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The Net Takeaway: No Pay, No Help

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No Pay, No Help · 02/26/2006 05:20 PM, Personal

Lots of folks think that pay-for-service is a great model in this capitalistic world. They feel that government should get out of the way of everything, and that its ok to charge the consumer for everything or anything they can.

(Its funny how these same folks complain about DRM (oh, you mean, I have to pay now? Oh, then this sucks!) , but that’s for another time…)

So, it starts coming down to this: If you don’t pay, you can watch your house burn down:

Southwest Missouri firefighters watch as fire hits nonmember

(Via The Consumerist Blog)

Yes, there are details: Surrounding areas went to tax supported rural firefighting, but this area didn’t. Newcomers are left to fend for themselves or pay an annual membership fee.

Yes, the owner offered to pay cash on the spot… but “the Monett department does not have a policy for on-the-spot billing.” If this were on TV, it would be funny. But in real life, its just pathetic.

Look, I get paid well for my specialized services, and I bill by the hour… but I don’t hesitate for a second to spend my time helping a person who has collapsed on a walkway to an aircraft, as I did a few weeks ago. My time is valuable (As is everybody’s; see Bruce Mohl’s column in the Boston Globe) but sometimes you have to overlook commerce for life. Seems obvious to some… but why not all?

That not one firefighter considered breaking rank, that not one person thought about de-droning, says worlds about where we are headed. And you thought Robocop was just an absurdist violence-fest fantasy, didn’t you?

So, my note for today is: Get your money where you can… but keep your priorities straight. If they don’t have health insurance, you can still treat them. If they didn’t pay for your “advanced services”, you can still give them a break every once in a while and let them benefit. And if their house is burning down, then save it now, even if they haven’t paid. Don’t worry, you’ll get your cash one way or another… but more importantly, you’ll make everything a better place, not just for you, but for those around you.

And that is really where we want to be, right?

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