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Valentine's Day Stats

I know it's all about the love but we all know it's all about the money for local retailers.  It's Valentine's Day and it's big business for our flower and gift shops and local jewelers.

There are 36.7 million people in Canada with an estimated 15 million couples.  Men are 9% more likely to make plans for Valentine's Day than women.

Men will spend an average of $135 today compared to $65 for the average woman.  Chocolate will take up $35 of that budget with flowers in at about $30.

81% of Canadians plan to celebrate with their significant other while 52% of Canadians will make it a family party.

Are you single?  Do you feel left out on Valentine's Day?  It's interesting to note there are 11 million single people in Canada but only about half say they're "looking for love".  

That tells me there are about 5.5 million Canadian men and women who are single, alone and happy.  

Happy Valentine's Day!

Attention Walmart Shoppers

You know you can order your groceries on line these days, right?  Yes, you shop from the comfort of your home and your chosen store will deliver.  

It's just one service Walmart is hoping to improve as they hire about 2000 tech experts this year.  They're hiring scientists, software engineers and designers and others in an effort to expand their on line business and improve technology in-store.  They're talking about building robots that will scan shelves and deliver reports along with blue collar robots that will scrub and polish the floors.  

I remember when I was a boy my mom and me would catch the city bus to go grocery shopping on Thursday mornings.  She didn't drive.  We'd go to Safeway, pay for our supplies and friendly people would box 'em up.  We'd catch the bus home and Speed's Delivery would bring us the groceries within about an hour.

That was 45 years ago and the delivery driver is still in high demand.  But, I wonder, how long it'll be before the robots replace them too.

Winter - It's All Good

I guess he likes to walk on the sunny side of the street.  A local guy I was talking to on the weekend.  We were making small talk and, of course, the recent cold snap was top of mind.

He told me, "This is what we need.  The ice is safe for ice fishing, there's lots of snow for the snowmobile riders AND we'll have some nice run-off for the farmers in the spring.  It's all good," he said.

I suppose he's right, isn't he?  I can remember back in the 80s when we went years with very little snow or rain.  Times were tough around here.  We need the snow and the cold - it's good for local retailers and, therefore, the local economy.

If that doesn't cheer you up, remember, Wiarton Willie predicted an early spring on Groundhog Day and, you should know, The Old Farmer's Almanac uses the word "sunny" in the forecast five times and "mild" four times between now and the end of March.

The Echo Chamber

So, yesterday I shared what I got from the Prairie South Education Director.  Tony Baldwin made it clear the situation was dealt with and they're moving on.  The controversy about a young student and his teacher getting into it over President Donald Trump.

Well, it wasn't long after she read my commentary a local woman sent me this:

"This story is the reason that I was blocked for the first time on Facebook.

I have friends who post political things on all sides of the spectrum and usually I ignore it. But one of them ranted about how "stupid" the 14-year-old kid was. And I said, quite simply, "regardless of where anyone stands on this issue, can we all agree as adults to not label a 14-year-old as 'stupid'?"

I think there's an important distinction in any case between saying someone IS stupid, and saying you think someone DID something stupid. Especially when they're 14.

But instead of either saying "yeah, you're right, that does come off like an adult bullying a kid" or "I disagree with you, and here's my reasoning," she blocked me.

The world is a dangerous place when you find yourself in an echo chamber consisting entirely of people who agree with you all the time," she wrote.  

She's right.

Make America Great Again

It was within 24 hours of the story getting out that those involved just wanted it to go away.  

At issue was a discussion in a local high school about politics.  A young student wore a President Donald Trump-inspired "Make America Great Again" ball cap.  One of his teachers engaged him in conversation and, from what we understand, some of what was said was misconstrued.  

The teacher, the student and the school all came under attack on social media.  A simple discussion and, perhaps, a disagreement in a classroom turned into a gong show on Facebook.

Prairie South School Division Director of Education Tony Baldwin put it all in perspective.  "Social media isn't a real good bellwether of reality", he said.  "...it was something that happened at school...and we are moving forward."

Mr. Baldwin also said, "...kids and teachers have relationships.  Some days we have good days and some days we don't see eye to eye.  We figure it out and move on..."

Now, the boy, his family and the Prairie South School Division are hoping the keyboard warriors will do the same.

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