One thing that struck me when I broke my wrist recently was the amount of people who said I should sue the Council because of the fact that I’d tripped over a pothole. When exactly was it that we became so blame-focussed? The amount of times that I’ve heard someone say something about “free money” when it comes to compensation – they seriously don’t realise that there’s no such thing? Everything has to be paid for, one way or another: the compensation from all these personal injury claims will come from hiking insurance premiums, compensation paid out because of people tripping over potholes will mean that the chances are pretty high that your council tax is going to be paying for it in years to come, and so it goes on.
Yesterday morning I got up to find that I had no cold running water in the house. It turns out that a large water main had burst about four miles from me and buggered up the water supply. The water company had tankers out ferrying water around, they had collection points mobilised within a couple of hours to distribute bottled water (by which time, of course, the great public had already emptied the shelves of bottled water in all local supermarkets) and the moaning and whinging had most definitely started. Inconvenient? Most definitely! But really – did someone visit the main with a big shovel and smash a great hole in it? Erm … I don’t think so. So why did some people feel justified at having a go at the poor souls who were doing their best to give out the water? Oh yeah, I forgot. It must have been a personal vendetta being carried out against someone!
Seriously people, get a grip on yourselves, wind your necks in and realise that actions have consequences. Your actions today will impact someone either positively or negatively which will ripple out to other people in turn. Personally speaking, I’d rather ripple out positivity: I stumbled at the edge of a pothole, fell over and broke my wrist. It was bloody painful and inconvenient but – hey – it could have been worse. I got in and out of A&E within a couple of hours with a backslab on my arm, I had plenty of supplies in the house and didn’t need to bother anyone to help with anything, although I had plenty of offers of help (I like to think of that as payback for the good karma I try to generate) and I got through it on my own. With no compensation.
Maybe the next time that you have a complaint about something, vocalise it in a reasonable fashion. Don’t have a go at the person who’s probably paid minimum wage to answer the phone and listen to your diatribe: they are not personally responsible for the trouble you are having. If you’ve tripped and fallen or had some other accident, take some time to think about whether you could, in fact, have been a little more careful or observant. Is it really worth creating those ripples? I’m not saying that every case is unjustified or frivolous: for some, there is genuine negligence that needs to be addressed but for most it’s just a gratuitous waste of everyone’s time, money and energy which could perhaps be better directed into something positive, like taking responsibility for your own lives and actions and stop looking to hang the blame for any slight misfortune on anyone other than yourselves.