A Money Coach in Canada

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To collect, see the very last part of this post. If I haven’t heard from you by Canada day, I’ll move on to the next person on the random-machine generated list. Congrats and enjoy!

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When I was a kid, China, like Russia, scared the crap out of me.  It was communist.  Communist China.  People who shared my faith, Christians, got tortured there.  In fact, lots of people got tortured there.  WE might, under very rare circumstances, be allowed to visit, but Chinese people could never visit us because they were locked inside. It was a secretive, faraway, very scary country.

It’s such a different story now.  We witnessed the opening ceremonies stream from Beijing. I’ve enjoyed getting to know several immigrants from China. And above all it’s become nearly impossible to purchase anything that’s not made in China.

Can you relate?

Let’s get familiar with this new super-power, this country that has encroached our lives every which way. This money coach found some econ 101’s:

China makes

  • 1/2 the world’s clothes
  • 1/2 the world’s computers
  • More than 1/2 the world’s digital electronics
  • More than 3/4 of the world’s toys (ed note:  uh-oh)

Factors that make this manufacturing do-able by China

  • 104 million workers
  • 1/10 of the wage compared to Europe and the US
  • for every $1 sale in the US of designer clothers, the manufacturer receives 10¢
  • workers can work up to 18 hours a day in busy months

To create these goods, China uses

  • 1/2 the world’s iron ore
  • 1/3 the world’s aluminum
  • 1/2 the world’s copper
  • nearly 1/2 the world’s hard coal
  • nearly 1/10 the world’s oil production (ed note: that’s less than I’d thought.  I guess because they use coal instead)

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I got these stats from an offbeat but very intelligent magazine called The New Internationalist. It’s introducing me to all kinds behind-the-scenes stories that affect my every day life.  If you, like me, want to be better informed, I recommend subscribing!  It’s causing me to see the world differently – in a good way.  (no, I get nothing for the pitch! I am just really impressed by the mag.  And they use a creative commons license – what’s not to love?)

Off topic.  Courtesy AbsoJesus

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Here are 3 legit, fun, Canadian contests – not the kind that fakes you out, and sends your address everywhere, but fun, innovative (ish) contests from:

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Photo Credit: Erich Mercado
1. BLENZ – the Vancouver-based coffee chain will give someone 142 days of free coffees, in honour of Canada Day, celebrating 142 years. You simply need to share your thoughts about what Canada means to you. Do it soon, since the prize is given out this Wednesday!

2. SixString Nation – get some publicity, aspiring song-writers! Get on Twitter, use the hash tag, #6SNSong, and let out your inner songwriter. D&M will collect all the entries on June 30 and July 1 – Canada Day – they’ll announce the winner. The top 20 will be listed on the D&M website and on the Six String Nation Facebook page. By the way, they’ll be up here at Yellowknife’s Folk on the Rocks!

And our favourite airline, WESTJET, is giving away a flight-for-two each day this coming week if you simply follow them on twitter!
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Photo Credit MiguelB

Those are the three I know about – any more that you’ve heard about?  Canadian, and legit, not “sweepstakes-y”?

I’ve had a couple tough days.  I’m off work, ill.  Headache, achey bones, and a fatigue that’s taken me down for the count.  I hate being sick!  Additionally I’m missing a lot about Vancouver these days.  Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoy Yellowknife – but there are experiences and places and shops and wifi and people who are only to be found in Vancouver.  So in addition to bone and head aches, there’s some ache-of-the-spirit in the mix.

This evening I did what all sick people do to console themselves.  I made the treck to the video store.  Alas, I came out empty.  No The Wire.  No BSG til late July apparently.  I forgot to ask about Firefly (anyone seen the series?  I saw one episode – are they all as awesome?)

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Plan B:  buy some chocolate. One idiosyncrasy of life up here is that the majority of shops shut down at 6pm but not, thank goodness, Shoppers.  I went the distance, folks, I selected a beautiful Lindt milk chocolate bar, went to the til — and my debit card was declined.  And declined.  And declined again.  It’s payday and I work for the Gov’t so I’m guessing Central One’s servers went down, but in any case, so much for my chocolate.  Life was beginning to spiral downward.

Until a lovely thing happened.

The young woman at the til, seeing my crestfallen face, told me to hang on one sec.  She punched a few buttons on the til — handed me the chocolate bar, smiled, and said, it’s on me.  Not on the house.  It’s on me.

I stood dumbfounded.  Eventually I stammered out my thanks, and happily accepted the chocolate bar she had just bought me.

It cost her $1.50.   Not much in the grand scheme of things, but its impact was multiple time a buck-fifty.  It was a lovely, unexpected, random act of kindness.

I don’t know if I’ll make a point of paying her back or if I’ll pay it forward or quite what I’ll do.

I thought I’d start by simply sharing.

Readers, have you experienced a Random Act of Kindness?  Care to share?

ps: I got home, and reached a vancouver friend who, of all things, is also housebound.  He’d rented One Week, and I was able to find it on iTunes for rent, so we’re sharing a movie, virtually.  Life is lookin’ better.

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