I Vote “Portent”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

EBT computer system in Louisiana went down for a few hours.  The EBT cards did not show a credit limit.  Shoppers were pissed so Wal-Mart management said “Ignore the limit, honor the cards.”

Shoppers went on a spree, cleaning out the store. You know they’ll never have to pay it back.

Question is: is that a particular cultural thing specific to Wal-Mart shoppers, or a portent of things to come when the US government no longer can pay its debts?

Joe Doakes

There are two iron clad rules of human behavior:

  1. In a crisis, humans will exceed authority’s expectations.  Sometimes.
  2. If it’s not a crisis, but merely entropy setting in?  All bets are off.

OK, so those aren’t so much “iron-clad rules” as they are signs I’m un-thrilled about the prospects.

4 thoughts on “I Vote “Portent”

  1. It’s not specific to WalMart shoppers, but dishonesty is a trait that does run rampant through the ranks of wards of the state.

  2. I think it’s a trait common to some members of all groups; socioeconomic, racial, political, you name it. It may be more common to some, but not exclusively.

    We have become so rule-bound that many of us are guided only by restrictions and consequences. Like dogs, many will keep eating until they vomit, get too ill to eat more, or the food is taken away. On the other hand, cats will only eat what they need and only return to its food source when it needs to. One of the few (to me) admirable qualities they possess.

    If sanctions were sought, criminal or civil, I doubt that most juries would find against the over-chargers. The government would be considered to be at fault for causing the circumstances which prompted the bad behavior. Besides, it’s not real money, it’s credit. No harm done.

  3. Everyone would like to think that they nor anyone they know would ever take advantage of such a situation like this – that it’s limited to those “other” people or in this case, as people here in the Great ‘White’ North (I’m thinking of you Non-Monkey) would say – “those” people in the South. If you think thats true, you have never been to a hotel happy hour reception with free food & drink watching the normal teetotaler and lactose intolerant gorge themselves on the free box wine, sub-premium beer, stale nachos and cheese & crackers simply because it was free. Like my bumper stick says “If It’s Free, It’s for Me!!
    I guess it’s time for a re-read of Viktor Frankls “Mans Search for Meaning” again.

  4. Count me among those who gladly take advantage of the free lunch, too. However, I consider the lunch free only if it is offered “free” without expectation of compensation other than being a guest in the hotel, purchasing a drink, or whatever else qualifies one to indulge freely for free.

    Perhaps a better self-check might be the amount of money you’re accidentally
    “over-changed,” or mistakenly under-charged before you call the clerk’s attention to the error. Or, for the items you find on the bottom of your shopping cart when you get to your car, that accidenatlly didn’t get rung-up because they were covered by something.

    Those with the no limit EBT cards knew that what they were doing was wrong, regardless of what Walmart, using King Solomon-like discretion with others’ money, allowed them to get away with.

    It’s possible that we’re all thieves, we just have different thresholds that need to be met before we allow our inner thief to take over …

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