Wednesday 3 May 2006

rounding down

Let's step away from marital bliss for a minute and play a game. Ready?

Say you gave me a jar of jellybeans in exchange for use of my nice purple car. We agreed that you would give me another jar of jellybeans every month for about six months. I wasn't sure about the exact timing because I am planning to sell the car, and you weren't sure about the timing because your driver's license was due to expire soon and you weren't sure you could renew it in time. I also asked for jellybeans instead of money because I don't want to pay taxes - no one needs to know about our little "arrangement."

Anyhow, everything was going fine. You were driving the car (I still needed it for the first three weeks, but I sat quietly in the backseat and you barely even noticed. That's why I didn't reduce the number of jellybeans that month or contribute for the petrol.) I placed an ad for the car and people started making appointments to see it. They even opened the glove box and saw the personal items you had stored there. But all of a sudden after five months, you told me that your license was not renewed and you could not drive anymore. I was very kind and said that I would simply keep the extra jar of jellybeans instead of asking you to give me the sixth and final jar. You were sulky, but saw my point. Fair's fair.

The good news is that your license was renewed and you found a new car with a handsome driver. Then I found someone who said she would like to exchange some jellybeans for the privilege of driving my car. So I told you that I would give you back 195 jellybeans. But you wanted to know how I got that number. You cleverly figured out that I was offering 17.75 jellybeans every day for eleven days (which really should have been 18 whole jellybeans for twelve days, but who's counting? I'm being generous by offering you anything at all.) Then you told me that you thought I should give you 18 jellybeans for 16 days since you had to give up the keys a few days before she could start driving it! As if! It's not like you don't have your own car now.

Clearly, you broke our six month agreement. OK, OK, I said it would be flexible at the start, but I decided that I liked getting jellybeans every month and even got a second car, so I need your jellybeans to pay for it. It's only fair. And I am being more than fair by giving you 195 jellybeans back.


So, that's the end of the game. What would YOU do?

a) Accept the 195 jellybeans but grumble that I am a petty, number-challenged person who is very flexible, as long as things go my way? (I think that is very unfair of you, by the way. Remember, you put me out by losing your license in the first place.)

b) Insist on getting the full 288 jellybeans that you think you are entitled to. And probably are. I'm just so sure I'm right that I'm not about to give in. And you risk getting no jellybeans if you push me too far.

c) Write a sarcastic blog about it.

d) Fight back. Bullies like me deserve a taste of their own medicine. You're not afraid of having things get ugly in small claims court.

e) Move on, and hug the handsome driver.

f) Any or all of the above.

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