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The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

My first post on the new web-site, and all I want to do is to re-instate the long-lost Ferengi Rules of Acquisition that featured on the old Colours web-site. So here they are.

I have realised, after several years, that the photo above actually has significance to the products that Colours manufactures. It is a bound copy of the Ferengi rules of Acquisition, complete with a hand-carved wooden cover and all 285 rules printed in a Ferengi typeface. It fetched over $2,500 USD on Etsy in 2010.

As a Star Trek aficionado, I enjoy many of the tongue-in-cheek one-liners that appear frequently in the series. None more so than those of the Ferengi – the trader nation of aliens with huge ear lobes and eyebrow ridges, large, lumpy-looking heads and yellow blood.

The Ferengi are greedy, avaricious, ruthless, cowardly and completely unscrupulous. For centuries the famous Ferengi Rules of Acquisition have been the guiding principles of the galaxy’s most successful entrepreneurs.

To lighten up our daily lives, especially those moments when we have to deal with money, I chose to perpetuate (or should it be predict?) their words of wisdom by including one of the “Ferengi Rules of Acquisition” on Colours invoices – and changing them regularly. For those who have missed out on receiving one of our invoices, or for those who are not up-to-date with Ferengi lore, we herewith include the following information:

The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition are a series of 285 aphorisms, guidelines, and principles that are the foundation of business philosophy in Ferengi culture.

According to legend, Gint, the first Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance, coined the first Rule, remembered as #162. (The legend further states that Gint numbered the Rule as the 162nd in order to create demand for the first 161. Some Federation cultural historians are dubious as to the validity of this claim.)

The number of rules has grown considerably since their introduction. In 2151, there were only 187 rules.

There was also a short-lived revised edition of the Rules written by Grand Nagus Zek after having his state of mind changed by the Bajoran Prophets. These rules were almost complete opposites of the original rules and promoted honesty and charity. After Zek recovered, he ordered all copies of the new rules to be destroyed. (DS9: “Prophet Motive”)

The following is a list of the Rules known to the Federation:

1 Once you have their money, you never give it back. “The Nagus”, “Heart of Stone” (DS9)

2 The best deal is the one that makes the most profit. “The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition” (book)

3 Never pay more for an acquisition than you have to. “The Maquis, Part II” (DS9)

4 A woman wearing clothes is like a man in the kitchen. “The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition” (book)

6 Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity. As late as 2151 the rule was quoted as being slightly different. “Never allow family to stand in the way of profit” (where profit replaces opportunity). “Acquisition” (ENT), “The Nagus” (DS9)

7 Keep your ears open. “In the Hands of the Prophets” (DS9)

8 Small print leads to large risk. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

9 Opportunity plus instinct equals profit. “The Storyteller” (DS9)

10 Greed is eternal. “Prophet Motive” (DS9), “False Profits” (VOY)

11 Even if it’s free, you can always buy it cheaper. “The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition” (book)

12 Anything worth selling is worth selling twice. “The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition” (book)

13 Anything worth doing is worth doing for money. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

16 A deal is a deal. “Melora” (DS9)

17 A contract is a contract is a contract… but only between Ferengi. “Body Parts” (DS9)

18 A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all. “Heart of Stone” (DS9)

19 Satisfaction is not guaranteed. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

21 Never place friendship above profit. “Rules of Acquisition” (DS9)

22 A wise man can hear profit in the wind. “Rules of Acquisition” (DS9)

23 Nothing is more important than your health… except for your money. “Acquisition” (ENT)

27 There is nothing more dangerous than an honest businessman. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

28 Whisper your way to success. “Treachery, Faith, and the Great River” (DS9)

31 Never make fun of a Ferengi’s mother. “Legends of the Ferengi’’ concludes Rule #31 with “…insult something he cares about instead.” “The Siege” (DS9)

33 It never hurts to suck up to the boss. Brunt stated a variation of this Rule (without referring to it by number) with: “It’s never too early to suck up to the boss”. “Rules of Acquisition”, “The Dogs of War” (DS9)

34 War is good for business. “Destiny” (DS9); “The Siege of AR-558” (DS9)

35 Peace is good for business. Although spoken before the production staff’s creation of the Rules of Acquisition, Par Lenor stated something quite similar to this rule: “Peace is good for trade… unless you happen to be an arms merchant!” “The Perfect Mate” (TNG); “Destiny” (DS9)

40 She can touch your lobes, but never your latinum. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

41 Profit is its own reward. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

44 Never confuse wisdom with luck. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

45 Expand or die. Rule of Acquisition #95 was quoted as Rule #45 in “Acquisition” (ENT). It might be possible though, that in the roughly 200 years between the two episodes, the arrangement of the Rules of Acquisition slightly changed. Alternatively, it may have been decided that the rule bears repeating. “Acquisition” (ENT)

