Archive for March, 2009

Credit Crunch Economics for Dummies…..

The financial crisis explained in simple terms:

Linda is the proprietor of a bar in Cork. In order to increase sales, she decides to allow her loyal customers – most of whom are unemployed alcoholics – to drink now but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around and as a result increasing numbers of customers flood into Linda’s bar.

Taking advantage of her customers’ freedom from immediate payment constraints, Linda increases her prices for wine and beer, the most-consumed beverages. Her sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic customer service consultant at the local bank recognizes these customer debts as valuable future assets and increases Linda’s borrowing limit.

He sees no reason for undue concern since he has the debts of the alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert bankers transform these customer assets into DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then traded on markets worldwide. No one really understands what these abbreviations mean and how the securities are guaranteed. Nevertheless, as their prices continuously climb, the securities become top-selling items.

One day, although the prices are still climbing, a risk manager (subsequently of course fired due to his negativity) of the bank decides that the time has come to demand payment of the debts incurred by the drinkers at Linda’s bar.

However they cannot pay back the debts.

Linda cannot fulfill her loan obligations and claims bankruptcy.

DRINKBOND and ALKBOND drop in price by 95 %. PUKEBOND performs better, stabilizing in price after dropping by 80 %.

The suppliers of Linda’s bar, having granted her generous payment due dates and having invested in the securities, are faced with a new situation. Her wine supplier claims bankruptcy, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor.

The bank is saved by the Government following dramatic round-the-clock consultations by leaders from the governing political parties (and vested interests).

The funds required for this purpose are obtained by a tax levied on the non-drinkers.

Finally an explanation I understand……………….

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Aircraft emergency card



Apparently, RyanAir are about to start charging £1 to use the aircraft toilet. Well, why stop there?


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We’ve just added 3 more rental units… giving us the grand total of 8 !

Now, because we’re only small, we don’t have a contract laundry supplying bedding and towels. Instead, we buy from local retailers. This is where the problem starts. 6 double bed sets and 14 single bed sets of quilt covers, sheets, pillowcases, quilts, pillows, and all the towels and so forth are needed. Ideally we will have them all the same colour…. while the units are decorated individually and it would be nice to color-code the bedding to each unit, it’s easier to have everything in a neutral colour.

Our first three units have got brown and cream bedding. Now, it doesn’t matter if they are not interchangeable with the others. Everything else has cream bedding or white bedding. As long as the collars and cuffs match………..

So far, we have opened one unit at a time, so we have not had too much trouble getting enough bedding. But trying to kit out three units… two units with a double and two singles, one unit with a double and four singles, has tried my patience.

The shop has next to no stock of my colours, so I go to their web site. Everything shows as available…. great! However, as soon as I start with “10 of these, 6 of those” etc, etc, we hit problems. Not immediately, only when I go to checkout. Then it says some items are out of stock.

Does it tell me how many they have? No. So I have to keep changing my order quantities to get the order through. And the web site has a couple of links down, so I have to go through the whole menu, Household > Bedroom > Bedding > Sheets > for every item.

Well, I started 2 hours ago, and the order is finally sent. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

(“Grrrrargos refers to the web site”, but they’ll always be to me from today onwards.)

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