"You can shear a sheep many times, but you can only skin him once" - what does that even mean?

I get it, it's supposed to be a piece of wisdom advice, but how do you apply this to something in real life? What's a scenario that has this kind of dilemma?

I already get the point of shearing the sheep, his hair growing back, shearing the sheep, hair growing back, etc, and skinning him kills him, but what relevance does this analogy or whatever you wanna call it have?

8 Answers

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  • 9 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Common sense... if you use something sensibly and renewably it lasts. If you use it destructively it doesn't. Another analogy... if you have a chicken and you eat eggs you can have lots of eggs for a long time. If you have a roast chicken, that's it, one roast chicken and no more eggs.

  • 4 years ago

    Shear A Sheep Many Times

  • 6 years ago

    As a poker reference I've always heard that you shouldn't try make a man go broke by taking everything all at once. Shear off small amounts and the player will keep coming back. This usually refers to weak players with more money than they know what to do with. It's important to keep them happy even when they are losing. Don't just go for the throat because the player will feel scared to play.

  • Maria
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    Never sheared a sheep but last time I milked a cow was probably in the 60's at a commune.

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  • 6 years ago

    It can be used by businesses when dealing with customer service.

    I have a real world example. We were basically nickled-and-dimed by Dollar Rent A Car on various issues and they wouldn't budge on refunding money. I won't be going back to Dollar ever because I feel like I was taken advantage of. Did they get more money from me than I had originally bargained on? Yes. Will they get any more from me? No.

    I feel like they "skinned" me.

  • 4 years ago

    I heard this from a customer of mine when I first started trading Agricultural commodities in 1980. I always thought it was fairly straightforward, and I must have used this expression 100 times in my career.

    The point is this..... You should be honest in your dealings with people, and you will be rewarded fairly. If you take advantage of someone (skin him), then you will have lost him as a customer.

  • 9 years ago

    Here's a 420 analogy: You can harvest multiple buds or smoke the whole bush at once.

  • 9 years ago

    What I had known is:

    You can insult a person many times but you can kill him / her only once.

    As insult too is kind of killing, but it kills soul rather than body.

    This is what i know.

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