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24 February 2010
His plate was piled high with brisket and sausage, as it is every year when he discusses the economy and corporate strategy with fellow high-fliers at the meeting that has become an annual tradition. But for the 2010 confab, observant followers noted that the "Oracle of Omaha" ladled Asian sesame dressing on his salad instead of his traditional Thousand Islands dressing.
Cell-phones in the room went viral as the tip spread. Before the dinner had even finished, Asian sesame dressing surged in price at Wal-mart stores across America, while Thousand Islands fell below the psychologically significant $2 mark for a 16-ounce bottle. Sycophants who came to the steakhouse to pick Buffett's brain also picked his dressing, draining several bottles at the salad bar. Reserves were brought out from the kitchen, but many late to the salad bar had to bargain-hunt for the Thousand Islands, and several were stuck putting Ranch on their lettuce.
Buffett is chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, which he has shrewdly transformed from a maker of buggy whips into a conglomerate valued at over $170 billion. Buffett did not disclose the significance of his change in salad dressing, nor indicate whether additional changes were in the works. However, several senior Berkshire executives in attendance assumed the worst and texted their resumés during the dinner.
Buffett favors stocks of companies that he believes have long-term advantages over competitors. His arrival on the scene came at a time when conventional wisdom was instead to invest in companies that were inept and hated. Buffett is called a contrarian. "I buy when other people are selling, and vice versa. I buck trends and go my own way," he told UnNews. Several attendees overheard this remark and gave Buffett a standing ovation lasting four minutes.
- Tom Cahill "Buffett Covers Dinner Tab for Fund Manager Who Shared Research." Bloomberg, February 12, 2010