Gut Rumbles
 

September 01, 2005

vampire bruce

I'm still pissed at Bruce for going to Charleston and selling ice for $10 a bag after hurricane Hugo, but I'm even more pissed with some of the reactions I got after I told that story. What kind of people are you?

Just suppose that Bruce knew of a woman with a diabetic child who was out of insulin. Would you applaud him for taking a bottle of insulin to Charleston and charging her $10,000 for it? After all, if she didn't buy it, her child would die. In that situation, $10,000 is a "fair market price," isn't it?

Some of you assholes seem to think that if Bruce had done that, he would have come to the child's rescue, like some kind of knight in shining armor. I think you're full of shit.

Taking advantage of another person's woe is WRONG in my book. I don't give a damn about the circumstances or some asinine libertarian ideas about supply and demand. You just don't kick people when they're down. Period.

To me, gougers such as Bruce are no different from the feral looters running wild in New Orleans right now. "Steal While You Can" is the motto that motivates such people.

If you think that's right, I want nothing to do with you.

Comments

You're right. I linked to your "World Full of Idiots" post earlier today..I have no idea how to do a trackback or if that even works with blogger...

Funny, these same people applauding Bruce are the very same ones BITCHING out LOUD about the gas prices....ironic, eh?

Posted by: Kelly on September 1, 2005 03:20 PM

Great post, good for you! Someone needs to make a stand and say that some things are just plain wrong.

Posted by: Dave on September 1, 2005 03:35 PM

I haven't seen this much projection since I went to the display show.

Kelly: I didn't applaud Bruce. Neither am I bitching about the gas prices. I expect they'll go up. I'm defending people attacking the gas stations, some of whom are scared they might be out of gas - maybe out of business, and are angry that they raised their prices to compete with that.

I notice that Rob's still not addressed his hypocrisy in _staying to work at a profitable business_ but condemming someone who took the opportunity to better other people's existance in his own way.

Rob: The guys you said I called fools? I never said that. You made that strawman, and set it on fire. I wish them the very best, and think that anybody helping deserves kudos, appreciation, and respect. Hooray for them. Pulling together, we can make a difference - I fully believe that. But I also know that the only way to get real progress is to have the risk offset by the reward.

Hey, you want a communist state? With who gets the ice decided by Hillary Clinton/Janet Reno/John Ashcroft/Pat Robertson (Pick your boogeyman)? Well, screw you, hippie! I'll fight you every last inch. The choice your "friend' offered people was ICE. They HAD NONE, HE GAVE THEM SOME. Funny thing... do you bitch at the grocery store for charging you $2.99/lb for beef? After all, they're making money. What about for Milk? Bastards!

It *is* the same thing. You've created a line, which wanders back and forth depending on where you see YOUR interest. (Given back all those capital gains yet?) You worked to get a plant back in production.

And I think that's a damn good thing - don't get me wrong, and don't lie about what I think about it. You getting the plant back in operation meant that your product was available. For industry. To make batteries, amongst other things. In *what you did*, you helped the interlocking weave of society GET BACK ON ITS FEET.

And in the meantime, Bruce made a few bucks - probably not enough to justify taking time off of work, if he was hourly (although it's possible he didn't factor it like that) - and people who had nothing had something.

You want to rant and rave, you'd better be in front of CVS screaming about your meds, or Publix about your food, cause they're PROFITING OFF OF YOU, MAN.

And to turn it around - if we had insulin here, on the other side of ATL. And you needed in in Savannah, and ATL was like NO is now - what would you *offer* to get your kid the insulin? What would it be worth to you - to get me to risk my life to get it to you?

And you know who's got my vote for humanitarian of the year in the diaster relief? The damn marines. Who are about to go save NO from itself - and they're doing it for a fraction of what those FEMA bastard are getting - and pissing away.

Posted by: Addison on September 1, 2005 03:37 PM

You can't polish a turd.

Posted by: gordon the magnificent on September 1, 2005 04:00 PM

Yeah, hyperventilating like an emotional woman makes your case.

