#094: Change of Standard

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

I was reading through some messages the other day and ran across a discussion on credit card companies, and how they rip people off. The person who posted it went on to say the credit card companies ‘prey on stupid people, and that there should be a law against it’. I stopped to think about this for a second and realized the changes that have taken place over the past few years.

A change of standards. This is kind of hard to describe but this is a good example. Five years ago, there were probably about half as many laws as there are today. If you were to read every law in every state, as well as every federal law, you would realize that over 50% of laws are protecting citizens against companies, businesses, organizations, etc. They all have one thing in common though. They protect the stupid. What I mean is this: A company thinks of a way to make money by offering this service at this price. On the same form telling about the service they have a clause that states “if such and such does not pay within 1 week of receiving the bill, the bill is doubled”. Naturally, since people are slow at paying bills, they pay late, get charged double, and have a problem with it. They call the Better Business Bureau and complain that they just got ripped off, and that they didn’t know about that part of the service, and that the company is only trying to steal their money.

Next thing you know, a law is passed that protects people from companies that charge double for late bills. This of course is just a fictional example, but play along for a minute. Now you have a person or family that heard about the service, read the literature (maybe), signed up for it, signed the papers stating they understood about the double billing process, elected to take the service, and went on with their lives. No one made them take the service. No one made them sign without reading. It is THEIR fault for not reading carefully, and it is THEIR fault for not paying on time.

Events like this go to show that Americans are becoming ‘dumber’ than before. I guess that is the best way to describe it, for lack of better words. It used to be that if you got caught in that kind of situation, it was your own fault. You had to get out of it by your own means, and afterwards if you think something was unfair, you complained to the BBB. Not these days. This is a free company, a land of opportunity. If someone has the ways, and can live off other’s stupidity, then let them. Scam Artist should be an accepted profession these days, because there are so many out there making a killing. This isn’t the friendly country we used to live in. Being generous these days can and will often times kill or hurt you.

So what can you do to avoid it. Read the fine print. Ask questions. Go with your hunch. If you think something is a scam, don’t buy into it! It is really that simple. If a sales rep will not answer all your questions then ask someone else. Keep asking until you get the answers. If you don’t, something is up! They don’t want you to know something about what you are buying, probably because it is a ripoff in some way or another. Use your head when out in the real world. If you see someone having car troubles and you want to help, call the police and let them know. They will send someone to help out and get a tow truck or something. Don’t go places late at night where you are unarmed or unfamiliar with. If someone mugs you, it is partially your own fault. What the hell were you doing walking out in unfamiliar areas, late at night? Stay inside where it is safe.

Despite what you may think, it is very possible to invite crime into your life. If you leave money laying around on the dash of your car, you are almost begging for someone to smash a window and take it. If you are wearing nice clothes, nice watch, big wallet hanging out of your pocket and are walking through a ‘bad’ neighborhood, then you are just asking for someone to mug you. Even though it is sad that this world has come to that, you have to start thinking on those terms. Think about your surroundings, and where you fit into them. That alone will stop you from being a victim as well as stop crime that would have happened.

The laws being passed to help stop people from getting scammed are only creating a worse environment for people to live in. The more laws that protect you, the more you rely on them in everyday life. When someone new comes along and rips you off, you then bitch to everyone that there should be a law to stop that. NO. You should have used your head and it wouldn’t have happened. YOU should have been the one to stop it before it happened. YOU should have asked more questions and been more familiar with what was going on. It is no ones fault but your own.

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