Benjamin Hathead – Bartering, fairness and hammers

This month’s letter comes from Benjamin Hathead of Pickleton, Western Australia.

Dear Derwood,

I am a big fan of the barter system. It is amazing what you can buy in return for your own natural skills and ingenuity. For example just last month I bought a new car without any money whatsoever! It is all about offering the other party something they really want in return for their goods or services. In this case I wanted a car and the other guy wanted the opportunity to not have his face bashed in with two hammers. So it was a fair trade.

I explained this to the Judge and in return received only a blank stare and 12 year sentence. This does not seem a fair trade at all! On the plus side, the barter system in my new accommodation is thriving and I have quickly acquired 24 hour protection and several new close friends all for the amazing low price of some stuff that I would rather not talk about. Anyway, how do you handle people who have no sense of fairness?

-Benjamin Hathead

Dear Benjamin,

Bartering is the cornerstone of commerce and has been since the beginning of time (thought by scientists to be the year 1912.) Unfortunately nowadays due to a lack of economic knowledge, people often confuse “bartering” for “threats”, and “satisfied customer” for “person beaten with hammers”; further proof that political correctness is not only ruining art but also things that matter!

Illegal hammer assaults aside, the point here is fairness. Personally when treated in a manner I consider unfair, I refer to the following advice of Sean Connery in his movie ‘The Incredibles’:

They pull a knife, you pull a gun! He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! That’s the Chicago way.”

What he means is, if someone treats you unfairly you should kill them. Purely in a metaphorical sense, of course. Unfortunately this point was lost in the original screenings of the film, which explains why this dialogue was removed from child-friendly ‘The Incredibles’ and, with the help of some movie magic, transferred into some other film Connery made 20 years earlier.

But the point remains the same; when wronged in life you should stand up for yourself, keeping in mind that while many people act like a hammer-based negotiation to the face is the only reasonable counter-offer, it is generally frowned upon. Until this attitude changes perhaps leave your hammers at home, or at least confine their use to dealing with charity workers and payment to buskers.

Your pal,