In candy-cane gumdrop happy sunshine land, everyone helps each other, there's never hurricanes, and there's never shortages of critical supplies and therefore never a need to assign prices based on supply and demand. Swell. But in reality, where there's only so much X for Y people, there has to be a way to make sure that everybody only buys what they need and they don't hoard. It's called price gouging.

The choice isn't between Bruce bringing ice to the needy for free, and Bruce charging money and making a buck. It's between people getting ice and people NOT getting ice. Seeing as how he sold all he had at $10/bag in 30 minutes, maybe he wasn't charging enough.

This happens every single day, but somehow it's not a catastrophe worth a hissy fit. ER docs charge patients for the visit. Tow trucks cost money. Prices go up and down on essential items every hour but apparently they're not assholes or thieves. Where's the line? 5%? 25%?

Sheesh. What a bunch of communists. This is exactly why Dimocrats keep getting elected, because of mush headed morons who flunked out of econ and can't think critically.

Posted by: pdb on September 1, 2005 04:02 PM

People like that should have been shot on site....I am a Charlestonian! I survived Hugo, Bertha, Fran and a few other bitches nature threw at me.
People who came up or down or over with their magnetic sign on their pick up trucks willing to "help" you for $50 an hour. Cash only, please.

$10 a bag of ice is taking advantage of people, he is a gouger and if not shot should have been handed over to the few of us who knew how to deal with his kind.

Posted by: Saphyre Rose on September 1, 2005 04:06 PM

Addison,

We all have our personal dividing line between honorable and dishonorable activities. Sometimes it is fuzzy...as in dickering over an inflated price. But I would say that the majority of people out there would consider $10 a bag for ice to be well over that 'reasonable' limit.

Rob was not being hypocritical in merely going back to work, he was helping to being an important economic asset back online which had in itself been damaged by the hurricane and so in his own way indirectly helping with the relief effort for the area.

You have been losing this argument for some time now, and 3 posts worth of counterarguments have not dissuaded you yet, so I have little hope that this one will. I merely hope you realize the moral ditch you have managed to dig yourself into. Enjoy the mud.

Posted by: Colin on September 1, 2005 04:10 PM

I'm a believer in capitalism - the allocation of resources is best done in a free market. Planned economies, where production and prices are set by a central authority, have never been anything but miserable failures, and to keep them operating a Police State usually has to be set up - because they go against the grain of human nature. Remember the USSR?

But - and this is, as the fat-assed girl said, a big but - there are conditions under which the market economy does not work. Monopolies are one, and disaster conditions are another. That's why our country is not a pure free-market economy; it's regulated. That helps curb the abuses that can take place in situations like this one.

Making a reasonable profit is one thing - although a decent human being recognizes that there are times when you should do things pro bono. Gouging and profiteering is another.

Taking advantage of people in desperate starits is not doing them a favor, even if they need that bag of ice enough to pay $10 for it.

The example Rob cites is that of a classic profiteer. I say fuck 'im.

Posted by: Elisson on September 1, 2005 04:12 PM

Acidman,
You are on point.

The chicken-shit motherfuckers should all have a place reserved in hell so horrible that not even the devil likes to goto...

While they are all still on the earth, they should all be required to line up and get anal-raped by HIV infected sodomists.

But that is just my oppinion...

Posted by: GMT on September 1, 2005 04:16 PM

Addison--well, aren't you just a PRINCE for having the heart to feel good about our Marine Corps! That's it! I've changed my mind! You're not a bogtrotting, tin-chested moron after all!

**Ahem**

Seriously, here's so much B.S. in your comment it's not even worth hauling out the intellectual front-end loader it would take to fisk it. But I will say you should quit invoking the social "isms" card and trying to compare how business as usual is and should be done with how business should be done during an acute, immediate catastrophic crisis like Katrina. Or Hugo. The two situations are not comparable, and you're making yourself look even worse than you already do when you try to argue as if they are.

Nor is the rebuilding stage after something like this comparable to business as usual...sure things can, do, and should cost more...but there are limits of decency there, too. But that' not really what we're talking about here...you're the one who needs to quit fronting the straw man and trying to pretend that it is.

