I was watching TV while babysitting (after the kids went to bed) and had the only thing that seemed half interesting was a show about shoplifting.
The show profiled some career shoplifters and followed the cops before they busted some pretty big shoplifting rings. One had thieved millions of dollars worth of merchandize from stores such as WalMart, Walgreens, etc. They then sold the merchandise on places like Ebay or in flea markets for a lower price.
It mentioned that shoplifting (both by employees and “customers”) costs the companies so much that increases the costs to consumers. The cost of that shrinkage is added to the price of merchandise so that we, as individuals, have to pay more because of the shoplifting.
As I was watching this, it occurred to me that the actions of others tend to cost us all a lot of money, and in more ways than just shoplifting:
Of course, shoplifting costs us a lot of money because the cost to the company gets added to the cost to the consumer, but it’s also expensive due to prosecution charges for the criminal or thief. The amount of money that the government spends on prosecuting these people costs us all in tax payer dollars as well.
Bad Driving Habits
When you drive like a maniac, you drive insurance premiums up. Then you probably complain about the price of insurance.
We are costing each other (and ourselves) money by doing this. Because of a handful of people’s crappy driving habits, the rest of the population has to suffer with higher insurance premiums.
Many studies show that men drive more dangerously than women, and as such, men have to pay a higher premium in some countries. This is not so in Canada, so the cost of bad driving habits is spread evenly over the population.
Scamming the System
The other day, I came across a person in my organization who was, essentially, trying to scam the system. He was trying to get the company we work for to tell the government that they laid him off, so that he could collect employment insurance (EI) while he took the summer off.
The organization, of course, wouldn’t do it. This is unethical and, quite frankly, pretty angering.
He didn’t get away with it, but consider all of those people who have; there are tons of people scamming the system every day, from collecting employment insurance or welfare when they don’t need it, to cheating on their taxes.
This costs tax payers money, and because of the people cheating the system, we all have to pay the price in higher taxes. The money to support all of these people (who don’t need it) has to come from somewhere; if we only paid for those people who really do need it, that tax money could either be diverted to a more important cause or tax rates could be lowered.
Having inadequate hand hygiene can also cost others a lot of money. If I spread a virus or bacteria that I could have easily washed off of my hands, and somebody else picks it up, they may forced to stay home from work for a few days, resulting in a financial loss.
It also costs money in medications and healthcare. Especially in a place like Canada, with universal healthcare, spreading illness costs tax payers a lot of money.
I’m sure there are a lot of ways that we end up costing other people money. We all do things like I’ve listed above (maybe not shoplifting or scamming the system, but certainly driving like maniacs sometimes). What do you do that costs other people money?