Fifty Pence Greed
This is the first of three essays centred upon the greed of humans. Each essay is based upon real events and will become chapters in my next book of short stories.
A friend is the best mother I have known. She looks after her child with a balance of love and discipline which is a reflection upon the way she lives her own life. Perfected happiness? I have never seen such devotion. Her family is a happy one due to the truth and integrity which are the foundations of their family success. I am certain there will be many mothers who make the same commitment and their families excel due to the hard work and consistent effort which builds a secure future.
In this essay the mother should have a name, no one who is such a kind, complete and transparent human should be anonymous. From this point onward I will give her an identity, she is Becky. Becky is a hard working nurse. And a dedicated mother and wife who looks after her home and possessions. Which is the way of those who have to earn the money to purchase every thing they own.
It is worth considering that the items we cherish are most often paid for with our life hours. Each hour of work is alchemised into money which in turn is exchanged for our material needs. Money earned literally represents used lifetime. The exchange of life hours for money is a principal commitment to any families security and happiness.
Becky’s daughter is loved beyond words. There is healthy food and an ice-cream or occasional biscuit is a treat not a bribe. Education does not stop at the nursery learning to read, write and calculate are part of everyday normality. Every weekend is a joyful, strong interaction between friends and family, a growing life of happiness, protection and peace. This little girl is dressed each day in fresh clean clothes, bright colours are the way, nothing dull or mundane and due to the little girls speedy growth clothing does not last long. Not that they are in poor condition, far from it. I’ve never seen her in anything which is scruffy or thread bear.
From time to time Becky lists the outgrown clothes on eBay. Not, I suspect to make money. I feel the listings provide a small contribution to the new clothes which need to be purchased as her daughter grows and benefits other parents who buy good clothes in excellent condition. The auction monster is a difficult beast to tame. Near on impossible if truth to tell, high fees and a real effort to keep the listings alive, one has to be dedicated and ethical seller to succeed with eBay as is getting a bad reputation. The rules are notorious for being bias toward the purchaser and neglecting the seller. As Becky discovered on Sunday evening.
Becky listed a tee shirt which has a Disney theme at a glance one would not think it had been worn. As is the devil of auctions the listing sold for fifty pence and two pounds eighty postage. The auction over the item was posted to the winner, nothing more to be done the transaction concluded.
“My daughter received the Disney tee shirt and she says it is only fit for the rubbish bin”. Its the eBay nightmare. A potential negative feedback from a lying buyer. And I know the buyer is lying. In certainty a thief. Not a thief of fifty pence and two pound eighty in postage. The buyer is a thief of human integrity. A thief of human integrity? Yes! Because the possible threat of negative feed back can make a seller succumb to the wishes of the e-Buyer. And make amends for faults which are non existent, in fact the faults are deceiving lies. Becky is understandably upset as her e-Bay reputation could be effected by negative feedback from a mean and disgraceful woman who values pennies more than honesty and truth. E-Bay allows the e-Buyer to punish the innocent with unfair complaints from the buyers.
The auctioneer is bias toward the buyer which is why its reputation is becoming soiled. The neglect of the sellers and the judge, jury and executioner attitude encourages this type of deception. Injustice produces a bitter emotional feeling and injustice makes the victim less trustful of strangers.
Think about the situation and the fact that stories often remind a reader of real situations or events and therefore evoke an emotional reaction. The woman lies over a three pounds and thirty pence deal. I write this essay and a reader on the other side of the world is reminded of a similar situation or the unfair and unjust rules and laws which effect the innocent. Does the example have its parallels? For example, judicial outcomes which defy common sense. The criminal who uses the weight of the law to avoid conviction. The e-Buyer who wishes to deceive the seller through the blackmail threat of leaving poor feedback. Fifty pence or fifty-thousand pounds the sentiment is exactly the same, a deception is a deception.
Losing fifty pence and the postage is no great drama. The damage is the intent of deception and the poison of the threats possibility of damaging a reputation. An innocent victim paying the price of a thief’s lie. Read or listened to the same story before? Of course you have. Injustice is as fatal as a cyanide pill to confidence and open-mindedness. It’s not long before the innocent become guarded and set up their own defences. Often the innocent end up not trusting anyone or if they are sharp they will see though the greed. For example I once knew someone who used to enjoy saying, “Do not trust anyone” she was a mean tight fisted woman who used to keep uneaten toast and use it for fried bread the following day ‘Thats the way to make money in catering’ she used to say. She would find fault in everyone and could not see her own. The e-Buyer reminded me of the caterer. Thats the way of association, one string of thought takes us to another. It is worth thinking about the meanness of individuals and the effects their greed has upon the innocent who become effected by their actions. In the case of the hotel keeper above I know for certain guests saw the penny pinching as a reflection of the way the establishment was organised and customers were lost.
Becky is a woman of integrity, the way she looks after her family, the way she lives life and wastes not a moment of it shines through in her reply to the message to the e-Buyer.
“I am sorry you did not find the article up to your standards. Would you confirm that you are able to post the item back to me. When I receive your assurance that you can do this I will refund you in full and send an extra three pounds so the item can be returned. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, I will be happy to answer them. I look forward to your reply so as your account can be refunded and enable you to return the item. Many thanks for your assistance.”
A reply came back ‘I will ask my daughter what she would like to do.’ One week later she is still awaiting instructions. I do not have to wonder why this would be.
The key is rather than attempt to protect her reputation and integrity then enter into futile argument. Becky had faith in her description of the item and had the confidence to reply in a way which ‘wrong footed’ the e-Buyer. The reply left the buyer no way out, she could either keep the item or return it.
When the author writes a story every situation should have an outcome. It is important not describe any situation or character unless there is a purpose or reason they are in the story. Truth to tell unique story lines are difficult to find, it is the characters, their tests, difficulties, pains and disasters which make the stories. The writer has to at some stage draw from examples of real life situations which will become adapted and then introduced into the fiction. How many President assassination or space disaster films have been made over the last fifty years? Ten? Twenty? The e-Seller and hotel owners meanness can be turned into many short stories or used as foundations for novels. Becky’s episode could be hyped into a story where an item is taken by a friend for appraisal. The reality is the friend cannot afford to buy the item and begins to make excuses for not returning it, the situation escalates from argument to violence. An astute writer could decimate a family over the sale of a lawn mower and rebuild the same family when Grannie Jones enter the story. The wise old woman has high life values and her integrity, love and devotion brings the feuding clans back into harmony. Stories are everywhere, we do not have to listen or look very far to discover incredible seeds for wondrous novels and short stories and the real winning dramas are the ones which have strong and powerful characters as the central figure. Just like the real life Becky.