Saturday, July 14, 2007

A keener sense of fairness

That's what this world needs: Fair play. I hope I never get so successful that I forget where I came from or what fair play is.

Why is it the people with the least amount of money have to pay the most for things?

Phone company deposits. Utilities deposits. Insurance penalties. Those aren't paid by rich people. They're paid by people who have trouble paying their bills -- the very people who have trouble coming up with the money are forced to come up with the money.

If you're rich and famous (or an influential politician), people are happy to give you things for free: couture gowns, jewelry, appliances. If you're broke, pay your own way.

Three times on her tv show on Bravo, Paula Abdul asks ordinary citizens around her for a few bucks because she's hungry.
1) Does she pay these people back? Or do they forever bask in the glory of having helped a rich person get something for free?
2) Can't she pay one of her entourage to always have 20 bucks of her own money on hand, for such impulse buying?
I'm sure she's a good person. Maybe she should make an effort to show compensation so that people like me don't get the wrong idea.

Rich people can buy their way out of jail and prison. Witness that French-named inheritor to the hotel fortune. Does access to such riches and special considerations build character? No -- in fact maybe it makes it harder to be good. TV shows seem to glorify the wild side of the rich and famous and their progeny.

Bookstore returns? Simply rip off and send the covers back to the distributor, to get credit for the books. Be sure to destroy the remains: Don't give away books without their covers, not even to poor people who might really benefit from them. It's against the rules.
I learned this when my husband worked at a college bookstore 25 years ago and it still grinds me. Surely there's a better way to handle this.

Leftover restaurant food? Don't give it directly to the hungry. It's unsafe!

Can't afford to buy a tv or a new couch? Just rent one, paying by the month until you own it. But -- it'll cost you extra. Maybe twice as much as if you had the money to buy it in the first place.

Need a couple hundred dollars to get you through until the next paycheck? Simply take out a loan -- those paycheck loan shops are proliferating around here! You'll pay back the loan... plus a hefty rate of interest.

This is the American way.
But if you ask me, it's twisted.


me said...

It's not just the "American way". We are the same north of the 49th parallel.

It's infuriating. It's idiotic. What's person to do?

I try to make personal choices--and what may amount to tiny gestures--daily that do not subscribe to that way of thinking.

On a cheerier note, I picked up a copy of "Ellie McDoodle..." a couple weeks ago. Because it's new, there wasn't a single copy in the entire city. I love it. Hopefully now it's on the local booksellers' radar.


Ruth McNally Barshaw said...

Tiny gestures can move mountains. You're doing the right thing and I'm impressed.

Thank you for buying Ellie McDoodle. :)