And about some of those drug companies and chains that you claim we should be upset with on a daily basis for drug profiteering if we want to be completely consistent in our views? I'd bet a pretty penny they wind up donating a lot of relief...including drugs...to the survivors of this storm. Not because they have to, but because it's the RIGHT THING TO DO. As opposed to charging six time normal market price because the supply is scarce and it cost a couple hundred extra bucks to get the semi down there.

For the record, if it was me, and someone like you tried to charge me thousands of dollars for my kid's insulin when I had no job, no home and no money because of a natural disaster, I'd shoot the amoral sumbitch and take that fucking insulin. Rabid dogs get shot, and someone like that is just as much of an animal, and just as sick.


Oh, and Acidman...you're enjoying this, aren't you?

Posted by: Anonymous bitch on September 1, 2005 04:24 PM

Rob, you're still dragging this topic around? Sheesh... We get it already: the guy was a prick. But I'm not sure your readers who think shooting a guy/wishing HIV on him/damning him to hell over *ice* are worthy of any higher esteem than they have accorded Bruce.

If it had been beer... well, that's a whole different ball of wax.

Posted by: Scott on September 1, 2005 04:44 PM

Colin:

If, by "losing the argument" you mean, "Explaining Econ 101, the first week", well, I guess you've managed to redefine that.

In the meantime, my concrete example of the "anti-gouging" and it's effects stand alone. The cousin's roof? It's still gone. If I were "losing", I'd expect you'd be able to, well, show me I was wrong. But the roof ain't fixed. Sorry if I hesitate to think I'm losing.

And it's not about winning, or losing. It's about _how people work_. That's what Economics does - it models people's behavior. Look at what 2 people have said in this thread - they'd shoot someone who had supplies they needed. Well, that means the risk went up, so did the price. That's simple econ. That's how things work. Wish we lived somewhere where that didn't happen? Well, that's your delusion, not mine. Doesn't happen.

You want to give your money and things away? Fine. But when you fail to recognise that by seizing other people's property by force - you create the situation where LESS PEOPLE WILL HELP, then you're dangerous. That's _your_ decision to scare people away. Which means less people get helped. Unintended Consquences isn't just a book title, people.

Anon. Bitch: Well, you've not pointed to any BS. I've called Rob on his hypocrisy - that his work was holy, but Bruce's wasn't. Despite "profit" being the *exact. same. motive*. Under his morals, both are wrong. Under mine, both were good. And somehow this is my problem?

Those of you who are so angry at me need to step back and look at things from the other side - and realise that this is why there *is* a lack of investment in many areas. This is *why* drug companies go after viagra and hair regrowth and elective drugs - they won't have people screaming "gimme gimme gimme, and for free!" over those. I want cancer and AIDS cured. But the drug companies are damn leery of putting their money in play. My understanding - the research being done now is either incidental, accidental, or funded by the government on things like cancer, and AIDS. I'd far prefer owing a lot, and being cancer free. But that's just me. You go ahead, seize the property, those pig swine bourgeoisie. Castro would be so proud. And free medicine! For everyone! (So what's the difference between you and the looters?) 200 million dead in the 20th century alone was enough to convince me that the marketplace, as flawed as it can be - which also means that your revulsion works - so you can refuse to buy from the people you don't like - better than your royal proclaimations and whims. "We shall allow you to charge, but not more than $3, no matter what it cost you, for We have spoken, and We are hot". I just tell you what has been borne out again, and again, and again. I don't insult those who help. I don't insult those who don't. But then, on the Liberal Left, feelings are all that matter. That, and the overriding "GIMME GIMME GIMME".

No, sorry. I don't think I'm losing an argument to a 4 year old's mentality. You're free to disagree, of course. Let me know how your New Econ works out in the new commune, and I'm sure nobody here is selling.. anything.. for a.. profit, right?

Posted by: Addison on September 1, 2005 04:50 PM

How many whiny bitches can post in one thread?

You got yourself quite the troll following here at Gut Rumbles.

