Joe was at the kitchen table as I walked into his abode, reading a book I lent him, and kind of chuckling. I ask “So, it’s a book on soils and farming, what’s funny about that?”
He looks up and says “ the guy talks about farmers ‘saving themselves into bankruptcy’, he was talking about not doing equipment repairs until the machine breaks down, which is usually in the middle of harvest and costs him some of his crop. Or not putting on enough fertilizer, so he only gets half a crop. Or buying poor quality seeds or chemicals. Or patching rotten old tires instead of replacing them. Or not fixing the buildings, so he loses product when the roof leaks. You get the idea”
“Yeah, I remember that, didn’t find anything funny about it” says I
“Well, I was just thinking about all the ways people who are not farmers save themselves into bankruptcy”, he went on, “like not turning on any lights to save electricity, then tripping and breaking a bone, or not using enough water to wash dishes properly, then getting food poisoning, or putting plastic flowers in the flowerbeds to save water, at greater cost than the water saved, or saving on fuel oil by keeping their house so cold they end up with mould, or not doing the maintenance and oil changes on their car, planning to trade it before it shows symptoms, and ending up with really big repair bills.”
“Good point”, says I, “Not only householders, either. Like a business saving money buying his vehicles in Steinbach, then complaining about folks going to the city to shop. Or firing all your experienced, trained staff to save money, then having to spend a fortune training a new crew. We all do it. But I still miss the humour”
‘Well,” says Joe, “I was thinking about myself, I am waiting till 10% off Day to go get my monthly grocery order, might save $25 or so, and I have already spent $40 on gas on extra trips to town to get grocery items I ran out of. It would be funny if my wallet wasn’t hurting”
“OK, that’s funny,” says I. “Speaking of Steinbach, it’s a good example of spending wisely. Folks there have boundless confidence in their community, even though it is in the shadow of a big city, and do not hesitate to invest in their community, and it has been growing steadily for decades. As opposed to places with no confidence, who hesitate to invest in their community, so it goes backwards. Of course that is not funny at all”
“Amen to that,” says Joe, “so what brings you over today?” “I forget”, says I, sheepishly, “You got me all worked up about bankruptcy and it went right out of my head”.

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