Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 03.16.09
Stanstead, Quebec


Something is wrong with the economy. Seriously.

There's something seriously wrong with our economy. I know, I know. You've heard it all before. No surprise. It's like saying, "The sky is blue," or "Stephen Harper feeds on the souls of puppies and poets."

But I don't mean something's gone bad. I mean that there's something seriously wrong with the way our economy works.

I went shopping Sunday. Part of me expected a ghost town -- empty storefronts, tumbleweeds, salespeople skeletons slumped over Subarus, the walking dead at Wal-Mart. After all, we're living in austere times. We should be shopping only for necessities, like food, clothing, Sleeman's Silver Creek.

And yet, I found myself at a Canadian Tire filled with shoppers. Canadian Tire is not about necessities. Canadian Tire is about things that aren't necessary. Like glue. I had to find some glue to fix a chair. I found not just a couple of glues but a whole glue section. I felt like I was shopping at Canadian Glues.

There was glue and goop and epoxy and cement. Some glues were Krazy, some just in therapy. The glue I purchased was called NO MORE NAILS. Just like that, in capital letters. As if nails were these horrid nuisances, slowing down construction because you actually have to bang them into wood. Stupid nails!

It occurred to me that every one of these glues is a product tied to someone's job. By my choosing NO MORE NAILS over OKAY, JUST A FEW NAILS, I was affecting the economy and potentially someone's employment. I felt bad for the workers producing NOT REALLY A DECENT REPLACEMENT FOR NAILS AT ALL.

The truth is the world doesn't need fifty types of glue. And yet, there they are.

There's something seriously wrong.

The same goes for automobiles.

So people aren't buying cars. Explain to me why this is a bad thing. Smelly, dirty, noisy. And that's just the inside of my van. Automobiles in general pollute, they burn gas and oil that we're quickly running out of, and they kill more people annually than peanut allergies and Tom Cruise's Scientology minions put together.

Besides, doesn't everybody already have a car? Who do you know who doesn't have a car? And if so, why do they need a new one? Because the ashtray's full? Because their daughter accidentally spilled flour all over the passenger seat to create a permanent crispy coating? (Oh wait, that's my van again.)

But no, people not buying automobiles is cause for panic and bailouts and folks trying to make ends meet by selling their -- what? -- their cars!

There's something seriously wrong.

"Ahh," you're saying, "but didn't you need that glue?" Yes, I guess I did, in order to avoid a lawsuit from the chair collapsing underneath a guest. (I was expecting some American visitors, you see.) And didn't I need the shoes I bought that day? Well, yes, because the dog had eaten a good portion of the ones I had been wearing to work. And didn't I need the rubber boots? Again, yes, since our rabbit had eaten most of my old ones. (Do I need any more pets? Decidedly no.)

But besides the things we needed, we also purchased a Little Mermaid electric toothbrush, a poorly produced magazine about (again) mermaids, ugly weird plastic spiral things you hang from trees or whatever, and a flowery ball. (Did I mention our seven-year-old was with us?) We don't need any of that. No one needs ugly weird plastic spiral things. Ever.

There's something seriously wrong.

And banks. How did we ever get to the point where we base all our trust, not to mention the basis of our economy, in banks? Banks, for gawd's sake! They close at 3 o'clock and charge you to use your own money. What is the matter with us!

There's something seriously wrong.

Maybe I just don't understand the way the economy works. But you know what? Maybe if you don't understand the economy you shouldn't be allowed to participate in it.

Except for buying the Sleeman's Silver Creek. ItŐs going to get me through this crisis.