Rules of Acquisition

A post about Star Trek: Enterprise over at S-Train Canvass reminded me that I’ve been meaning to do this post of the Ferengi’s Rules of Acquisition. Enterprise has gotten better this season but it still can’t compete with Deep Space 9 (DS9) or The Next Generation. The best things about DS9 were that Avery Brooks was running things, and the Ferengi & their Rules of Acquisition, which governed their planet. The Ferengi were all about profit, and me being a trader… well, let’s just say that I could relate. They would reveal some of the rules throughout the series, which usually provided great comic relief. At some point I decided to write them down, adding to a list I found on some old message board. Here’s my relatively complete list with some of my favorites in bold:

1. Once you have their money…you never give it back.
2. You can’t cheat an honest customer, but it never hurts to try.
3. Never pay more for an acquisition than you have to.
4. Sex and profit are the two things that never last long enough.
5. If you can’t break a contract, bend it.
6. Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity.
7. Always keep your ears open.
8. Small print leads to large risk.
9. Opportunity plus instinct equals profit.
10. Greed is eternal.
11. Latinum isn’t the only thing that shines.
12. Anything worth selling is worth selling twice.
13. Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.
14. Anything stolen is pure profit.
15. Acting stupid is often smart.
16. A deal is a deal…until a better one comes along.
17. A bargain usually isn’t.
18. A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.
19. Satisfaction is not guaranteed.
20. When the customer is sweating, turn up the heat.
21. Never place friendship above profit.
22. A wise man can hear profit in the wind.
23. Money can never replace dignity.
23(?). (revealed on Enterprise) Nothing is more important than your health, except for your money.
25. There’s always a way out.
26. As the customers go, so goes the wise profiteer.
27. There’s nothing more dangerous than an honest businessman.
30. Talk is cheap; synthehol costs money.
31. Never make fun of a Ferengi’s mother…insult something he cares about instead.
32. Be careful what you sell. It may do exactly what the customer expects.
33. It never hurts to suck up to the boss.
34. Peace is good for business.
35. War is good for business.
39. Friendship is temporary; profit is forever.
40. She can touch your lobes but never your latinum.
41. Profit is its own reward.
42. What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine too.
43. Caressing an ear is often more forceful than pointing a weapon.
44. Never confuse wisdom with luck.
45. Expand or die.
46. Make your shop easy to find.
47. Don’t trust a man wearing a better suit than your own.
48. The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.
50. Gratitude can bring on generosity.
52. Never ask when you can take.
57. Good customers are as rare as latinum–treasure them.
58. There is no substitute for success.
59. Free advice is seldom cheap.
60. Keep your lies consistent.
61. Never buy what can be stolen.
62. The riskier the road, the greater the profit.
65. Win or lose, there’s always Huyperian beetle snuff.
68. Ear stroking will get you anything.
69. Ferengi are not responsible for the stupidity of other races.
70. Get the money first, then let the buyers worry about collecting the merchandise.
72. Never trust your customers.
73. If it gets you profit, sell your own mother.
75. Home is where the heart is…but the stars are made of latinum.
76. Every once in a while declare peace–it confuses the hell out of your enemies.
79. Beware of the Vulcan greed for knowledge.
82. The flimsier the product, the higher the price.
85. Never let the competition know what you’re thinking.
89. Ask not what your profits can do for you, but ask what you can do for your profits.
94. Females and finances don’t mix.
97. Enough … is never enough.
98. Act without delay! The sharp knife cuts quickly.
99. Trust is the biggest liability of all.
101. The only value of a collectible is what you can get somebody else to pay for it.
102. Nature decays, but latinum lasts forever.
103. Sleep can interfere with opportunity.
104. Faith moves mountains … of inventory.
106. There is no honor in poverty.
109. Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack.
111. Treat people in your debt like family … exploit them.
112. Never have sex with the boss’ sister.
113. Always have sex with the boss.
116. There’s always a catch.
117. You can’t free a fish from water.
119. Never judge a customer by the size of his wallet.
121. Everything is for sale, even friendship.
123. Even a blind man can recognize the glow of latinum.
125. Count it.
135. Never trust a beneficiary.
139. Wives serve, brothers inherit.
141. Only fools pay retail.
144. There’s nothing wrong with charity … as long as it winds up in your pocket.
146. Necessity is the mother of invention. Profit is it’s father.
151. Sometimes, what you get free costs entirely too much – truer words have never been said!
153. Sell the sizzle, not the steak.
162. Even in the worst of times, someone turns a profit.
169. Competition and fair play are mutually exclusive.
172. If you can sell it, don’t hesitate to steal it.
177. Know your enemies … but do business with them always.
181. Not even dishonesty can tarnish the shine of profit.
189. Let others keep their reputation. You keep their money.
191. A Ferengi waits to bid until his opponents have exhausted themselves.
192. Never cheat a Klingon … unless you’re sure you can get away with it.
194. It’s always good business to know about new customers before they walk in your door.
200. If you’re going to have to endure, make yourself comfortable.
202. The justification of profit is profit.
203. New customers are like razor-backed Greeworms–They can be succulent, but sometimes they bite back!
211. Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don’t hesitate to step on them.
212. Never give away for free what can be sold.
213. Stay neutral in conflicts so that you can sell supplies to both sides
214. Never begin a business negotiation on an empty stomach.
216. Never gamble with an empath.
217. Sometimes what you get free costs entirely too much.
218. Always know what you’re buying.
223. Beware the man who doesn’t make time for oo-mox.
229. Latinum lasts longer than lust.
236. You can’t buy fate.
239. Never be afraid to mislabel a product.
242. More is good … all is better.
245. A warranty is valid only, if they can find you
255. A wife is a luxury … a smart accountant a necessity.
261. A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience.
263. Never allow doubt to tarnish your lust for latinum.
265. The customer is always right …until you get their cash.
266. When in doubt, lie.
284. Deep down everyone’s a Ferengi.
285. No good deed ever goes unpunished.
?. (from Enterprise) – A man is only worth the sum of his possessions.

Hmm, after doing a Google search for the complete rules, I see that there are some slightly different, and more complete lists than mine. And there’s even a book out. Oh well, I’m sticking with mine for now.

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  • This is a priceless list—I’m amazed that you managed to get all those down. Of course, I wonder how well some of these rules would work in the “real” world. I imagine that those who did business with the Ferengi once wouldn’t be inclined to do it twice.

  • i’ve tried my hardest to really get into enterprise, but i just can’t get passed the fact that their doodads are much cooler and better than the original star trek. the command center especially made to track that new enemy is straight out of the astrometrics lab from voyager. there was nothing like it on kirk’s enterprises. i want some consistency.

  • I would expected you to list these on you trading site. 😉

  • Some of these are paraphrases of things I heard my grandfather say dozens of times before he passed, like #151, “Sometimes you can’t afford to be cheap.” My mom says, “Good looks and a token will get you on the bus,” which is a lot like #109.

    Maybe I’m from a family of Ferengis? Wait, #284 says “deep down, everyone’s a Ferengi.” Well, that would explain a lot… Just leave my lobes alone.