprise that they didnít see coming: the wiring is bad, the roof leaks, or the plumbing does not work. Episode after episode, they work through it and come out smelling like a rose in the end and generate a profit on the sale of the house despite the unexpected remodeling costs.

The point is that most surprises are bad, no matter what business you are in. Philately is no different.

For example, with the Flip or Flop TV show, you cannot convince me that all of these major repairs that spring out of nowhere are unplanned. If your job is flipping houses, you had better be very sure of what you are getting into.

Itís one thing to replace a roof and unexpectedly have a couple sheets of rotted plywood that need to be replaced. Minor things like that which are $50 here and $100 there are normal on house renovations. Personally, Iím not buying it when the wiring is old and it is $7000 to rewire the whole house. If you are into flipping houses and you didnít see that coming, youíre probably going to be out of business very soon. An occasional big surprise isnít ideal, but it happens. But not episode after episode on a reality TV show.

Stamp dealing is the same way. Buying a collection and finding out later that many of the best stamps are fakes, reperforated, or regummed copies is not something you want to have happen to you. You cannot pay big bucks for items and find out that many of them (or all of them) are worth but a fraction of what you paid. An error of that magnitude is disastrous for any business.

I have made my share of mistakes over the years and had a few surprises. Obviously, none of them bankrupt me. I would be happier and better off financially if none of those mistakes happened. The good news is that I learn from my mistakes and try hard to not make the same mistake twice.