Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Education For Life, Not Just For Christmas

I do hope Christmas is going down as well with you as it is in Puddlecoteville.

Yesterday, a dozen of us descended on one of those licensed restaurants - which used to be called pubs - for a meal where we could just leave the plates and bugger off when we'd had our fill of turkey and Sancerre. On returning home (via a few hours at a house containing a Wii machine to knacker the little Ps with Just Dance), Mrs P and I enjoyed a joyous but intangible Christmas present.

I'm not sure exactly when the practice started, but we've taken to pinching small portions of the little uns' bits and bobs every now and then. For example, a few chips from a Maccy D's meal, a spoonful of their after dinner dessert, a couple of sour sweets from the pick'n'mix. You know, that sort of thing.

We call it 'tax'.

They've reluctantly become accustomed to it, and it was helpful in explaining the concept of taxation in their younger years. You should have seen the look on their faces when we first described how many things the government applies this to. They were particularly amazed at road tax, fuel duty and VAT on top of it with relation to transport ... and that was before going on to explain toll roads, insurance duty and fees for some to park outside their own home.

They each received a Galaxy selection box, amongst other things, yesterday morning and we - with tongues firmly in cheek - announced that the tax would be a Ripple bar from one and a bag of Minstrels from the other. It was heartening to find out later that the very sweets in question had, without our noticing, been spirited away into hiding places in their rooms.

Oh joy! They already know about tax, but now they have developed a practical understanding of tax avoidance too.

Now that's something they won't learn in the state education system, eh?


16 comments:

nisakiman said...

That's a lesson well learned, DP, and one which will stand them in good stead in later life.

Mind you, in my case it was instinctive. My father was (and indeed, at 95 still is) pathologically honest and wedded to the establishment, and so gave me no guidance on that level. :)

John M said...

You need to ramp it up a bit. To properly explain the concept of tax you need to eat at least half of everything on the little P's plates and then charge them a fee to take them home in your car afterwards.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I'm hoping that we're gently installing the instinct. ;)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

That would, indeed, be truer to life although I'm sure it would be termed child cruelty by some.


Strange that being equally confiscatory to adults is considered perfectly acceptable - or even desirable - by the state, though isn't it?

Jesus Green said...

In a similar vein we used to get our two kids to 'split and choose' something they needed to share e.g. cake or packets of sweets etc. This involved assigning one sprog to divide the stuff in question and the other would have first choice of the result. Worked quite well. Sweets were sometimes interesting with the divider putting more/all of siblings favourites in one half but in an unequal quantity so they got more. If number two sprog thought this unfair they were still free to chose the other option to deprive the other sprog of perceived ill gotten gains. I suppose its a crude analogy to trade in general.

Lou said...

Must be missing something here Sir. Or perhaps my interpretation is wrong.

I believe you're describing tax evasion.

For their next lesson they'll need to be taught about holding companies, trusts, virtual presences and offshore financial centers.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Yes, the Puddlecotes Snr used to do that with me and my siblings and we've used it our little Ps on occasion. It's a good lesson.


I remember trying an experiment on younger sister P once when cutting a section of Cadbury's choc fudge cake. I noticeably cut one larger than the other as I'd generously given her a record earlier in the day that she had coveted. She still picked the big bit though, and was overjoyed I'd made it so easy for her without the need to get her ruler out.


I never did that again.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I'm glad you mentioned that as I did wonder if it was avoidance or evasion. I plumped for avoidance as they merely removed the chosen sweets from our grasping hands rather than all of them.


There were still five other products we could have taken our tax out of should we have chosen to, they just reduced the potential damage to their haul. ;)

The Meissen Bison said...

The analogy is less than perfect, I'm afraid. If the parents are the embodiment of the state, all the items you are 'taxing' are welfare payments.


Depending on the ages of the little Puddlecotes, you need to encourage them to take on a paper-round or do some household chores for cash.


Then tax the proceeds and hear the squeals of pain. The reduced incentive to do the hoovering should be clear as you are left to do it yourself.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

They're 'public sector' for now, doing stuff we have paid them for. The private sector lesson will follow soon enough. ;)

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Longrider said...

When they've eaten them all, it will be evasion ;)

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