Here we are, all fired up with Chapter 4 of a Geography IGCSE - in which we must find out how raw materials are processed then sold, what LICS are, and how Monsoon pull that slippery branding trick on a frock stitched in a Chinese Special Economic Zone - and we don't even get thrown out of your shoe shops. It simply isn't good enough.
I set our lovely home ed Geography group the activity of finding out where goods have come from. For this one, Squirrel and Shark decide to take themselves off to a shoe shop. Shark sat down with a clipboard while Squirrel picked up every boot on sale yelling out the country of manufacture. Shark solemnly wrote it all down. (Brazil, mostly.) After ten minutes, no-one had challenged them. No-one at all. Shark began flapping her clipboard about and Squirrel began sticking her head under the display racks, shouting out random nation names in the hope of being arrested. Mexico! Spain! India! Burkina Faso! Nobody paid them a blind bit of notice. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
Now this could be the ordinary range of behaviour any ordinary teenager can exhibit in a shoe shop in Central Milton Keynes on a Monday morning, when we are all supposed to be under threat by terrorists and extremists, and they are supposed to be in school.
If so, I am delighted. Squirrel, as I said, was not. She felt it was the duty of all shoe shop uniform holders to come out their holes and provide a free lecture on third-sector economy. Failing that, to kick them out. I suggested next time, they could ask for a floor manager and pump him with questions until he covertly bribed them with chocolate to go away. After all, it was a strategy that worked in Tesco.
Catching up with a gentle economics questionnaire in CMK's Winter Wonderland.