If you’re like most people, you’ve probably believed — or still do believe — that everyone should be rich. After all, it would get rid of the greed and solve many conflicts, wouldn’t it? The following story illustrates another perspective. Might help you change your philosophy, might not.
While driving through the nearly empty road, Claudia read a nearby sign. “You are now entering Richville” was posted on the green sign. Upon entering the town, Claudia noticed that her fuel was running low. She looked around and that’s when she noticed something strange.
Only a handful of the stores she drove past were open. Restaurants, salons, grocery stores, everywhere had their lights out and their closed signs in the door. Some had their shutters down. Yet all of the buildings seemed to be well-groomed, as if people still worked there.
Claudia stopped in a gas station. To her surprise, it was closed. She went to another, which was closed. About ten minutes later, she found a self-service gas station. She got out and refilled the car. When the car was full, she decided to get a snack from the mini mart. Naturally, that was closed.
A car drove up to the gas pump. A woman stepped out and began using the machine. Claudia walked over to her.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Why are so many stores closed?”
“You’re definitely new around here,” chuckled the woman. “The employees just don’t feel like coming in today. At least not right now.”
Claudia nodded. “O… kay? So do you know where I can get something to eat around here?”
“Hmm, I don’t know. None of the stores have set hours. Try driving around. Somebody will be open.” With that, she get in her car and drove away.
Claudia did as the woman suggested. Store after store was closed. She occasionally stopped to ask for directions, but people gave the same answer the first woman had. She drove for almost 20 minutes before finding an open restaurant. It wasn’t hard to find a parking space in front of the building. And there were no parking meters. She reached for the door handle just in time to see a man in uniform put a closed sign there. She knocked and gestured for him to open the door. And so he did.
“Miss, I’m closing for the day,” he said.
“Sir, everyone is closed. Can I please have something to eat? I’m just driving through.”
The man looked over his shoulder, then at her. “The ovens are all shut off. You’ll have to eat something from the refrigerator.”
“That’s fine. I’ll take it.”
The man stepped aside to let her in. Claudia entered and walked over to the counter. Patiently, she stood by the counter and waited for the man to get on the other side.
“Just help yourself.”
Claudia turned to see him sitting at a table, facing her. She looked at his name tag and addressed him. “Roy, aren’t you going to take my order?”
“Why should I? I’m off right now.”
“So you’re just going to let me take something out of your fridge?”
“Yeah. Go ahead.”
“What’s the catch?”
“No catch. I don’t feel like working right now. I worked for, like, two hours already.”
Claudia was intrigued. She approached Roy and stood before him. “Two hours? And you’re the only one who works here?”
“Nope. This place has three employees, plus a manager. We come in whenever we feel like it, and close when we feel like it.”
“Didn’t you read the signs coming here? This is Richville. Everyone living here has all the money they need. Why work when we don’t have to?”
“What if somebody gets hungry?”
“When the stores open, most people buy in bulk and take it home. Friends and family of store owners and employees can go food shopping whenever they want to.” Claudia was confused about this town. Without another word, she headed for the other side of the counter. “By the way, that’ll be $5.00.”
“What? I thought you said you were off.”
“I was, but I let you in anyway. And I’m letting you eat food that I made. I don’t make free lunch.”
If you ask people what they’d do if they were rich, a number of them will tell you that they’d never work again. On paper, that sounds great. However, someone needs to “sell” clothes for you to get. Someone needs to provide food for you. Sure, people will still follow their passion and create clothes, rescue people from fires, etc. But how many people are truly passionate about being garbage collectors, fast food employees, or janitors? Would you be okay with the disappearance of those people?
Make a nice day!