Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Money Falling Right Into Your Lap

"Big Cash Settlement" the tv picture says, as the announcer tells us that if you used this or that product and you had anything go wrong, you may be eligible for a Big Cash Settlement. On some ads, the words flash on and off; with others, they grow ever larger. Lots of money to spend.

A few years ago, a woman tripped on the sidewalk outside the fire hall near us where she had been playing Bingo. She was laid up for a while and sued for medical costs and the usual things: pain, suffering, inability to play Bingo, scuffed shoes, etc. Her husband also sued for $20,000 for "loss of consortium." Now, I don't know how many times a month she puts out, but that seems excessive. The girls who work Wilkes-Barre's south side get $100 per trick and it's $75 across the river.

I even saw a billboard locally for a lawyer who said, "You might not be a victim now, but you may be one in the future, so contact us today so we can be ready to be on your side."

We are, slowly or quickly, becoming a nation of victims whose plight can only be aided by cash settlements. Money will cure our emotional distress; cash will ease our inconvenience; a large check will be our revenge against someone who has, or we feel has, harmed us in some way.

Are we less neighborly now because we fear that neighbor may sue if something happens to their house while we are watching it during their vacation? Do we dare give a ride to someone, knowing that they are accustomed to suing people (actual situation)? Do we see lawyers hovering where we used to see a chance to do a good deed?

Jerry Sirota, a local resident, died the other day. In 1958, he founded Eastern Auto Leasing. He was a pioneer in the leasing industry and was one of very few companies to creatively transform the well-known daily rental into a long-term leasing transaction. Leasing had not gained nationwide popularity until the 1980s and he was clearly ahead of his time.


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