It’s Tuesday, and I’m here to solve all your life’s problems.
As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, anonymity guaranteed, and I’ll do my best to make the world a better place by giving you the best advice in the history of the world. Or at least since King Solomon.
Okay, now that that’s all out there, here we go:
“I pull up to the gas station and the nozzle was not put back correctly. I take it out and put it in my gas tank and it is still pumping on the previous person’s card. So now I have free gas. There was about $62 on the meter when I put it in my tank. I only ended up putting $9-$10 in my tank cause I couldn’t bring myself to do more.
If that was me that left my card still running and somebody took advantage of it I would be hurting the next time I checked my bank account. I am broke. Really broke. Was this God giving me a free tank of gas? Should I have put more gas in my tank? Should I have not put any in at all? What would most people have done?”
I’m not sure what most people would have done, but you committed a crime by stealing gas. And many gas pumps now have cameras on them. Meaning you not only committed a crime, you could be on camera committing that crime. And your car’s license plate could be on that same camera too. Which means someone could easily pursue you over this crime.
In general, I tell my kids to always assume there’s a camera somewhere recording you whenever you’re in public. And I’d tell all of you to assume the same thing. So the risk/reward here was really bad on your decision. Presumably since you pulled up to get gas, you have the ability to put gas in your tank. So you risked quite a bit for $9 or $10 of “free” gas.
You can’t really do this any more since almost all gas pumps are pre-pay, but I’m betting you wouldn’t have put $9 or $10 of gas in your car and then driven off without paying. In that scenario you’d be stealing from the gas station. In this one, you’re stealing from another person. Who was, by the way, probably still pretty close to the gas station since presumably it hadn’t been that long since they’d filled up their own tank of gas.
So what you should have done was ended their transaction and started your own gas purchase. I think that’s probably what the majority of people would have done in this situation. Although what most people would do doesn’t matter here. Because even if most people would have committed a crime, which I don’t think they would have, that doesn’t give you license to commit a crime too.
Having said all this, I think it’s very unlikely that most people would notice the $9 or $10 you stole in their account and contact police or the gas station. They could, but I think it’s unlikely. Although as you note, some people are really scraping by right now, and it’s possible that person stopped filling their gas tank at $62 because they didn’t have $10 more in their bank account. As a general rule, I think a richer person would be less likely to notice this extra money on their charge than a poorer person would. Again, this is speaking in generalities, but I think that’s likely.
Ultimately, leaving aside the morality — clearly you shouldn’t have stolen gas here, and I suspect you know that — the risk-reward just seems really bad for you, which is what I’d focus on in my analysis here. Best case scenario, you get $10 of “free” gas. Worst case scenario, you get tracked down for stealing $10 of gas and charged with a crime, which could have major life consequences for you.
General rule, you shouldn’t steal from others. General rule part two, you definitely shouldn’t steal when doing so exposes you to high risk and low reward.
You violated both rules here.
“I live in a small town about 30 miles outside of a big SEC school. It’s a local barbershop and the barber’s a good guy, family friend, affordable haircuts no beef at all with him. However he runs a first come first serve shop and he opens up at 7 AM on Saturday mornings.
Used to I could go in a little before 7 and wait on a guy or two. This past Saturday however I had quite a few things to do and I wanted to be first and get in and get out so I got there 40 minutes early. I wait around 20 minutes by myself. Later other cars start to pull in. No problem right? Everyone knows they were not the first guy in. Well, the barber pulls up, gets out of his car, goes and opens up the place turns on Andy Griffith on two split cable tvs.
From what I can tell the guy that walked into the shop first stands close to the chair anxiously waiting to get ready to sit down (I have always thought this was odd behavior but a lot of people there do it.) Barber asks who is up and this guy goes and sits down as I start to move. He is down in the barber’s chair before I can get moving, so I ask you the guy with the best hair on the internet who should go first in a situation like this? The guy in the shop first or the guy in the parking lot first?”
The first person there should get the first haircut, but here’s the question, how do we define “there”? Here’s where I think you blew it: why not get out of your car and wait outside the barber shop? The guy who got there after you in the parking lot has no idea how long you have been there, but he’d know that you’d made a claim on the first spot if you’d been standing outside the barbershop.
Otherwise the other guy might think you got there one minute — or even less — before he did. Heck, he might not even have known you were planning on going to the barbershop or seen you in the parking lot at all. (After all, cars are always left in parking lots over night.) In that situation, I think first in the door might well govern. Now if you’d been standing outside the barbershop waiting already, then I think first in the door wouldn’t govern because then you would have clearly established your claim on the first haircut. But you didn’t do that.
Let’s take this outside of the haircut scenario.
