Friday, March 16, 2012

Stealing From The Hospital

White collar crime is a huge burden in America. According to the FBI, the cost of white collar crime is over $600 billion. It is so pervasive that people don't even think of it as a crime. Who amongst us hasn't taken a pen found in a desk drawer at the hospital? Maybe you've taken several sheets of typing paper home to fill your own fax machine. In the operating room, people take clean lap sponges home all the time because they make the perfect polishing cloth for your car or furniture. Every time you see a doctor walking around in scrubs from another hospital, which maybe located hundreds or even thousands of miles away, that doctor is openly proclaiming his involvement in white collar crime.

I think nowadays one of the most common forms of stealing from the hospital is the usurpation of its electricity. Literally everybody does it. Most people I know, and just to be perfectly honest including myself, charge their electrical devices at the hospital. In fact, many people, again including myself, try to charge our phones or tablets or laptops completely before heading home for the night just so we don't have to pay for the electricity. Sure it may only cost the hospital a few cents to charge up my evil iPhone, but multiply that by thousands of employees and you can clearly see how this will affect the facility's electric bill and drive up health care costs.

Now take a look at the picture above. This car belongs to a doctor who is parked in the physician's parking lot. The car is a Karma Fisker, one of those fancy schmanzy plug in hybrids that in this case costs over $100,000. But that doesn't mean the owner didn't mind having somebody else pay for his car's propulsion fuel. Being the first one at the hospital with one of these allows him to monopolize the few electrical outlets in the parking lot, which is used by the maintenance people to clean the lot. But imagine when electrical and plug in hybrids become more commonplace. Soon everybody will be wanting to plug in their car at work to save money. Somebody may even bring in a multi-outlet power strip so that more cars can be charged simultaneously. This will be like everybody charging their cell phones at work but multiplied by a thousand times in costs to the hospital.

Is it wrong to do this? Absolutely. Will the problem get worse as more electrically powered cars and other devices proliferate. You bet. Is there any excuse to justify spending six figures on a car then being too cheap to pay for your own electricity? Yes. Al Gore made me do it.

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