Hayjax is in Nottingham

This is what happens when you drop a Canadian into the East Midlands.

Merry Cashmas!

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Did you know the English have found a way to monetize snow?  Not the civilized way, by allowing people to ski on it, but by allowing them to bet on it.

Every year, thousands of British residents lay bets on whether it will snow on Christmas day.  The English will bet on anything that moves, and if it isn’t moving, they’ll slap a bet on the amount of time it takes to start moving again.  There are betting shops everywhere–one of them is called Ladbrokes, and when I made a joke about how it might be a bad idea to put the word “broke” in the name, I was coldly informed that it was pronounced “brook.”  Lesson being, don’t make fun of betting shops.  Or fruitcake, for that matter–don’t make fruitcake jokes unless you want the frosty shoulder. These twin pillars of British culture are sacrosanct.

There’s even a handy online map of the snow odds across the UK. Nottingham is currently 11/8 against, although we’re ankle-deep in the stuff at the moment.  Betting shop William Hill has announced they will have to pay out 1 million pounds to the punters if it’s a white Christmas.

Forums where people can talk about their White Christmas bets are springing up all over the Internet, a phenomenon called “snow-cial networking.” That’s not me making a bad pun, that’s an actual fact.

Obviously, this is bananas, but there is a kernel of wisdom in there somewhere.  I’m thinking we should have weatherpeople put their money where their mouths are.  It’s all very well to stand in front of a bluescreen wearing a sharp suit and making those vague, sweeping hand gestures at incomprehensible “weather systems.”  What if they had to bet fifty buck of their own scratch on the outcomes? Wouldn’t they take their own predictions a lot more seriously, and wouldn’t we feel a lot more reassured?  And wouldn’t we see them as more sympathetic creatures if we knew that every time we walked out of the house without an umbrella and got drenched, they would be feeling the pain along with us?  It’s win-win.  More accurate weather forecasts, more likeable weatherpeople.

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Written by Hayden

December 21, 2009 at 1:34 pm

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