May 04, 2001

8. Canadians rent textbooks to high school students.

And a good thing it is to see the government spending money on something. These books aren't always in bad shape either. Typically, how it works is that every eight to ten years the government issues some new editions of textbooks. In the inside cover of each textbook (right inside the cover, where there is a page glued to the cardboard), there is a large stamp. This stamp has the form of a table, and the top headings in the table are "Name," "Date," "Signature" and "Condition." Each student is obliged to complete the first empty row of this table (reading from top to bottom, cf. "Left to Right"), indicating in the leftmost column the condition of the textbook with some witty adjective/invective. At the end of the year the students must return these books, usually during the respective exam, and if they don't they are threatened by the administration. The great advantages of this system are numerous. One, they don't clutter up everyone's house with useless highschool texts for the rest of their lives. Two, they save money on books, or at least publishers make less money selling books, I mean, you can't make a killing in the textbook publishing business I bet because it's so unpredictable and I mean really they keep those books forever. Three, it is amusing and thus motivating for the students to see how funny people in their math textbook pictures dressed ten years ago. Like in grade six when sideburns were really "out" for example all the people in our math textbook photos had sideburns! What a riot! (Cf. "Quebec WTO summit") As mentioned before, it is also one of the few areas in which Canadians can visibly note signs of government spending. They sure do take a lot of taxes here, but they so rarely pretend to be giving it back. Sign of an immature country. (Cf. "Taxes")
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