Evil Landlord INC

We have a home in Edmonton that we rent to grad students. Recently after weeks of negotiating–a possible tenant came in with a last minute offer, far below what we had agreed to. She said she already had a better place ….

I sent her the following.

Hi June,

Kate and I are delighted that you have found a place to live. I am sure it will be great in the spring, summer and fall. And if you dress warmly, your journey to school should be no problem in the winter.

Some of our winters last nine or ten months and the temperature seldom goes down below -40 — which is the temperature on Mars. Lucky you didn’t find accommodations there as the commute takes some time.

Kate and I also want to wish you the very best of success with your psychology studies. They sound exciting.

Your offer of $550 (we assume this includes utilities) is tempting. And we certainly understand that things are sometimes a challenge when you are a student. The money goes out and you do not have time to earn anything as you are hitting the books.

The problem with your proposal is that we have no secrets from our tenants and do our best to give them a good deal. It would not be fair to them to give you the largest room for about a hundred dollars less than they pay. So to be fair we would have to lower their rents.

That means to have you in our home would cost us about $500 a month since it would only be fair to give the others a discount.

This reminds me of joke that was told to me by a billionaire. That was Lord Thompson of Fleet street. At one time he owned most of the oil in the North Sea.

Anyway Lord Thompson lived in Western Canada for awhile and he told me a story about an old prospector who lived in the foothills. One day this prospector, Jake I think was his name, discovered uranium.

The government gave him a check for a million dollars but Jake did not trust banks so he said he wanted it in cash. So the government gave him a big trunk of $100 bills.

Jake drove into Calgary in his old pick up with the trunk in the bed of his vehicle. He sees a sign that says Calgary Cadillac and a shiny new Escondido catches his eye and he goes into the dealership and asks if he can buy a car but the salesman says, looking at the scruffy prospector, “You want our pre-owned vehicles, these are all new cars.”

“I want that there Escondido, the black one, how much?”

“Sixty thousand,” says the salesman.

“Good, I’ll take her.”

And he opens the trunk and counts out sixty thousand and the salesman was very happy and writes out a bill of sale and says, “Next time you buy something, tell me you are going to pay in cash and I will give you a discount.”

“Yeah, okay,” says Jake.

And soon he is driving down the road but he’s wondering what a discount means. He’s lived in the bushes so long that he never heard it before.”

So he stop at Denny’s where they feature steak and eggs.

And that sounds pretty good. So he goes in there and orders steak and eggs — wanted to order a breakfast like that all his life but never had the money.

So the waitress, kind of cute, brings him the steak and eggs and the two get to talking.

And Jake says, “Can I ask you a question about words?”


“What does discount mean?” he asks.

“That is something you take off,” says the waitress.

“What would you take off for $60,000?”

The waitress smiles and says, “Would my earrings be in the way?”

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Jaron Summers wrote dozens of primetime television and radio programs, including those for HBO, CBS, ACCESS TV and CBC. He conceived the TV and Film Institute of Canada. Funded by the University of Alberta and ITV, Jaron ran the Institute for 12 years, donating his services for a decade.

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