Friday, May 25, 2007

Betrayed by his fancy into metaphor...

I was avoiding talking about the fiscal crises here on The Beach. But I was thinking...
Imagine a marina. With several docks.
One of the docks, which ties off some very barnacle-encrusted and rarely-refitted vessels, is doing very well. Another of the docks is very shiny, with both liveaboard working craft and charter booze-cruise catamarans, and is doing very badly. Another dock, although beloved by its residents, is generally avoided by others, except for the utilities people who keep trying to tie off there.
I'm tied off to the second one.
In order to remain in the marina, pay for marina employees, ensure maintenance, and other facilities, we all pay a fee. We also need to pay the medical expenses for a dockworker who was hurt on the job. We used to have a share box of books and magazines. And now we have to carry our trash to a "pay-as-you-throw" dumpster, not the free one. Oddly, the big boats that take passengers get a break on their fees while the regular boats get no such breaks. And there's even a marina not far from here that charges them four times what we do. No wonder they like it here.
Some of us liveaboards think it would be fair to charge two different rates, like the other docks do. And most of the crews of other ships come to the booze cruise boats on my dock. The charter boats continue to send their money back to The Beach, probably somewhere where there aren't even any boats.
So someone suggested -- I think it was the marina manager -- that the booze-cruise boats raise their prices a couple cents, and give those pennies to maintain the dock. But some of the liveaboards still don't think that's fair. They claim people will be paying fees twice if they go on a booze cruise. If you can't spend two dollars per hundred dollars, and you can't part with two dollars, don't buy a meal for a hundred dollars. Or something like that.
Truth is, none of the commercial vessels are going to leave this dock if those fees go up. They've got it pretty good here regardless, and have invested in this particular location. But the fear that they'll leave if their fees go up keeps a number of people afraid. It's almost like blackmail. Sometimes folk wonder if those commercial vessels shouldn't just raise the Jolly Roger and be done with it.
But then I realize that if the marina management took a step like raising commerical fees, there would be one problem. One of ego. They don't want to get a bad mark the next time there's an evaluation. Yes, they might look bad if they were the one who raised those fees.
By some lights.
Commemorate Memorial Day appropriately.


Dr. Momentum said...

Good analogy.

thirdmate said...

Thanks. You probably wouldn't have wanted to hear the "bilgepump/foretop/lazy captain" one.
And I forgot to mention that, of course, it's the children who suffer.