Have you ever pulled up at a restaurant around the same time as someone else? I certainly have. And I bet everyone reading this has too. I bet just about all of us would agree that the person who turns off their car in the parking lot isn’t the person who gets seated first. Heck, the person who opens the door to their car first isn’t even the person who gets seated first. It’s the person who goes through the door first. In other words, the line doesn’t begin in the parking lot, it begins in the restaurant. (Or directly outside the restaurant, if the line extends out the door).
If you wanted to ensure your claim on the first haircut at the barbershop that morning, I think you should have exited your car and stood on the sidewalk outside the shop. Then there’s no doubt who gets the first haircut. But by waiting in your car and allowing someone else to beat you inside, you gave up clear position on your primo haircut spot.
The other guy could have offered to let you go first based on parking lot priority, but I don’t think he had any obligation to do so. Indeed, you didn’t offer any objection to his claim of the first haircut at all either. (Side note: I kind of think getting to the barbershop before it opens is borderline psycho behavior by both of you. Find something else to do.)
Now the first in the door rule isn’t without some modification. You can be a gentleman and forego your position. Occasionally you may have, hopefully, gotten to a restaurant door just before someone else and held the door open for someone else to enter first, say an elderly person or someone carrying a young child. In that situation, your are allowing them to step in front of you and voluntarily giving up your spot, but you aren’t required to do that at all.
First man (or woman) in the car governs.
Here’s another good example of a line modification scenario: how often have you been in a large group of family or friends and you get in line for something, let’s say airport security or an amusement park? It often happens that a family or friend group might get split up in this line scenario. That is, you and one friend might be in front, then strangers are right after you, and the rest of your group comes after those people who ended up between you. The people in the middle didn’t intend for that to happen, but your group was moving at different speeds and the split happened inadvertently. What usually happens then? Either your group lets the other group pass or they let the people behind them join you. That is, your group ends up together, and you conduct a line negotiation of sorts. The line doesn’t start in that situation based on your group’s intent to join the line outside the line. It starts at the beginning of the line.
Here you allowed yourself to be beaten to the shop. You could have objected, but you didn’t. If you wanted to be first, you should have definitively claimed your spot in line. You didn’t do that, so the other haircut guy wins. While his behavior wasn’t 100% fair, it wasn’t 100% unfair either.
“I work for a medium-sized private nonprofit in the South, and they have just implemented what amounts to a COVID vaccine passport policy. No travel is allowed for unvaccinated employees, including travel necessary to fulfill your job requirements, conferences, continuing education, etc. While arguably coming from a ‘health and safety’ standpoint, this effectively limits the career opportunities and advancements for those who choose to remain unvaccinated for either medical or personal reasons.
Yep, medically exempt reasons don’t count and this is a big deal because I’m pregnant with my first baby.
Based on what my doctor tells me and my own research there has been absolutely no testing of the vaccines on pregnant women, and its effect on unborn babies is entirely unknown. Despite having a statement from my obstetrician stating as much, I’m continuing to face discrimination at work due to my pregnancy and my unwillingness to get the vaccine while I’m pregnant with my first baby. My main question is – what is the legality of this? Does this not go against the ADA’s protection of pregnant workers’ rights, and if so what recourse is there? Is the legality affected by the fact that the vaccine is not [currently] required by the company? Do you think COVID vaccine status as a requirement of employment by private companies could become the norm, and if so, are there legal grounds to fight it considering this is an experimental vaccine? Thanks in advance, and as always DBAP, particularly when it comes to COVID panic.”
First, if I were you, I’d listen to my doctor over anything my company was requiring at work. This isn’t a remotely difficult choice. I’d continue to refuse to get the vaccine, based on my doctor’s advice. But that isn’t all I’d do either. I’d consider both legal recourse and other public means — the media, perhaps — to ensure I wasn’t being forced to get a vaccine.
Given the fact that you live in the South, where people have not gone as COVID insane as the people on the coasts have, I think your company would buckle in a heartbeat if you even threatened to take your story public via lawsuit or media coverage. Pregnant woman vs. large company doesn’t come down in favor of the large company very often. Certainly not in the court of public opinion, but often not in the legal system either.
I’ve had three kids, and I wouldn’t want my wife getting the COVID vaccine if she were pregnant with our fourth kid right now. Why wouldn’t I want it done? Because we know COVID has virtually zero impact on healthy young moms, pregnant or otherwise, and we know that babies are not at risk from COVID at all. So why would you take a COVID vaccine in the middle of your pregnancy when it eliminates no danger and potentially adds to your risk factors? I just wouldn’t want my wife to do it, no matter the larger work circumstances. But I ESPECIALLY wouldn’t want her to do it if the only reason we were doing it was because of a job requirement at work.
