This afternoon I dropped by Olson’s on the west side to pick up a few things; bananas, lettuce, sweet potatoes and broccoli.
While the young lady was ringing in my order …..”Will that be cash or Visa” popped into my to head. She politely interrupted my thought with; “That will be $7.30”.
While I was using my Master Card to pay I said to her; “You know when I was a kid the grocer would let you buy food on time”.
It was hard times in the Maritimes during the post war fifties. “The grocer would keep a little book under the counter to keep track for those who didn’t have enough cold hard cash and when you earned some money by working at what ever job you could find you would drop by and pay against your grocery bill”.
“Really?” she said “Sort of like a tab?”. “Right”, I replied, picked up my groceries and I was on my way. I might add the grocer was careful not to let your “bought on time groceries” get too far out of hand. Every once in a while when you went to buy more groceries you would get a friendly reminder that your bill was getting a little high.
Later the day I dropped by a historic building on Germain Street that was being partly dismantled, it was being prepared for a revitalization plan. There was some old bricks that I though might make a good walk-way.
The owner, an elderly Greek gentleman who was also a brick mason said the bricks were too soft; “You need hard bricks”. he said with the voice of authority. “How many do you need?”
He told me he came to Canada 55 years ago with 3 dollars in his pocket. Today he is the owner of several businesses in the city. He told me several times; “it’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep”. He learned this life long lesson from his grandfather and father in Greece many years ago. I agreed with his life and business philosophy. .
This evening I was reading an Opinion column in the Telegraph Journal that expressed concerns about the provincial debt of $14 billion dollars with it’s $700 million dollar annual interest charges. That’s $19,000 of debt per person that we will be passing on to the next generation.
Our less than responsible provincial government would do well to take a few lessons from my 1950’s “don’t let the customer get in over his head” grocer and my new found Greek, now Saint John successful businessman.
Keep a lid on the provincial debt and begin looking for investments that will show a return and begin to bring New Brunswick back from a financial cliff.
Stop running the provincial Visa card up to the max and begin paying for what we an afford. DEMAND accountability at all levels of government.
The days of making promises to win elections by mortgaging future generations has to stop,…….. IF New Brunswick is to have a future.
Think about it.