Gut Rumbles

August 31, 2005


I'm not going to post links to all the people helping with relief effort after Hurricane Katrina. The links are everywhere, and if you can afford to give, just make sure you pick an honest organization to contribute to. Thieves and con-men will be out just like the looters in New Orleans, the same way those bastards come crawling out after any disaster.

I remember when Hurricane Hugo was bearing down on Savannah in 1989. I was still living in Savannah then, and things looked pretty bad. I stocked up on batteries, canned goods, filled a few gallon jugs with water, and bought some Coleman lantern fluid for my camping lamp. I settled down to ride out the storm. I had a decent house on high ground.

We were lucky (again) because Hugo swerved north at the very last minute. It brushed Savannah, but it beat the living shit out of Charleston. I went to Charleston a year later and the damage still was evident. Entire forests of trees all laid down or broken off, with the trunks all pointed in the same direction. Businesses still closed from hurricane damage.

Some people I worked with and a couple of church groups made a pilgrimage to Charleston shortly after the storm. They bought ice, bottled water, diapers, food, generators and whatever else they could think of to take up there and GIVE AWAY. They also took chainsaws to help clear the streets. I threw $50 into their pot.

ANOTHER PERSON I worked with rented a refrigerated truck, loaded it with ice that he paid about 50 cents a bag for and drove to Charleston with his brother. Those two vampire bastards sold that ice for $10 a bag and emptied the truck in 30 minutes.

He bragged about doing it, too. "Hey! I helped those people out! They needed ice and I brought it to them. Why shouldn't I make a little money off of it?"

I called him scum of the earth.

He could not understand my outrage over what he did. I tried to explain it carefully. "Bruce, if you enjoy making a profit from other people's misfortunes, I suggest you quit the chemical plant and get into a line of work that's more your style. Why don't you become a funeral director, you piece of shit! Taking advantage of grieving people seems to be something you're good at."


People show their TRUE colors in a crisis. And some of what you see isn't very pretty.


Better yet, just head up to any hotel and give some food yourself to the poor families living there indefinitely, or however long finances will allow.

Posted by: Surfie on August 31, 2005 11:51 AM

As strange as it seems coming from me, an avowed agnostic, I give what support I Can the Salvation Army-primarily because it seems to be able to use the biggest percentage of donations to help the people. The majority of the staff must be volunteers because they appear to have the smallest payroll and spend less than any other charity on paying the staff and raising money.

Posted by: GUYK on August 31, 2005 12:44 PM

I am somehwat surprised that you didn't drag Bruce off and shoot him. He certainly deserved it.

Posted by: Florida Bill on August 31, 2005 12:53 PM

That's a load of crap. Price 'gouging' saves lives.

If Bruce hadn't been able to make a fat profit on a truckload of ice, he wouldn't have bothered. Because Bruce was an asshole, the people who needed the ice the most got it. If they had to rely on the goodness of Bruce's heart, they would've been screwed.

And charging $10 per bag makes sure that the first greedy bastard in line doesn't buy it all.

Price controls, which is all anti-gouging laws are, cause shortages. Law of nature. Sorry man, you're wrong on this one.

Posted by: pdb on August 31, 2005 01:14 PM

PDB--- I hope you rot in hell. You and Bruce can pal up together. You seem to be a lot alike.


Posted by: Acidman on August 31, 2005 03:43 PM

Yes, PDB you need a red hot poker shoved up your ass in the worst way.

Only a complete shitass would take advantage of people in their worst hours of need.

Asshole indeed.

Posted by: gravdigr on August 31, 2005 04:11 PM

Well, PDB will be shocked if there's a hell, I promise. (Knowing him well, and all that). And he's a pretty decent guy, all in all. Well, considering he grew up in Canada. And used to be an ardent leftist and talk about shooting people making money on people's misfortune and things like that. :)

But you can yell at him, but he's totally right.

Hey, if *you* want to drive the ice down there, and give it away, FINE! Why didn't you? Nothing was stopping you.

Was Bruce as altruistic as the other guys? Not at all. But he *did* (obviously) fill a needed or wanted service - notice, despite the donations, there were still people willing to pay $10 a bag? It was worth it to them.

Right now, outside campus, gas is $2.69 at one pump, $2.89 at another, and $3.19 at the third. I pulled in to the $3.19, cause it wasn't worth the effort to try and get into the other two (With cops there because of the fighting). So, did the expensive station rip me off? Should they burn in hell for charging more?

Posted by: Addison on August 31, 2005 04:43 PM

Addison, how about I drive to where you are and charge $10.00 a gallon for gas? Am I being "altrusitic" or a greedy fuck?

I'll let YOU decide that, you barking moonbat. I can see you, Bruce and that asshole PDB if they saw a woman stuck in a ditch after a bad rain around here.

"How much you gonna pay me?"

Fuck every one of you maggots.

Posted by: Acidman on August 31, 2005 04:51 PM


Put me on the list of poeple who think you were too hard on Bruce.

What if he had charged just his direct cost - 50 cents per bag? But wait a minute. His cost also included the truck rental, gas back and forth, time off work, etc. Yeah, 10 bucks sounds excessive, and he deserved a fat lip for bragging. But the fact remains - lots of people were glad to see him.

Posted by: Mark on August 31, 2005 05:08 PM

So, the people who bought that ice shouldn't have had any ice, is what you're saying?

