Simplifying the silly city-slicker slang

If you think FTSE is an inappropriate dinner-time activity, you could do with reading this.

If you think FTSE is an inappropriate dinner-time activity, Bulge Bracket is a slimming aid, Hedge Funds is the money you owe the gardener, and Counterparty is an amateur Tiddlywinks competition, then you could really do with reading this.

If our ignorant game of word-association has hit a nerve (or including but not limited to a derivative of a nerve) then you're reading the wrong newspaper; the one you want is pink and too big to handle comfortably on a train.

This week, Chroniclers, we'll be learning about coffee as a commodity.

We'll also attempt to simplify the silly city-slicker slang they insist on using in order to entrench their elitism.

A commodity is the term used for any basic good exchanged in commerce. It's a thing that's bought or sold. The expensively-suited types in London buy and sell commodities like crude oil, gold, natural gas, and coffee.

All commodities have a ticker symbol. This tells the boys in suits - and maybe a token woman or two - the company who owns the stock, the volume of shares, the price per share, a little triangle to show either an increase or decrease from yesterday's share value, and a number to establish how much higher or lower the value has travelled. It's called a ticker because, although it's now electronic, it used to be a ticking ticketing tickertape-type toy.

If one wished to purchase stock and one had at their disposal a contact within the inner sanctum of the glass-walled cityscape employers' paradise with more than 100,000 pencil-pushers and 14,000,000 square feet of office space (Canary Wharf), then bully for you.

But you'd best know your options. Literally.

Options give the buyer the right to buy. Futures actually oblige the buyer to buy. You could have a coffee futures contract, or coffee options, or you could just admit that you don't know what you're on about, go home, and put the kettle on.

Coffee is measured in troy ounces. Not by us. In fact, not by anyone except the suits. Troy is a measure of weight dating back to the Middle Ages. Sadly, there's no Trojan Horse in sight, no face that launched a thousand ships, no mythological tale of triumph. It's named after Troyes in France. It's a neat example of their archaic language, superannuated customs, and antediluvian antics. You don't need a thesaurus to work there, but it helps.

Kraft, Nestlé, Proctor and Gamble, and Sara Lee own more than half of all the Robusta shares in existence. But, just like when we acquire knowledge of any aspect of the trading floor, we always find ourselves thinking the same thought: so what?