I’m not going to claim to be a legal expert on an issue like this — which is why I’d tell you to consult someone in your city or state who practices family law or labor and employment law — but my general position would be if a company is requiring a pregnant employee to undertake a medical treatment THAT HER OWN DOCTOR IS RECOMMENDING AGAINST in order to be able do her job effectively that the company’s position is untenable, both legally and morally. In general, pregnant women are the most desirable plaintiffs on the planet because almost everyone is on their side. Adding in that you’re a first time mother worried about your baby’s health — first time mothers are far more protective and risk averse, in general, than mothers who have had multiple kids — and I’d find a lawyer to write a letter on my behalf to management threatening to take the case public and file a lawsuit if they didn’t amend their policy in your favor.
My bet would be that the work travel restrictions in your particular case would vanish in a heartbeat, and you wouldn’t be required to get the COVID vaccine to do your job until after your baby is born.
And congrats on the new baby!
“I’m white, my wife is Hispanic – both her parents were born in Mexico and legally came to the US and are naturalized. My wife is the first in her family to be born in the states. She went to college and grad school (taking out loans) and is now the #2 at a large company. (and not that it matters, she’s hot)
This past year with the BLM movement, I’ve increasingly noticed her get aggravated with the BLM movement’s agenda and I finally asked her why. She said it’s amazing that no one seems to care about Hispanics. She sent me charts showing Hispanics have less education than blacks/whites/everyone and make less money than blacks/whites/everyone. I found the stats to be shocking. She went on that everyone is screaming about BLM but the reality is no one cares about poor Hispanics. She asked me my thoughts and in an effort to keep having sex with her, I just said she was right; but I thought I would reach out to the gay muslim to get some thoughts on this. Why don’t we have an HLM movement?”
Because, as the Babylon Bee hysterically tweeted recently, if we have HLM and Asian Lives Matter, ALM, we are moving awfully close to All Lives Matter, which as the blue checkmarks on Twitter will let you know, is super racist to say or suggest.
I wish I had a better answer for her, but the simple truth is black people rank higher on the identity politics victimization pyramid than Hispanic or Asian people. Why is that? Certainly you can make the argument that, historically, black people have been treated worse than other minority groups in America, but I think the primary reason now is because black people vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Democrats have decided that the best way to motivate black voter turnout is by convincing black people that they are perpetual victims unable to succeed in America without Democratic protections.
White, Hispanic and Asian people are not a monolithic voting bloc, so they don’t rank as high on the victimization pyramid as black people do and Democrats can’t convince these groups that without their protection they are guaranteed to fail.
It’s about power, put simply.
The wildest thing about all of this, by the way, is there are a lot more Hispanic people in America now than there are black people. So black people aren’t even the largest minority group any more. My hope for a long time has been that the monolithic support for Democratic politicians by the black community will disappear at some point in the near future. If that happens — and we don’t need it to be 50-50 — the voting calculus of Democratic identity politics becomes impossible to sustain. The moment the black community votes 80-20 for Democrats, then I believe identity politics and its kissing cousin, cancel culture, will vanish. Democrats can’t win national elections if 20% of black voters support Republicans.
I think we were headed for an identity politics implosion in 2020 before COVID. Without COVID, Trump would have beaten Biden in a landslide. And he would have done it with far more Hispanic, Asian and black support as well, which would have destroyed the Democratic Party’s reliance on identity politics. (Trump increased his vote share in all three of these minority groups, even with COVID happening. But he lost suburban white people, who were terrified of COVID and being called racist).
But now I think this identity politics implosion will likely happen in 2024, if the Republicans pick a decent nominee. Kamala Harris isn’t particularly likable, and I think she will be a weak candidate compared to a strong Republican candidate.
But we’ll have to wait and see for sure on that. It’s, of course, possible that Republicans pick a poor nominee as well.
Ultimately, however, your wife is right. Hispanic voters are overlooked compared to black voters. I think both Republicans and Democrats should spend far more time appealing to them. But I would argue that Republicans in particular, but Democrats too, should not appeal to them based on victimization because that just prolongs the identity politics charade. They should appeal to them based on the potential Hispanics have to succeed in America through capitalism and hard work. This is the angle that worked phenomenally well for Trump in Florida.
Hispanics are coming to America because this country is not like the countries they are leaving. It’s far better. That’s the same reason people have been coming to America for hundreds of years, because we offer better opportunities than the places they are leaving behind. These new immigrants, Hispanic or otherwise, don’t want socialism. They want capitalism. They are, honestly, some of the biggest believers in American exceptionalism on the planet. Because they are risking their lives to get here, unlike most of our native born citizens who take American freedoms for granted.
I think Hispanics actually fit the Republican worldview better than they do the Democratic worldview.
But that’s only if Republicans pursue their votes smartly and with the right selling points.
(Feel free to share this answer to your wife if you think it will make her more likely to keep sleeping with you. And good luck.)
As always, thanks for reading OutKick and continue to send your anonymous mailbag questions, anonymity guaranteed, to me at email@example.com