Posted by: gordon the magnificent on September 1, 2005 04:54 PM

Scott...for the record...I never said I'd shoot anyone over ice. I said I would do that over a child's insulin. And I think I would, my reasoning being that that child at least stands a chance of turning out to be a decent human being, whereas there is no hope for the guy I'm shooting. He's proved himself to be a lost cause and basically a waste of oxygen.

Ice I might spit on him for. But certainly not shoot.

Profiteering on beer or red toenail polish, however, is grounds for racking and slow evisceration.

Addison...honey...you're a gasbag and a moron. Can't put it any simpler than that. You argue like a liberal who's somehow internalized "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" and consequently you are as impervious to reason as you moonbatty brethren on the far Left. Very weird. Buh-bye...

Posted by: Anonymous bitch on September 1, 2005 05:06 PM

From Drudge:

"Man Shoots SIster Over Bag of Ice"

http://www.local6.com/news/4923019/detail.html

I hope Bruce knows how lucky he is...

Posted by: Anonymous bitch on September 1, 2005 05:14 PM

Gee, where'd all the respect for the right to life and property rights go?

Posted by: Brett on September 1, 2005 05:26 PM

You seem quite bent on applying standard economic theory to a disaster area. Most people would consider it within the bounds of regular human decency to not profit grotesquely from human suffering, but apparently you seem to fall outside the margins on that.

The point is not that people are asking for free handouts. The point is that as a human being in that situation, you should be offering them. Profit is a fine motive, but there are limits to all things and a natural disaster of significant magnitude falls outside its scope.

Posted by: Colin on September 1, 2005 05:34 PM

Actually, you can polish a turd and serve it under glass, but when it comes down to it, it's still shit. Anyone that takes advantage of another's misfortune is shit in my book. What goes around, comes around. The assholes will get their due sooner or later.

Posted by: Assrot on September 1, 2005 06:35 PM

Rob, Have you checked Addison's IP? From the length of his posts and the same annoying drivel, I'm feeling a little JPish over here.

Posted by: Dawn on September 1, 2005 07:37 PM

The people who agree with Bruce ripping off people are exactly the same as the sub-humans looting in La. Looks to me like about 10% if the people that live there are trying to help and the other 90% are either looting and killing or standing around with their hand out. I suspect that is typical of the black population in the entire country. 10% have joined the human race and work to support their families and 90% have their hand out. It's almost an exact match for the 10% that are conservative and vote republican and the 90% with their hand out that vote for any liberal asshole dimwit/communist that promises them something for free. It's gone on for so many years they now think they deserve something for doing nothing...

Posted by: scrapiron on September 1, 2005 08:19 PM

There's a difference between a bag of ice and a bottle of insulin.

Now I could be wrong, I don't know anything about emergency situations like the aftermath of a hurricane. But isn't the ice just something people want? They don't need it to live or survive?

If it's just a luxury, then the people with the most money will get it anyway.

And there's also a big difference bewteen selling the ice at an inflated price, and buying up all the available ice and selling it for an inflated price.

Posted by: ErikZ on September 1, 2005 08:57 PM

It may or may not interest y'all to know, that one family from N'awlins whose home is now below water level is currently riding out the crisis in a RV donated by that jerk, addison. Gratis.

He's too modest to post this himself. Lucky for him, I don't have that problem.

Jeeze, what a bunghole, huh?

What have YOU done?

All feathers, no chicken. Typical Democrats.

Posted by: pdb on September 1, 2005 10:07 PM


Addison,

I think a lot of the commenters on this thread are the same people who think the reason we have a shortage of health care is because Halliburton is using more than its fair share.

Dawn,

If you are the Dawn that lives in Lakeland, FL, look around your town at all the blue tarps on roofs that have been there for a YEAR now. Wanna know why? Because your pissant county required contractors to pay $1500.00 a week (ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS. PER WEEK) for workmen's comp. insurance. My QUARTERLY premium in my state is 680.00. Guess what? A repair that I could normally do for 100.00 now costs 500.00. I had to work 3 days a week just to pay the government. And all the lovely people in Lakeland and Winter Haven told me I was overcharging, gouging, etc. I have $7000.00 dollars worth of red ink on my books right now that shows how I overcharged.

