Monday, July 30, 2007

Small-scale free market solutions

I was part of a good free-market solution tonight. As usual, the government solution was late and ineffective.

I decided to take my half-hour federally mandated lunch break. Okay, so I still had the work phone on me and I fueled the patrol car while I was out, and it didn't last anywhere near30 minutes, but bear with me here.

After filling up the patrol car, I head over to the friendly neighborhood Jack in the Box. As I pull into the drive-through, I notice two men standing at the window. They aren't holding any weapons, and I see them before they see me. The box crackles out a request for me to wait a minute and they'd take my order.

The two men have spotted me by this point, and one of them walks up to the car. I work unarmed security, but it's a uniform and a marked car, so he's being careful to keep his hands visible. I appreciate that. He explains that he and his friend were hoping to order some food, but they can't order without a car. He asks if I'd mind getting them a couple burgers. I agree, so he hands me a couple of ones and a lot of pennies. I order and head up to the window. While I wait for my food (they were slow), a police officer walks up to the window and informs the girl working that "this gentleman [motions toward me without acknowledging my presence] is going to get them some food, then they'll leave." I sheepishly flash a smile and say something along the lines of "I figured this would get them out of your hair," ignoring the cop in kind.

Another employee comes close enough to the window to hear that and kind of glare. I didn't really care what he thought of the situation. The girl who was at the window actually became really friendly (probably realized that I had agreed soon enough to get them out of her hair without too much trouble). The cop was long gone before I got the food, which meant I was in charge of making sure the guys left. I told them to try not to bother any other fast food folks, and they happily took their meal and went on their way.

You may be wondering how this is a free market solution. Simple. The guys wanted food, so they paid me to get it for them. I wanted to get my food, so buying theirs sped up my attempt. The girl taking the order (who probably heard the deal through the ordering system) wanted to be rid of a nuisance, so she overlooked the fact that I was blatantly ordering for guys who she had just asked to leave. Hell, even the cop didn't waste any time. He figured it was taken care of, so he just left. You'll note that the private solution was efficient, beneficial to all, and didn't stir up too much ill will. The officer would have likely argued with them for a bit before convincing them to move on (though he may have even gone with the same method I used...I don't know for sure).

Yeah, some of you might say that I shouldn't have done it this way, but I can generally read intentions pretty well, and these guys just wanted a burger. Besides, I never took it out of drive, just in case.

1 comment:

Hammer said...

I've done the same thing, it's all in the vibe. of course my pistol is always close at hand.

Private solutions are almost always preferable to all concerned