Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

21 March 2008

Making Money off the Dead

I mean, it's an Easter tradition, right? Or at least among churches.

There are several ways of doing this. You can, for example, wait until after the funeral and approach the settling mound of earth, spade, crowbar, and pliers in hand.

You can claim to be disposing of the remains while in fact stacking the corpses like cordwood out back.

You can sell bits of them to people who live under a health system that encourages trafficking in what would otherwise simply become, in the fullness of time, spoiled meat.

You can legislate that everyone in say, Florida, must purchase a coffin (PDF link), even though what that means is that people are purchasing an extremely expensive box to burn the remains in. Worse yet, they may simply be hiring the box without their knowledge.

I have not included the ever-popular outright murder-for-profit racket on this list, as, technically, I feel that this is making money off the living. Whether you've been patiently slipping white powder into rich aunt Mabel's tea for years, or you employ some more abrupt method to score personal gain from random well-heeled strangers, you are still making money from people who were mostly living at the time.

Nor do I include the efforts of the many, many enterprising people associated with the grim industry of death who simply overcharge for funerals, sell ficitional funerary plots, or one of a myriad of similar scams. I've skipped the people who talk about the dead, or run websites or even TV stations for them. Why? Well frankly because there's too damn many of them and this post is long enough as it is.

However, I have found a way to make money off of the dead. It's relatively harmless and actually piggybacks on a far larger-scale scheme.

Grant DePatie was working a late-night shift at a gas station in Coquitlam, BC, when a teen crook tried to drive away without paying for $12 in gas. DePatie apparently stepped in front of the car, was struck, and was dragged some seven kilometres to his doubtless agonizing death.

[Brief digression]
The station manager pointed out that the station had policies in place that said specifically that workers were not to leave the building late at night. However a WorkSafe BC investigation discovered that the station repeatedly and willfully ignored its own policies.

The issue that was never addressed, to my mind, is why a man making something around $9 an hour would risk his life to stop the theft of $12 in gas. Because I know why. The manager would have taken the money out of his paycheque. I have several friends who report that this is standard practice in the industry. It's illegal as hell. But the manager has not been charged, nor has the issue been once mentioned in the media.

After Grant's death, the DePaties lobbied for a law that would force motorists to pay in advance when fuelling up at night. I was generally in favour. However, our government woke from its torpor long enough to push through a set of workplace regulatory changes called "Grant's Law" (not actually law, but workplace regs with the force of law).

[/Brief digression]

Now motorists must pay in advance 24 hours a day.

I don't really mind. I feel it was inevitable. The teething problems have mostly sorted themselves out now, and besides, a lot of gas stations were already putting rules like this in place (which was presumably why the kid who ran over Grant DePatie was fuelling up at that particular station).

However, it also means that the managers will never again have to steal money from their employees. Because now every litre will theoretically be paid for. Isn't that nice? And no-one need ask questions as to why DePatie really died for $12. Nice for the station owners and managers.

However, on to my money-making scheme.
I fuel at a Canadian Tire station for which I have a CT credit card. When I buy fuel, I get points (and this is important) according to the amount I charge on the card, rather than the number of litres purchased. Furthermore, I get five times more points buying gas that buying other things at Canadian Tire.

Under "Grant's Law" I must name an amount, sign a charge slip, and fuel. Then I get my change in cash. The first time I did this, I observed that I got the points for spending $55 on gas even though $8 had returned to my pocket in cash.

Last night I rang in $75.00 and used $55.01 for fuel. I got $3.75 in Canadian Tire Money (5ยข on the dollar). As a bonus, the guy at the station rounded my $19.99 in change up to a full $20!

Okay, so I never said it was a get rich quick scheme. Next week I'll post about how to make money at the casino.

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