All the World’s a Business

BUSINESS: Banks, insurance companies, religion, prison and parking lots

I try really hard not to be cynical about humans and the world order. Of course there are some honest Abes out there.

I asked a forthcoming bank teller the other day why banks encourage us to swipe our cards rather than withdraw cash. Turns out shop owners have to pay the bank a service fee for using card machines. More physical money in the bank also means higher security expenses.

I asked my favourite pharmacist if it’s bad not to finish a course of flu tablets (as specified on the bottle) once you’re free of the flu. He told me “not at all! It’s only to encourage you to finish the lot so that you buy more.” Most products tell us to use them every day, unnecessarily, so that we’ll buy more.

Insurance companies are up there with the worst. It took me three phone calls before I could leave my car insurance company for a cheaper one. Those with the “gift for the gab” will say just about anything to make you continue paying a monthly premium, even if it’s not car related. Health insurance companies ‘want us to be healthy’ because that means less claims and more profits.

Even parking lots are a business. Close inspection of my parking slip revealed that the owners of a parking lot in Pietermaritzburg were based in Johannesburg. One can assume that that’s where the money is sent.

The Internet is a business. You can’t even watch a video on YouTube anymore without an advert popping up. And just look at all those flashy adverts to your right! I would even go as far as to say that education and politics are business. Religion and superstition are certainly big business. “Show your faith!” The more money you give the more faithful and blessed art thou. Even prison is big business.

To not be cynical about all this is to consider that people aren’t to blame. We are all forced to live under the system that perpetuates this gross behavior. I only wonder if we’ll ever collectively take a stand and do something about it…

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Galen (name), meaning: "Curious One". A lover of language, human ingenuity and the forces of the universe. Hugely drawn towards the mysterious and unknown. Regular laughter and escapism essential.

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