I almost went broke trying to get roofs back over people's heads. I sure as hell don't have to listen to them call me a thieving bastard, too.

Posted by: Mark on September 1, 2005 10:10 PM

wow. Just wow! The humanitarian capitalists on here just amaze me with their economic brilliance Rob. Now why didn't I think of making a buck or two off of this tragedy? I'm sure now that there is tons of it to be made.

Crap, maybe I was just wired wrong.

Thanks a lot mom.

Posted by: marcl on September 1, 2005 10:15 PM

I'm not the Dawn who lives in Lakeland but yes, there are blue roofs all around me, in fact, there's one above me too.

I never said I agreed with a damn thing the government does, what I said is that I think it's sad to gouge people in a crisis situation.

I don't recall saying anything about legitimate people making legitimate money, doing legitimate work. I said price GOUGING on items that are considered necessities.

I know all too well that the government officials running this circus are making things harder on the honest businessman and the people who require their services, that's exactly why we don't need anymore hands in the pot trying to take a big cut to line their pockets too.

Honest work for an honest days pay. NOT profiting on someone elses misfortune.

Arguing back and forth on blog comments is not really my thing. I've said what I wanted to say on the subject. I realize everyone won't agree with me and that's fine. Y'all fight amongst yourselves.

Posted by: Dawn on September 1, 2005 11:12 PM

Well I'm late to the party but for the record Bruce is a scumbag and it's astounding that anyone could defend his taking advantage of desperate people.

Okay if he can't afford to donate the load, but I doubt he was only covering expenses at a $9.50 profit. That's not good business, that's blood-sucking greed and he should rot in hell with the rest of the bottom feeders that would bleed poor people to feed their own gluttony.

Posted by: Libby on September 2, 2005 12:23 AM

Yeah what Libby said.

I buy spring water (by the three gallon containers) for my pets. And I am looking at 5 containers of the stuff right now (I always buy ahead) and if there were some way I could snap my fingers and get it to some desperate people in New Orleans, I would.

And as far as the "looters" go, theres a big difference between taking food and water out of grocery store (to feed your kids) and stealing flat screen tv's and Nike sneakers, etc....

I dont think anyone could begrudge someone taking food and water for survival.

Posted by: Ruth on September 2, 2005 07:33 AM

You know, I'll agree that Bruce was being an asshole, but the saddest part of this story is that he was able to do it.

In an ideal, perfect world, Bruce would never have had the opportunity to do what he did, because other citizens would've been doing the same thing, either out of the goodness of their hearts or out of the same capitalistic drive that got Bruce there. No matter their reasoning, because of competition and a larger supply of ice, he wouldn't have been able to charge $10.00 a bag and actually sell any.

This isn't a perfect world, though, and Bruce was able to succeed. He's not the only person in this instance who failed to do the right thing. How many other people sat back, watched the news of Hugo, and said, "those poor people... I'll send them $10" and then changed the station to a Pay-per-view porn movie that they paid $22.99 for? If those people (and I'm one of them -- I've been unable to give what I think I should to the Katrina victims because of the payment on my new car) would get up off their asses and help in whatever way they can, Bruce still would've been an asshole, but he would've been a completely ineffectual asshole.

Bruce was wrong to do what he did, but he wasn't doing anything that should be illegal, in my opinion. It's important for libertarians, whether they're neo- or paleo- libertarians, to remember this, though:

Libertarianism is a fine ideal, but only when it applies solely to the government. Just because we don't have any legal obligation to take care of these people doesn't absolve of of our moral obligations.

