punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Basic Online Dishonesty

I am a member of a web community that recently held auctions where a percentage of the proceeds of the auctions were to go to keeping the board up and running. Out of the 150 auctions, only 4 people paid their fees. Only 4. This really sucks, because it reminds me back when... [wayback machine]

A BBS that shall remain nameless once held a benefit dinner to support a total upgrade and overhaul of the systems. It was running on an old 286, and they wanted to have it run on two new 386 systems, plus a CD-ROM, plus two new phone lines. It was an ambitious plan for 1992, but the benefit dinner already had 100 pledges at $35 a plate. So the dinner came and went. Total take-in was $420. It should have been $3500, but it was $420. According to the very angry sysop, "This barely covered our food bill, in fact, it lost us some money!" The BBS went belly up a few months later.

Another nameless BBS had a huge group dinner, where they collected the tab, and added it up. Later, the sysop found that another member, in a burst of generosity, had paid for everyone on his American Express card. So where did all the cash go? The guy who collected the money should have been told by the head waiter that the bill had already been taken care of. Well, it took only a few minutes to figure out where the money went. The guy who collected the money did give it back, apologized, made up some story, and everyone in the end agreed it should go as a donation. What they didn't know was he didn't pay for all of it back.

My friend Rogue has this saying, "People suck. Individuals may not, but as a whole, people suck." I try very hard not to believe that, but it seems Rogue, being only a scant few years older than I, has more wisdom.

Time and time again, I get shocked how some people are in online communities. I mean, I believe with all my heart that if I say, "I am going to pay you," I should pay them. My word should be my bond, it's how I raised myself. But apparently, I am in the vast minority.

This also marks the first time I think I may have been ripped off by an Ebay seller. I haven't made up my mind about this, because it's only been a month, but I think a product I purchased will not arrive for a variety of reasons. I am only out $20, so I am not so pissed off as I might be if it was $100. And I bet if the seller is dishonest, he or she bets on everyone doing that. Because it was a Dutch auction, and 30 x $20 is a $600 rake. Two weeks ago, I got a letter from another buyer who asked me if I heard anything, which is a bad sign. He said the people he spoke to also said they didn't get the item. And I did my research, he had a good rating, flawless, in fact. Over 600 buyers with no bad ratings at all. Perhaps he died. Maybe he managed to fake all those reviews. Who knows.

But it comes at a bad time. My trust in the human race is sometimes what keeps me going. I believe deep in my heart that basically everyone is a good person, and I want to keep believing that. My father always said, "Everyone is out to get you. I am the only one who cares about you, and I don't even like you." And look how he turned out: rich.

Okay, that is supposed to be funny. But sadly, it's true, which sucks the air out of the funny balloon. He got rich, I suppose, by jealously hoarding his money. He never gave me any of it, even took mine from time to time, and refused to spend money on the normal mundane things like appliance repair and medical bills. I also have this vague idea, based on people who used to work with him, that he got rich by being a soulless backstabber who focused on the bottom line instead of caring who he hurt in the process. That's why defense contractors liked him so much, he made them rich. Of course, he also made a lot of enemies, and while I was growing up, he never had any friends, and hopped from company to company every few years before it all caught up with him. He hated bureaucrats, lobbyists, and any professional, really. Because they got in the way of his money. He REALLY hated my psychologists, which was fine with me, because he was the last one to not know he was crazy.

So I don't want to end up like that. Sure, he may have some house on the beach with his yacht in San Diego somewhere, but... he can't take that with him. And the older he gets, the less he's leaving behind but a legacy of anecdotes about some asshole someone once knew... what's his face? And when he's gone, his assets melt away into monetary obscurity on some deed in a file cabinet in a locked office.

Not me man, I want to get rich because I want to make the money work back for the people. Sure, as my father said, there are a lot of dumb people who don't deserve to have their problems fixed. There are all kinds of dishonest people who will take my donations, and use it for themselves. But I can't live for the dishonest people. I have to live and give to the honest ones, and that's what I keep in my heart.

So screw you, dishonest online people!

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000028.html
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