Saturday 24 August 2013
It used to be that transactions were simple and made sense. You had some grain that I wanted, I had some milk that you wanted, so we traded my milk for your grain. And we were happy. Somewhere along the line someone realised that gold was rare (and thus valuable) and could be traded for stuff instead of goods. And then some other genius decided that substituting pieces of paper that represented this money would be simpler and safer.
But ever since then, people have been figuring out ways to save money. Some people go out of their way to reuse things. Others rely on coupons and sales, whilst some do their best to reduce their usage and recycle what they have. And then there are some who completely lose their minds and make an incredibly stupid decision, all in the name of saving a little money.
A man in his 60's was brought to me after he crashed his motor scooter on his way to work. He broke 3 ribs and his wrist, but fortunately he was wearing his helmet so he had no serious brain injury. When the time came to discharge him a few days later, I was elated to hear him say "You know what Doc, I'm done with scooters. They're too dangerous! But that's what I get for trying to save a few pounds dollars euros rubles yuan kronas rupees yen." (You didn't really think I'd let that slip, did you?)
I suppose he saw my quizzical look, because he continued. He informed me that he had bought the scooter because it was cheaper than a car and got great fuel economy. He never once thought about his own safety. Never mind the fact that he took this little thing on the freeway around maniacs driving way too fast while putting on makeup, updating Twitter, and drinking a cup of coffee.
I saw him a few days ago in my office, and he's recovering well. He's already sold the scooter, and he's looking for a used car. One with seat belts and air bags and crumple zones, none of which you'll find on a motorcycle.
You get what you pay for. I guarantee he'll be paying more now (in lost wages, etc) than he would have if he had just bought a car in the first place.
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