Thursday, 28 April 2016

A Brexit Thought Experiment...

Let me introduce Nigel.  Nigel is a very wealthy family man who lives in a very wealthy region of the country.  He is in fact the 5th wealthiest man in the country.  He's rather proud of this and mentions it quite a lot.

One day, Nigel is looking through his monthly expenditures and wondering where he can make some savings.  Although he is very wealthy, this is a prudent thing to be doing.  After all, as his mother always said: “look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves.”  Looking through his expenses, Nigel spots that family membership of his golf club looks a bit high.  He pauses to consider this fact.  He doesn’t actually much like the officials who run the golf club.  They have a habit of being a bit officious and petty in enforcing the club's rules.  Is this club membership really worth the money?

Nigel broaches the idea of resigning their family membership with his wife and children over dinner that evening.  To his utter amazement, they look at him as though he’s gone mad, even after he mentions the amount of money they’d save.

They point out that the club's facilities are brilliant. They go there and have a great time every week.  Furthermore, Nigel uses it very effectively to network with clients and potential clients.  His family point out that the commission he earns on business won at the club more than covers the cost of membership.

Nigel tries to calmly rebut all their points.

Just because they are resigning their membership of the golf club doesn’t mean they’ll lose access to any of its facilities.  They’ll still be able to use the driving range; the 18 hole course; the restaurant and the bar.  So they’ll still get all the networking advantages too.  The weekly family trips aren’t going to stop.

Nigel’s family seem strangely skeptical about this argument.  How will they get access to the facilities if they are not members.  There is the possibility for non members to use the facilities - for a daily fee.  But the daily fee is large enough that, given the number of times in a year they visit the club, they’d be better off just paying the annual membership fee.  Visitors paying the daily fee still have to abide by all the niggling little club rules when they are at the club.

Nigel is absolutely amazed to hear this rebuttal.  Don’t his family realise how business works.  Once he is no longer a member, he’ll be able to negotiate his own special rate.  After all, he’s the 5th wealthiest man in the country, the golf club will want his business, and will bend rules in order to get it.  So he’ll be able to negotiate terms that wouldn’t necessarily be available to others.

His family are still sceptical.  Will they want our business that much they ask?  They might be a bit hesitant to give us special terms, wouldn’t they think it was dangerous to set that kind of a precedent?
At this point Nigel gets frustrated and and a bit angry: "of course they won’t mind about setting the precedent!" he exclaims.  Afterall, we buy a hell of a lot more from them than they buy from us!

At this point, his family look at each other and just say “yes dear”.  They know from bitter experience that it is better not to argue the point when Nigel has become this animated.  Besides this vocal argument is happening inside the club's restaurant, and people are starting to stare.  It is all a bit embarrassing.

If you are reading and are a British citizen and a member of a golf club or tennis club, or even a tiddlywinks club, then I implore you: before 23rd June, try this:  
  • Go to your club, tell them you are resigning your membership, but insist to them that this means you will still have every right to continue using the club’s facilities.   
  • If they put up a fight, try to negotiate your own special rate.   
  • See how far you get…