The other day, Bandobras related his recent adventures in helping a younger friend move. The young friend had made arrangements to rent a U-Haul to transport all his belongings.U-Haul totally messed up their reservations and was completely unapologetic for their mistake and for throwing a big wrench in an already stressful day.
Bandobras noted that U-Haul must have the same customer service policies as the Greyhound bus company, who I once make the mistake of patronizing. Long story short – it was a nightmare from start to finish.
What U-Haul and Greyhound have in common is that they both service people who have no other choice. U-Haul is the bottom of the barrel moving option for those who can’t afford to rent from a more reputable rental agency or can’t afford professional movers or don’t have enough friends with trucks and/or energy. Greyhound is the bottom of the barrel transportation option for people who can’t afford anything else and need to go somewhere.
So, basically these two companies have monopolies as far as the unmonied go and therefore can treat their customers any way they like; any way that’s least costly and least inconvenient to the company.
I’m sure we’ve all, at some point in our lives, been forced to deal with a company we found at the bottom of a barrel and who, consequently had us over a barrel. Maybe they were the only game in town or maybe they were the only ones we could afford. And they knew it and treated you like crap.
And therein lies, what I think is one of the worst things about being poor – the lack of choice. Not just in transportation or truck rentals, but in everything. The only choices they get to make is to take the cheapest option for everything or do without.
And there are sharp operators out there who take full advantage of that – like U-Haul and Greyhound and landlords and employers. Poor people have to take the crappiest housing and can’t complain about the condition of the place because they have no where else to go. They have to take the shittiest jobs because they never had the option to educate themselves enough to get better jobs, so they have to put up with whatever their employers choose to dish out if they want to keep working.
With this latest recession or economic slump or whatever you want to call it, lots of people have lost their jobs and the money lenders have swooped in to give the poor completely unaffordable loans they are forced to take in order to keep themselves alive.
Those cheque cashing/payday loan places like Money Mart have been wise to fleecing the poor for quite some time. Likewise all those rental places where you can get furniture and giant TVs and appliances for low, low, low weekly rates. And those Don’t Pay a Cent Until 2012 shops.
And lotteries. Take a look at the people in line at your local lotto booth. Most of them are people plopping down $10 or more every week that they can ill afford. But it’s the one small bit of something resembling hope they still have, I guess. That’s your provincial/state government making money off the poor.
And then there are people who have decided it takes too long to squeeze pennies out of the poor. They figure they can make a lot more from them by harvesting their organs. People like New Jersey Rabbi Levy Rosenbaum , who has been all over the news lately for dealing in black market human organs. For decades he’s been buying organs from the poorest people in the poorest nations in the world and selling them in the US for up to 100 times what he paid for them
Poor people like the guy in Pakistan in this article: Man must choose between selling kidney or child.. He can’t pay his rent, so, like thousands like him, he was given the option of selling one of his kidneys or selling one of his children. (I’m waiting to see what exactly is done with these children that are bought and sold. No one expanded on that end of the story.) Anyway, either the child or the kidney will net the man about the equivalent of 1300 US dollars. That’ll keep him going for a few months and will earn Rabbi Rosenbaum about $180,000 back in the States.
How low can you go?