Yesterday I went into a Wireless Wave store and asked the clerk what phone I should get.

Without hesitating, he said “Blackberry”.

Smooth. Fast. Passionless.

“Really?”, I said. “A Blackberry?! Why?”.

“Because it’s good for business”,  he said.

“Bullshit” I told him. “I hate my Blackberry and I’m in business. What do you really think?”

Good question.  We walked over to the counter where no one else could hear us. We talked in hushed voices. He whipped his iPhone 4 out his back pocket and said “I’m not supposed to say this – but hands down, this is the best phone out there.” Then he proceeded to show me why he thought so. There was more than a little passion.

So, I don’t know what incentives RIM is pushing on their distributors to sell Blackberries, but clearly staying alive depends on pushing sales people who know better, to lie.

I’m Canadian and sure, I would love to think that RIM isn’t the next Nortel. But I do.

Earlier in the week I met someone who felt RIM’s problems stem for being unfortunate enough to come up against Apple. I don’t buy it.

RIM’s problems stem from being a technology company, locked too closely to an engineering University, in an insular little town in southwestern Ontario that celebrates quantum physics over user interface.

Yesterday’s Globe and Mail had an interview with a stressed-out Lazaridis, co-CEO, suggesting that given how little appreciation Canadians like me have for RIM (hey, I’ve thrown more than a few bucks at the cause), maybe they should have bolted for the big-time US years ago.

Go Mike, go. Good idea!

So, yesterday I was in a Staples store (big shopping day). The clerk was wearing a Playbook t-shirt – getting ready for the big launch day next week. I asked him if they were ready. He smiled and said, “we don’t think we’ll sell very many”. I think they blew it.”

Wow. Note to Staples head office. The incentives aren’t working.