I can get it cheaper

Posted 03.20.11

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | My grandmother was fond of crocheted mottos on her walls. As a boy, I remember puzzling over what many meant, and also how they were executed, since I had never seen anyone using a crochet needle. Her favourites included religious maxims -- "The Lord helps those who help themselves, certainly puzzled me -- as well as old cheery messages we've all seen. I've noticed these mottos in many formats -- painted barn board or tole, even on doormats.

They're out of fashion now, although there's one motto which seems to have replaced the others, and which appears to be the cornerstone of every household: "I can get it cheaper…"

This new motto is as religiously held as the old messages, but is not about gaining grace, forgiveness or salvation; it's about shopping and getting the best deal. Perhaps it grew into popularity as Wal-Mart and Sunday shopping flowed across the continent.

I you to consider this motto from a different angle. If you are a supporter of this maxim, if you are among the many who set their sights only on getting the best deal possible on anything, from disposable diapers to a meal or a new car, if you will drive across town or, in our case, drive out of the province in which we live to get a cheaper price, and if you feel this is wise and an efficient way to shop, I ask you to consider what would you do if your own job faced the same test?

If it is OK for you to drive to Ottawa to pick up sporting gear, for example, would you also say it's OK for your boss, one morning, to tell you he can get someone else to do your job at a cheaper rate?

If he could find someone in India or the Philippines to do your work for $4 an hour, would you congratulate him for his business acumen and, with a good-natured shrug, starting emptying your desk? Why not?

If it's OK for you to put price above everything else, why shouldn't he do the same?

The Internet and globalization now make this possible for just about any job (maybe not hair-cutting); what's wrong with it? And why shouldn't employers import temporary workers into Canada, not only to work on farms, but educated, well-trained immigrants who will do your and my jobs for a fraction of our pay? And why pay you a pension?

What would you do if that happened at work next week?

If you are a member of this get-it-cheaper cult, if driving to Wal-Mart is your answer to shopping for your family in your community, then you must believe that getting something cheaper is all that matters.

How could this make sense to you? Come on, use your long-term vision -- use your heart! -- and shop in your own community; there are over 700 businesses right here in Aylmer.

Copyright © 2012 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/03.12