Because obviously nobody was giving away ice to them, or even selling it for $9 a bag.

(Me, I'd be a lot HAPPIER if the guy had sold it at just enough to cover his costs, but it's pure economic nonsense to say he wasn't giving them something they wanted for a price they'd pay; and we both know damn well nobody else was giving them ice at any price.

Better a 10 dollar bag of ice than no ice at all. Telling the guy who sold the 10 dollar bag he can't do that, or shoudln't, just means that next time there won't be any got-damn ice at all.)

Addison's right; did you drive a truck up there and sell ice, even at cost (because I certainly ain't gonna argue you should lose money driving a truck of ice to people in need)? No? Then it seems a bit holier-than-thou to complain that someone else did the work and made money off it.

It's much nicer to help someone in the rain for free than to charge them.

On the other hand, that truck full of ice didn't just happen to drive by people who needed ice. He had to specifically get the truck, buy the ice, load it, drive it, and return it. Tow trucks ain't free either, last I checked.

I understand and sympathise with your gut feeling on this, but the hard fact is that his "profiteering" supplied something to those people that no other source was supplying.

Posted by: Sigivald on August 31, 2005 05:15 PM

Well, you *can* try that, but you'll be out a lot of money. See, it's only $3/gallon here.

But feel free, c'mon over. Pick up Denny when you go through ATL, he keeps begging off on the cookouts on this side of ATL.

Now, if gas *wasn't available* here, and you showed up with some for $10/gallong, and I had to have it - well, thanks a bunch, I appreciate your help. And if it wasn't worth $10 to me, well, you'd be an asshole, and I'd keep walking, until you found somebody it was worth $10 to.

All joking aside, trying to mandate morality causes problems. Florida *still* hasn't repaired from the hurricanes last year. Why not? Because of anti-"gouging" laws. Lots of people would LOVE to pay MORE for stuff to be fixed - but it's not worth it for craftsmen to do that. I know a couple of serious woodworkers. They looked into going down to Florida, til they found that not only couldn't they make more than what they were doing, they'd have a hard time covering their expenses.
So, nobody's ripping off those poor people who don't have roofs.
Of course, _nobody's fixing their roofs, either_. Well, not nobody. Just nowhere near how many would if they could. And as a result, 3 roofs in my super-extended family still have those blue tarps.

So which is worse? Ripping people off, or mandating that they can't overcharge? I'll stick to letting people get "ripped off" if that's my only choice. Because letting people profit *will get stuff there*. I don't think I'd like Bruce very much. But at least he got some Ice down to people who needed it. I was in S.C. when Hugo hit - trust me, sometimes, $10 ice would have been a bargain. I've been involved with hurricane aftermath for 3 more in S.C. - luckily, nothing so bad as Hugo.

Posted by: Addison on August 31, 2005 05:15 PM

It amazes me that people take such glee in ripping off the misfortunate. I'm with Rob on this one.

Posted by: Maeve on August 31, 2005 05:54 PM

If you don't have the resources in the first place, then don't fucking try to "help" people.

Send your money to a charity that won't hang one in their ass.

Christ on a crutch y'all are first class assholes

Posted by: gravdigr on August 31, 2005 06:27 PM

PDB, you cumless twit!
So, this bastard said "fuck you" to the people who had only five bucks in their pockets? These people WILL rot in hell, if the residents of hell are stupid enough to let them in!

Posted by: James Hooker, ace of aces on August 31, 2005 07:05 PM


You make the same argument that I've heard Boortz repeat over, and over, again.

I understand your point. I do. But I take issue with your claim that "the people who needed the ice most, got it." I suspect, strongly, that only those who could afford it, got it.

I also suspect, strongly, that Bruce was not in it for the humanitarian effort, but for the profit alone.

And, folks, don't even start in on me with the whole..."well, then perhaps you should do something yourself" bit. I do. And I am.

I also do not believe for one moment that those who choose not to jump into the fray themselves give up their rights to openly criticize those whom they consider unethical.

I may never run for president, nor congress, nor the local school board...but it doesn't mean that I can't point the finger when I believe they've crossed the line.

Rob, in typical fashion, pointed out what he believes to be true too.

Posted by: jmflynny on August 31, 2005 10:19 PM

Addison and PDB--grow the hell up. You guys gotta be at least 30...I can tell by your comments...but you're still having adolescent dreams of sucking Howard Roark's dick and taking Ayn Rand as verbatim gospel.


Aynie was really smart and said a lot of things right...but she also got some stuff dead flat-ass wrong. Such as the true nature of altruism and who "deserves" to be helped in a time of crisis.

The bottom line is that $10/bag ice after a disaster only rewards them that can afford it...which are not necessarily them that deserve it. Even by Randian objectivist standards.

So I'm with Acidman for the first time in a long time: Eat shit, you craven cornholes.

Good lord...

Posted by: Anonymous bitch on September 1, 2005 01:42 AM

So how should these people have gotten their ice? Wait for the government to truck it to them? I was in Frederick in Mobile in 1979 and the day before the hurricane hit about 100 Davey Tree trucks came and bivouaced in Spanish Fort. Why? Because they knew the next day that people would need their services. And you can be sure their services included all of their costs including some profit. Were they profiteers or providing a valuable service? Supply and demand, folks. What the market will bear. These are absolute truths and no amount of trying to emote them away will work.

Posted by: rivlax on September 1, 2005 11:36 AM
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