Got to thinking about Russell Roberts’ comment in The Price of Everything that today poor people have servants.
Realized I have lots and lots of servants in my life. Here are a few:
- I have a servant that brings clean water to my kitchen.
- I have another servant who keeps water hot, readily available for bathing and washing dishes. Hot water is always available for another servant who washes our clothes. (When my dad was a child, his mother had to heat the water after grandpa or uncles cut, stacked, and carried into the house enough wood to heat the water.)
- After thinking about that, I remembered another servant that gets natural gas and brings it to the house for heating and cooking.
- Ever tour a museum home that is outfitted as it was in the 1800s? Remember those little ceramic jugs in all the bedrooms? Remember what they are for? I have a servant that removes from my home what would otherwise go into chamber pots.
- I have a number of servants, one standing by in every room of my home, that can turn on dozens of candles at the snap of my fingers.
- I have a servant that brings water from the community well and pours it on my lawn in the amounts and on the schedule that I provide. Remarkably precise groundskeeper.
- I have a servant that makes ice for me and makes sure that the ice bucket is always filled. Also defrosts the freezer for my wife.
- I have a servant that will open and close my garage door on my whim.
I’m a CPA. That involves working with lots of numbers and doing thousands of calculations. I print lots of documents and send them to my clients. I’ve hired a lot of servants for my business.
- I hired a servant from Mr. Gates that can do tens of thousands of calculations a second. (You would call that Office Excel – thank you Mr. Gates. The staff person you sent over is quite efficient.) I very rarely use a 10-key calculator.
- I have a servant that answers my phone and takes messages. Tells me who is calling before I take the call, too.
- I have another servant that takes dictation and types my comments almost as fast as I can speak. Sometimes I have to wait for all of a few seconds for my servant to catch up type what I’ve dictated. Unfortunately, I have to keep a close eye on this servant. Accuracy isn’t quite what I’d like.
- I have 4 servants in my CPA firm that can print documents at a speed that would make Mr. Guttenberg green with envy. (Thank you Mr.
HewittHewlett and Mr. Packard)
- I have several servants that working together can deliver a critical document to a client across town or across the country in 20 seconds. Takes ’em 90 seconds if they are lethargic.
- I have a file clerk that can retrieve any one of thousands of documents from my filing cabinet and bring it to me in just moments. (Some of my colleagues call that paperless. I call it an efficient staff.)
Don’t tell the state wage and hour department, but I pay those servants a few pennies an hour. Some far less. And I don’t give any of them a morning or afternoon coffee break.
As a small businessman I have a very large volume of servants hard at work. Can’t even count the size of my staff. Nary a complaint from any of them. Once in a while, one of them resigns, but that is quite rare. Can’t really beat the price either.
Yes, people have many servants today. I have a larger staff of servants than even the most filthy rich people from 100 years ago.