I don't know how things work at your house, but I'm fairly sure that if what happened to the Glazer family this last week happened to us, we'd be selling the furniture.
Or setting it on fire and hurling it out the window, whether the neighbors approved or not.
The Glazers are Malcolm, the sugariest daddy of them all, and his two sons. They own a bunch of stuff, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Manchester United Football Club of the English Premier League.
To understand their relative importance, think of Man U as a diamond-encrusted broach. Now think of TampaBay as the clasp in the back.
Anyway, the Glazers bought Man U for a hunk over a billion dollars despite the objections of fans and business types who thought that they were (a) excessively not English, and (b) leveraged up to their eyeballs.
But Man U is a cash cow with some of the most capacious udders in the sport, was the response, and surely the mint will always be open to print more money, because the team is so relentlessly good. So they borrowed like they were the U.S. Government, and suddenly, they were soccer entrepreneurs.
Well, the relentless Red Devils relented with a white-hot vengeance this past week, eliminated from the UEFA Champions Cup (think the NBA playoffs, Stanley Cup and NCAA Tournament all scrunched up together) by finishing dead last in its four-team group, and so far behind Chelsea in the Premiership that you can actually see winged euros flying out of their offices at Old Trafford.
According to Bloomberg, the news source for people who would rather read numbers than words, that defeat, combined with the pending loss of their long-held multimillion-pound sponsorship with Vodafone and other setback,s could cost the club (read, Mal and the kids) up to $173 million U.S.
According to other sources, that figure is bizarrely out of whack, and that the cost will be closer to $10 million, that they weren't going to win the Champions League anyway, not with the relatively substandard team they have.
But everyone agrees that the Glazer boys have managed to overpay grandly (they reportedly borrowed nearly half the sale price, and could end up paying up to $150 million in interest) for a franchise that is apparently on the slide.
And why do you care? I mean, other than the squinty-eyed vision of the Glazers passing the hat in front of the yule log this holiday season?
Actually, that vision is probably heart-warming enough, if for no better reason that hubris isn't punished nearly as often as it ought to be.
I mean, it's not like the Glazers are going to start selling blood to keep the planes running. They've probably got money in places the Cayman Islands never heard of. In other words, they'd have to buy a old-time locomotive and shovel money into the coal box long enough for 40 intercontinental trips before they'd actually go broke.
But they bought Man U at the absolute zenith of its market value, to the great consternation of their passionate (if xenophobic) fans, using only their ability to borrow and their apparent (if you listen to the xenophobes) lack of interpersonal charm as collateral.
And now it's going, if not to hell, then at least to a desolate corner of Newfoundland.
We share this with you because this is the spending season, in which even the most debt-resistant of shoppers will red-line the Visa card for a plutonium-powered iPod and a cashmere Ottawa Senators jersey. People spend themselves into fat trouble thinking they're safe, and before you know it, there's a flaming armoire flying out the upstairs window.
And if a billionaire whose eyes are bigger than his wallet can get himself into a bind buying the second-biggest soccer team on the planet (next to Real Madrid), then what's the lesson for you?
Exactly. Watch yourselves this holiday season, damn it. Your nephew only needs one bike, and your spouse really doesn't need a second 50-inch plasma screen for the downstairs bathroom. You got an extra buck or two, give it to a panhandler, or a bell-ringer, or the charity of your choice.
And yes, that charity could include a Man U jersey for your son or daughter. I mean, poverty is not a relative thing, but nobody wants to see one of the Glazers bumming Domaine Chandon at Dexter's Midnite Lounge.
At least not much, anyway.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.