Plump and topped with frizzy red hair, the woman at the counter opines: “It’s just these vets… they barely see my Fluffy for maybe ten minutes, slap down a prescription and send us out to get a follow-up appointment. It’s just money to them.”
The grizzled ex-Marine speaks up from a corner. “The gov-mint has made itself a monopoly. Only its schools give the degrees, only people with the degrees can be vets, so they want lots of money to pay back that investment. Makes ’em greedy.”
A young girl on the edge of womanhood throws in her voice: “You’ve forgotten that large corporations own all of these vet clinics. They set the prices and give the vets efficiency targets. They’re just doing their job.”
In the meantime, thirty-five people have come in with their animals. A middle-aged slender woman with dyed blonde hair speaks: “My husband makes me so mad. He’s out there at his job, or traveling, having excitement and money to spend, while I’m stuck at home taking care of the kids. This dog was their idea, and I don’t even want it, so I’m going to drop it here. I don’t care what he charges me. Let them see how expensive it is and how little I care. I need some time for myself.”
The millennial couple steps up and recites their piece. “We are simply trying to have charming lives. We want our friends to look up to us and see us as morally right, good people who are also a lot of fun. Even more, they need to see us as unique, but we think that starts with seeing us as morally good, because almost everything — but we would never day say everyone — is bad. Our little Fifi ate an extension cord while we were both at work, which is usually a ten hour gap between when we leave and when we come back after work, dinner or shopping, gym or drinking, and commuting. Now we feel guilty. We don’t care what he charges us. If we don’t fix this, we will look terrible to our friends.”
A man with puddled bags under his eyes speaks up from the rear. “I work all week, usually sixty hours. I do this so my family will never have to live near the ghetto. Instead we live in a nice middle class neighborhood. The problem is that I don’t know any of my neighbors. Someone’s dog attacked my cat. I just want the problem solved without taking up my time, because — no one understands this — I have literally 48 hours in the weekend and am so tired I will spend half of them sleeping, and with my remaining time that is not job or other stuff I have to do, I’d like to have a life. My family could care less about my needs. I just want him to take the cat, tell me when to pick it up, and I’ll sign the check, then dump the animal off with the brats and wife.”
Outside, a philosopher looks in through the window. He walks in darkness but is aware of this fact and finds the light appealing at first. Then he sees in an instant the pattern here: the vets are selected by the customers, who do not care what they pay and want convenience and pleasantry over all else, so they gouge them. The customers go back to work and raise their own prices in response. He wonders if any of them have thought for even a single second about how this all will end.