With the holidays in fast retreat out the back window, the significant structural work downstairs complete, and the finish line nearly in sight, we spent some more time in basement work land this weekend — and the associated shopping.
Stairwell? Having tackled this project on my own a couple years back, the results understated as “mediocre” I’ve scheduled a few careful cover-up finishes to hide my poor dry-walling skills. Lesson One: stairwell ceilings are difficult to do right. The warbles and wobbles observed in the “finished” version, however, were covered nicely by a relatively inexpensive textured finish, applied in stages over the course of about twenty-four hours. A few touch ups remain, but otherwise, I’m happy with the results.
Fixtures? A lighting store is a crazy place. And even a small collection of relatively inexpensive fixtures to round out the lighting requirements of the basement are an adventure of sorts. I’ve only installed one, so far, though.
Trim? First, the basic work: cutting and painting. There is lots to do. I won’t bore you. Second, a philosophical/moral question: having arrived at the cash register of Home Depot with a little more than two-hundred and fifty feet of door and window trim (cut neatly into eight foot lengths) the trainee, ready-to-serve, and the dialog goes something like this… with some artistic liberties taken:
Trainee: How many pieces?
Trainee: Scans. Price comes up on screen as $31.68.
Me: Reluctantly. I think you might want to re-check that? It seems a little low.
Trainee: Are you sure?
Me: You rang them up as per-piece and they are sold as per-foot.
Trainee: Are you sure. That’s how they rang up. It should know.
Me: Attempts to persuade guy of error through quick lesson in basic math, common sense, and the fallibility of computer databases.
Trainee: What department were these from? Reaches for phone.
Me: Trim? I don’t know.
Trainee: I’ll ask.
Me: More math. Look at it this way: it’s two hundred and fifty-six feet.
Trainee: Hangs up before connecting. Light goes on. Ohhhhhh. Ok. Scans again. Price comes up on screen a little more than $250. Is that better?
Me: It seems more fair… I guess.
False modesty aside, this was the right thing to do, but in retrospect… was it really?
Questions for the audience: When was the last time your overzealous moral conscious cost you two hundred bucks? Given that I believe in neither Karma nor the inherent goodness of humankind, should my split-second decision to sacrifice personal financial gain in favour of the bottom-line of a multinational corporation to be viewed as either (a) evidence of a case for fundamental ethical behavior of an abstractly amoral being, or (b) passive behavior resulting from compliance with societal norms and manifesting as complete and utter push-overness?
What would you have done (1) if put on the spot and/or (2) if given time to consider and carefully weight the variables? And where would one draw the line? Five bucks? Fifty bucks?