The Cost Of Principles 3 comments

Let’s examine a “hypothetical situation”:

You’re out for an evening of fun with your friends. You’re headed to a busy part of town to see a sporting event, concert, play, or are simply meeting for drinks. The closest parking spot you can find is in a lot that charges $100 for event parking, but if you patronize the local businesses, you can have your parking ticket validated and it will only cost $20 to park. On the way out of the lot you stop by the attendant’s hut and they verify that validation brings the parking cost to $20.

At the conclusion of your enjoyable evening out (it’s a hypothetical situation, so why wouldn’t we assume a good time), you pull the car around to the attendant’s hut with your validated parking ticket in hand. The validation on the ticket comes in the form of punch holes rather than a rubber stamp. The attendant swipes the ticket through whatever reader is in the hut and the total flashes on the display $50. What is your reaction?

Do you remind the attendant that you stopped by earlier and they verified the cost would only be $20? Do you point out the fact that they’re holding a validated parking ticket in their hands? Let’s say the attendant wandered into the location where you and your friends were enjoying your evening. Do you mention that you saw them inside the establishment, thus verifying your presence? Do you show them your time stamped receipt from the establishment, thus verifying your purchases? Do you flatly refuse to pay the $50, but state that you’ll gladly pay the $20 because you have met all the criteria for the lower cost? Does your answer change when cars begin lining up behind you because the attendant refuses to accept any money from you unless it’s the full $50? Do you pay the $50 and move on with your life?

Do any of your answers change if the price changes? It’s a hypothetical question after all, so what if the costs were $10 for event parking, it’s $2 with validation, but your cost is $5? What is the cost of your principles?

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3 thoughts on “The Cost Of Principles

  • Tiffany

    $50 is a lot of money. That can buy 12 gallons of chocolate milk (but not 13). Also, I don’t drive.

    However, I would argue for the $20 over the $50. For $2/$5, I would ask about it, but wouldn’t push too hard because it’s 1/10th of the other price, and doesn’t seem so horrible relative to that.

    I’d hope that the line-up of cars would encourage the sketchy attendant to accept the correct price.

    • pcalderone

      Thank you for your input. One day, when you’re a famous astrophysicist, you may be driving and might encounter this situation. I’ll be curious to see if your opinion changes.