I knew a guy who needed a big half inch drive drill for one job so he went down to the Home Depot bought the most expensive one on the shelf, used it and then took it back. He was very proud of himself for “sticking it to the man.” Something about the transaction bothered me, but, like most things, it took me a while to figure out what that something was.
Me I’m a rule follower, and I guess it bugs me when I see folks who don’t play by the rules being subsidized by those who do. The use of that drill wasn’t free, Home Depot just passed the cost of that returned item right on to me, and everyone else who plays by the rules. The Home Depot drill is a small example; a bigger example is the subprime mortgage mess, but it’s still the same principle: take what you can get screw the rest.
I’m a big believer in the Buddhist philosophy that all actions are interconnected. How you behave has a very real impact on others. We Americans are having a hard time realizing that there is no such thing as a free lunch, worse yet there’s no such thing as a cheap lunch or even an easy lunch. Our addiction to oil isn’t free it’s paid for in the blood of American servicemen and women. Our lust for cheap goods manufactured in third world countries is paid for lost jobs and foreign countries that now have us by the short hairs. Our love of fast and easy pseudo-food is paid for by through the roof health insurance rates and tax-payer funded prescription drugs.
The screw you attitude worked for nineteenth and twentieth century America, but in a twenty first century world that is literally falling apart, both physically and economically we here in the States need to get our act together and pull for the common good.