Posted by: Robin S. on September 2, 2005 11:20 AM

Alot of you that are commenting on all the looting and all the anarchy that happens during the aftermath of a hurricane disaster have probably never been in one. You watch from your tv and complain about morals and values. I live in florida, i was around for many hurricanes including hurricane andrew which was a category 5 as well. Theres no atms, no money, no food, no water. People will loot food and water to feed there family, while people on tv degrade them as thieves. fuck you, your not starving. Police themselves are looting. Price gauging is wrong i agree, but i would rather pay someone 10 dollars for ice then pay 0 dollars for no ice. Yes he enriched himself on our misery, but those of you who say you would give it out free...guess what...you didn't.

Posted by: Halo on September 2, 2005 11:33 AM

The real test of one's commitment to free speech is whether you believe in it even when someone says something you think is reprehensible. The test of someone's commitment to free markets and private property is in cases like this. If you think Bruce is a snake, then go buy your own truck full of ice and give it away. No one's stopping you. A lot of you need to read this:

http://www.fee.org/vnews.php?nid=6181

Posted by: rivlax on September 2, 2005 11:36 AM

I wouldn't applaud Bruce the Asshole trying to charge the woman $10 large for insulin; in fact, he'd be a gigantic prick for doing that.

On the other hand, uh, the alternative is that there's no insulin there at all. Remember?

Assholes like Bruce will only provide goods and services if they can make a pile of money off it. But the flip side of preventing from from doing so (even if only by wishing them beaten or shot, which has a discouraging effect, no?) is that then there's that much less ice and insulin going around. It's not like Bruce-the-Asshole is taking ice or insulin that would otherwise have been distributed to the needy for free, remember.

Assholes sometimes do a useful service, even while being pricks. It's not something to celebrate, but don't pretend that it's better to have nothing than to be gouged. And don't pretend that to a large extend that really is the choice available.

Posted by: Sigivald on September 2, 2005 02:40 PM

I polished a turd once. Looked great, but it still tasted like shit!

Posted by: James Hooker, ace of aces on September 2, 2005 03:48 PM

Common sense Rob... Commen sense. What more can I say?

Posted by: Bob on September 2, 2005 09:12 PM

Halo-
I don't think stealing boxes of brand new Nike shoes and stealing weapons to shoot at the people who are trying to help is normal hurricane aftermath behavior. If you think otherwise, maybe you need to take your ass over there with a box of food and get a bullet shot through your head.
There's no excuse.
The victims of the Tsunami didn't act like this.

Posted by: Paul on September 2, 2005 09:40 PM

There's a huge difference between profiting and profiteering.
I've seen people selling ridiculously overpriced cups of beer outside concerts of while tail-gaiting at a game. That's profiting. You aren't going to die if you don't get that beer.
Now, if this guy had sold the ice at a reasonable mark-up to cover expenses, that's fine. But to profit at the expense of other's suffering, well, that's despicable.

I couldn't quantify profiteering, but I know it when I see it.

Posted by: Veeshir on September 3, 2005 10:03 AM

New Orleans / Looting Late Comment

A note on why some would loot TVís and other non essentials...

"As long as any of these looted items had some sort of monetary value out in the real world they were just as valuable to people in New Orleans as food & water. Donít know if you have ever read up on the true stories of crime & violence in America, but there is a population of black gangs would are hired by the Mafia to do the dirty work whether it is selling drugs, contract killings or as in these case looting to line their pockets far away from the scene of the crime. Just ask any Italian American and they will confirm a Mafia really does exist in real life not just on a hit HBO series.

These gangs, so large in Americaís poorest cities such as New Orleans, also use blackouts as an opportunity to profit on there own. Donít make assumptions on what life in the ghetto is until you lived in one. If you where a law abiding citizen and not a gun and / or attack dog owner, what would you do if you & your family were stuck at the Superdome or Convention center awaiting help to arrive and an armed thug threatened to rape your daughter, wife, mother, sister, aunt, cousin, or grandmother? If you had money you give it them, if you had any goods with a large pawn shop price tag for trade you would give it to them. So, any looted items with hefty street value / price tags attached could help you survive and barter for you & your loved ones life...by any means necessary. And those without a thing to give are forced to watch their loved ones raped and abused right in front of them...pray you never have to be in that position."

Posted by: missshabbychic on September 5, 2005 07:19 PM
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