Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Bad for business

Today I had my students role-playing a flea market game. This is always great fun, which is why I do it. We practice the language for haggling in English first, and for describing things, and then I divide the class in two, half sellers and half buyers, and set up 'stalls' at the back of the classroom. The sellers decide what they're selling (we use bits of paper with pictures or words), and the prices they paid for those things, and then try to make a profit by selling them for more. It gets very noisy and exciting. Then the buyers and sellers swap places, and it all starts again.

Out of my four classes the science majors made the biggest profits, and the business majors, almost without exception, operated at a loss.

I berated the business class for this. "What are you thinking?" I demanded. "You are business majors! Twenty years from now when you guys are in charge Japan is going to collapse!"

But it was no good. They thought it was funny.

They also thought it was funny that three of them had bought Louis Vuitton bags from me at highly inflated prices after I told them they were genuine Louis Vuitton bags from China.