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June 15th, 2009:

Retail and Political Haggling – why not?

On the political stage

Just noticed that Iggy has laid down some conditions that the Harperites will have to meet in order to avoid a no-confidence motion and a summer election.

According to Ignatieff, the government must meet the following four conditions:

  • Provide more details about improving the employment insurance system before the House of Commons votes on budget estimates at the end of the week. The government has said it will introduce unspecified new EI proposals in the fall.
  • Give more information about the rate of stimulus spending than included in last Thursday’s progress report.
  • Show more details on the government’s plan to contain the ballooning deficit, instead of offering what Ignatieff called “rosy projections.”
  • Provide clearer answers on the government’s action plan to deal with Canada’s medical isotopes shortage.

Ignatieff said the government’s answers and performance so far on these issues “just aren’t good enough.”

This is a type of “haggling”. The Grits are playing from a strong position in that the economy has nose-dived, the have a new and semi-intelligent leader, the polls are pretty good and, of course, Steve is still a robot. And no one likes robots.


What Iggy is saying is the following:

I will support you and we can all have a nice, election-free summer if you at least give the appearance of cutting me a deal by meeting me halfway and following through on my demands. Or at least some of them.

Due to it’s unpredictability, it’s a dangerous game when you engage in political haggling. The seller (in this case Harper) can back away and say “Forget it – I’m calling your bluff.” In which case, the one in the role of the buyer (Iggy) must risk losing the “good” that he is bargaining for (the avoidance of an election) or backing down himself and risk losing credibility.

As much as this Trashman would love to see Harper and his merry gang of ReformCons heaved out onto a pile of half-cured compost, he is very nervous about this game that the Grits are playing. It may just backfire and we’ll end up at the polls this summer. Canadians may take out their frustration on the new kid on the block instead of the robot. harper

Yikes. Careful Michael, careful…

At the store

The teen-monster is doing some training to ready herself for her 3 week stint as a kid’s camp counsellor and last week was my turn to deliver her to said training centre. For whatever reason – and I didn’t want the details… scaaaaarrrrrrrrrrryyyy – the kid was obviously having a bad day / week and it culminated that day in a ruined shoe. Somehow (again, no details please) she caught a lace in a fence and this tore the footwear asunder.

I actually heard about this earlier in the day when she texted me “Daddy – I need new shoes!”

Feeling particularly magnanimous that day, I suggested that on our way home from the training (which was totally “lame”)we stop at the Billings Bridge plaza to see if we couldn’t outfit her in a new pair… was gonna be a rush since closing time was about 15 minutes away. Hurriedly, she tried on a few sizes before settling on a pair and size that she really liked.

“How much?” I asked the sales-dude.


“Yikes!”, said I, “how about a discount?”

“Sure, I’ll give you 15% off.”

Huh. It was that easy? I just had to ask? I may be middle-aged, but in no way resemble a senior.

And any commenters claiming the contrary will be immediately flamed and ridiculed.

Our western culture is anti-haggle, with some exceptions. Haggling over the price of a car or a house or negotiating a price at a garage sale is perfectly OK, but we aren’t like those in many Asian or Middle-Eastern nations where the “back and forth” is the norm.

I’m thinking that I’ll do this more often!