The local hardware store just got a shipment of fine new generators. Nice Hondas. The quiet/efficient ones that are a cool and sleek counterpoint to the loathsome over-revved rattletraps that box stores crap out. There were about a dozen lined up (a huge stock for my rural area!). The price seemed fair.
I want one! I lust for a Honda generator like other men lust for a Ferrari. (Homesteaders are just as materialistic as anyone else. I may scoff at a new iPhone but if you mess with my woodsplitter you’re going to die.)
Sadly I’m cheap. I prefer money in my pocket to a new generator. We all must make choices.
This got me to thinking about folks who need a generator far more than myself. Lucky I’m not that screwed! Aren’t there a bunch of folks penned up in NYC that are still wanting for power? Imagine the horror of warm beer! Last I knew they were protesting and bitching about FEMA and engaging in other time wasting activities to express their displeasure. If I were in their shoes (which would never happen) I’d buy one of those Hondas no matter what the price. I’d have it faster than you can say “smoking credit card” and never look back.
I suspect the supply of generators in Sandy’s wake is a mite slim. Hmmm… Soon I was scheming.
The price looked fair, there was ample stock, I’ve got a big ass truck, a criminally high credit limit, and a hankering for a road trip. I’m not above “adventure” and the hardware store has a good return policy. I could buy a bunch of these babies and deliver them to some poor slobs locked in the city. Hopefully I’d swing enough profit to cover my time and fuel. If, for some reason, New Yorkers would rather freeze in the dark than pay cash for a generator I’d return them to the store for a full refund. I’m always willing to risk a tank of gas on a stupid idea.
If I added a couple hundred per unit to cover costs and another 10% I could get me one of those magic red power makers by delivering/selling ten. Right now there’s a market of people who lack the technology to make beer cold. Win win!
You know where this is going. Reality set in. There’s a modern word that’s routinely misused when someone adds a couple hundred per unit to cover custom delivery to the middle of a FEMA clusterfuck; price gouging. And selling without a permit. Without Union labor. Etc… In 2012 engaging in legal but informal trade is, paradoxically, de-facto illegal.
People who can’t legally buy a large soda sure as hell aren’t going to have the freedom to greet me and a truck full of generators. They’re too busy protesting, or suffering, or whatever people who are locked in a city do when the lights go out.
I got in my truck and drove home. I had a cold beer by the warm fire and thanked my lucky stars I’m not some Mayor’s pet. As I post this I presume a bunch of city dwellers are still sitting in the dark. That sucks but they’ve got to live in the cage they built and this particular redneck, who could help, isn’t going to deal with the drama.
See? I just explained Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in 600 words.