I was in our neighborhood store this morning, and I struck up a conversation with the manager, John. I was looking for whole wheat flour, and they’d sold out, so he got the bakery folks to sell me some of theirs. I mentioned that I like baking pumpkin bread for my kids’ breakfast, because it’s a lot cheaper than buying cereal. He nodded and said “yes, yes, a lot of people are trying to save money right now. Our business is much slower than usual.” Well, I’ve never bought much cereal, and not just because my retirement accounts have gone south. But okay. Manager John continued “I hear it is very bad in your country right now.” I agreed, and he said “I think it is maybe better that you are here in China now.” Again, I agreed – it’s definitely a cheaper lifestyle here.
“I understand that in America, everybody is free,” he continued. “You are so free, you can ask the bank for money and they give it to you! Here in China, if you don’t have the money, you stay poor. You don’t buy a big house.” True, John, all true. Too many Americans bought too many houses they couldn’t afford. And now we’re all paying for it. Then he sighed and gestured around the emptier-than-usual store. “Yes, big trouble for your country. But you know – when it’s bad for your country, it’s bad for all of us.”
Gotta go bake my pumpkin bread now. My secret ingredients? Ground flax seed, cinnamon and a few shredded stock certificates.