47 Never trust a man wearing a better suit than your own. “Rivals” (DS9)

48 The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife. “Rules of Acquisition” (DS9)

52 Never ask when you can take. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

57 Good customers are as rare as latinum. Treasure them. “Armageddon Game” (DS9)

58 There is no substitute for success. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

59 Free advice is seldom cheap. “Rules of Acquisition” (DS9)

60 Keep your lies consistent. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

62 The riskier the road, the greater the profit. “Rules of Acquisition” (DS9)

65 Win or lose, there’s always Hupyrian beetle snuff. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

74 Knowledge equals profit. “Inside Man” (VOY)

75 Home is where the heart is, but the stars are made of latinum. “Civil Defense” (DS9)

76 Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies. “The Homecoming” (DS9)

79 Beware of the Vulcan greed for knowledge. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

82 The flimsier the product, the higher the price. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

85 Never let the competition know what you’re thinking. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

89 Ask not what your profits can do for you, but what you can do for your profits. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

94 Females and finances don’t mix. “Ferengi Love Songs” (DS9)

95 Expand or die. “False Profits” (VOY); “Acquisition” (ENT)

97 Enough… is never enough. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

98 Every man has his price. “In the Pale Moonlight” (DS9)

99 Trust is the biggest liability of all. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

102 Nature decays, but latinum lasts forever. “The Jem’Hadar” (DS9)

103 Sleep can interfere with your lust for latinum. This rule was interrupted before it could be finished. Some say it ends like it says here, but some say it ends with “opportunity”. “Rules of Acquisition (episode)|Rules of Acquisition” (DS9)

104 Faith moves mountains… of inventory. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

106 There is no honor in poverty. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

109 Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack. “Rivals” (DS9)

111 Treat people in your debt like family… exploit them. “Past Tense, Part I”, “The Darkness and the Light” (DS9)

112 Never have sex with the boss’s sister. “Playing God” (DS9) 113 Always have sex with the boss. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

121 Everything is for sale, even friendship. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

123 Even a blind man can recognize the glow of latinum. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

125 You can’t make a deal if you’re dead. “The Siege of AR-558” (DS9)

139 Wives serve, brothers inherit. “Necessary Evil” (DS9)

141 Only fools pay retail. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

142 Only fools sell wholesale. (See Rule #141)

144 There’s nothing wrong with charity… as long as it winds up in your pocket. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

162 Even in the worst of times, someone turns a profit. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

168 Whisper your way to success. “Treachery, Faith, and the Great River” (DS9)

177 Know your enemies… but do business with them always. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

181 Not even dishonesty can tarnish the shine of profit. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

189 Let others keep their reputation. You keep their latinum. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

190 Hear all, trust nothing. “Call to Arms” (DS9)

192 Never cheat a Klingon… unless you can get away with it. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

194 It’s always good to know about new customers before they walk in your door. “Whispers” (DS9)

202 The justification for profit is profit. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

203 New customers are like razor-toothed gree worms. They can be succulent, but sometimes they bite back. “Little Green Men” (DS9)

208 Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. “Ferengi Love Songs” (DS9)

211 Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don’t hesitate to step on them. “Bar Association” (DS9)

214 Never begin a negotiation on an empty stomach. “The Maquis, Part I” (DS9)

217 You can’t free a fish from water. “Past Tense, Part I” (DS9)

218 Always know what you’re buying. ‘’Legends of the Ferengi’’

223 Beware the man who doesn’t make time for “oo-mox’’. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

229 Latinum lasts longer than lust. “Ferengi Love Songs” (DS9)

236 You can’t buy fate. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

239 Never be afraid to mislabel a product. “Body Parts” (DS9)

242 More is good. All is better. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

255 A wife is a luxury… a smart accountant a necessity. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

261 A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

263 Never let doubt interfere with your lust for latinum. “Bar Association” (DS9)

266 When in doubt, lie. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

284 Deep down, everyone’s a Ferengi. “Legends of the Ferengi’’

285 No good deed ever goes unpunished. “The Collaborator” (DS9) Unofficial Rules The unofficial Rules have been quoted on screen, but either were not given a number, not explicitly stated to be a Rule, or were not part of the generally-accepted canon by the Ferengi Commerce Authority.

286 When Morn leaves, it’s all over. “The House of Quark” (DS9)

299 After you’ve exploited someone, it never hurts to thank them. That way, it’s easier to exploit them next time. May be a purely fictional rule, as it was quoted by Neelix, who had no previous contact with Ferengi, and it did not exist by the time the target Ferengi became stranded in the Delta Quadrant “False Profits” (VOY)

Exploitation begins at home. “False Profits” (VOY) (The unwritten rule)

When no appropriate rule applies, make one up. “False Profits” (VOY)

When the messenger comes to appropriate your profits… kill the messenger. “False Profits” (VOY)

Time, like latinum, is a highly limited commodity. “Bar Association” (DS9)

Always inspect the merchandise before making a deal. Not quoted word for word, but when Sisko asks if such a rule exists, Quark acknowledges that there is. “The Abandoned” (DS9)

Money is money, but females are better. A personal rule quoted by Nog. “Life Support” (DS9)


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