Meerkats are the economic answer

THERE is such a simple solution to the world’s economic woes that I am surprised no one has come up with the idea before.

It came to me as I enjoyed a couple of days away last week on the East Coast where unusually the wind was barely noticeable and it was warm for the time of year.

Part of the short break was spent in Great Yarmouth which some might describe as the Las Vegas of Norfolk although as one who has also visited the desert resort in the US I would not wholly go along with the comparison.

But the main similarity of both places is the compulsive need by visitors to push money into machines with the hope against hope of getting a worthwhile return.

The attraction for me and my other half was those grab or crane machines which offer the apparently easy chance of picking up an attractive item and depositing it in the chute to then be collected by one’s eager hands.

The objects of our desire were lovable toy meerkats with adorable eyes. They could not be resisted and our pound coins whizzed into the slot.

The upshot was that by the time we miraculously managed to manoeuvre a meerkat into the chute to start a new life in Hertfordshire, we had spent probably four or five times as much as it would have cost us to buy the creature from a shop.

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And that’s how to sort out the financial gloom enveloping the globe. Install grab machines on every street corner of the world, fill them with meerkats and sit back as vast amounts of money roll in. Tax this heavily (there’ll still be enough left for the entrepreneurs owning them to live the high life) and use the revenue to buy our way out of recession.

And if people get fed up with meerkats, simply change the product on offer. I saw some very appealing smurfs in Great Yarmouth awaiting new homes.

I do wish that the conmen who try to cheat honest people into parting with their money by sending emails claiming they are penniless after being robbed abroad and need urgent help learn to write good English. They are not doing their criminal cause any good at all otherwise.

Here’s an example of such a missive I received recently from someone claiming to be called Paul: “I’m writing this with full of sadness, sorry i don’t think i inform you about my trip We actually made a quick travel to Spain in (Madrid) and unfortunately attacked and mugged at gun point on the way to our hotel.”

He went on: “All cash, credit card and cell were stolen off but luckily for us is that we still have my passports with us.” Then came the plea for help.

Why anyone would fall for such drivel is beyond me.

Another cheating email, this time trying to dupe people into disclosing their bank details, began by addressing the recipient “Dear Costumer”. The only response it got from me was a click on the delete button.