Neight Agort Reeights Ahalf
Cranky, you ask, what was the most difficult thing about working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange?
As ridiculous as it might seem the hardest thing about floor trading was knowing immediately without any pause, which was higher, 3/8 or 1/2.
When I was on the floor everything traded in eighths. Later trading was in pennies. Now I am not a dope, I know that 3/8 is smaller than 1/2, but in an environment where everything is shouted out and speed is of the essence it is easy to get confused at which fraction is highest…ok, maybe I am a dope, because it was difficult for me.
Making it even more difficult was in learning how traders called out their bids or offers. If you asked for how a stock (or bond) was quoted they would not say,
“Ibm is bid at 101 and three eighths and offered at 101 and one half.”
They would yell,
“1 n reeights ahalf.”
In trader speak, one eighth was neight, one quarter was agort, three eights was reeights, one half was ahalf…fieights, regorts, seneights finished the string.
My first day on the floor the fractions killed me. The delay in my interpretation made me look and feel like a complete idiot.
On my way home after that day I repeated in my head over and over:
“Neight agort reeights ahalf fieights regorts seneights one.” Then I worked backwards:
“One seneights regorts fieights ahalf reeights agort neight none.”
I repeated this over and over, up and down the scale until I could recite it all in less than three (re) seconds. I never had a problem with quotes again.
I can still recite it today, but I do slow down a bit going from seneights to none.