Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Cost of Doing the Right Thing

Doing the Right Thing is very expensive, as I've since learned.

Recently I had problems with a service I had signed up for. Two options lay before me - Option A (the Right Way) involved me filling out a feedback form, seeking an appointment with a customer relations officer, detailing my problems, awaiting the official reply... and subsequently another estimated 1500 administrative hurdles before I got what I wanted.

Option B (the Sith Way) was considerably shorter - threaten to leave the service and / or fully relate my woes to CASE or to the Straits Times.

My friends assured me Option B was the smarter option. The service would weigh the costs of solving my problem on the spot, against the costs of bad publicity in the press and defending the CASE complaints, and figure out its much easier to "pay me off".

But there I went, pursuing Option A on my high horse of ideals. By the time the service had rejected me enough times for the spirit of righteousness within me to turn into a flaming spire of anger, I was only left with... Option B.

Of course, my friends all chided me for "wasting my time" when I should have just opted for the "smarter way" out.

Isn't it strange though? Our society places such a high cost on the Right Way that everyone turns to the Sith Way, and yet, if anyone oversteps the line and is caught red-handed, he or she is immediately lambasted, and to keep with my metaphor, fined so very heavily for it.

The only place where it's actually alright to choose the Right Way and still keep one's head high, without having to pretend to ignore all the whispers of foolishness from the more hardboiled, is probably in Primary School.

It's the only environment whereby doing the Right Thing earns you pats on the head and stars on your score sheet, where the rest of the community is encouraged to laud your actions and to keep you in high regard.

After Primary School, I guess people forget those lessons.

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