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It’s Legal. But Is It Moral?

I currently live in a part of Texas that is pretty much smack in the middle of the Eagle Ford Shale area.

The former quiet of this small town has been shattered by the almost non-stop noise of heavy traffic at all hours of the day and night. It doesn’t help that Main Street through the downtown area is also a state highway that is a main artery to communities, oil rigs, and processing facilities in the area.

The motels in the area are all booked, and there are RV (recreational vehicles) and campers everywhere because the motels are all booked and the rent houses are going for something like $1K a month (if you’re lucky enough to find one).

Some derricks that previously dotted the skyline, have been replaced by “Christmas trees,” which are the sign of a successful well, and gas flares light up the night sky.

If you own land and the mineral rights that go with it, you can lease the right to access those minerals for a pretty penny. All land in the Eagle Ford Shale domain is considered, even graveyards. And, it’s even better if they find oil.

Money is flooding into town. Prices have risen on just about everything as merchants want to grab just as much of that green as they can.

Single motel rooms are $125 a night. Gas is .30 to .75 cents more than the state average.

Restaurant prices have doubled if not tripled. Food prices at the grocery store are along line of those at a convenience store.

Prices are the downside of the whole affair. What if you don’t own land that could possibly harbor oil or gas? What if you are on a fixed income?

The closest town is 14 miles away and prices are just about the same as they are here.

The businessman wants to make a buck. So what is the problem?

The word, gouge, comes to mind.

The definition according to the Merriman-Webster website (www.m-w.com) states - Gouge (verb) – overcharge, soak, sting, surcharge; to charge (someone) too much for goods or services. Synonyms: gouge, soak, sting, surcharge. Related Words cheat, defraud, stick; clip, fleece, skin; mischarge

That said, let’s look at Information Technology.

Consultants are in a position to do the same to their clients. They can gouge the unsuspecting by deception - providing false information about current IT situations and suggesting remedies that will provide the maximum result - to themselves, not the client.

That brings up some other definitions, also courtesy of www.m-w.com.

Deceive – be false to; be dishonest with; to mislead by deliberate misrepresentation or lies; Cozen; delude; lead on; Betray; Victimize; Chisel; Dupe;Trick; Bamboozle;

Double-cross – implies the betrayal or a confidence or the willful breaking of a pledge

That said, what happens when the boom or the project is over?

I remember a previous boom, where this company that manufactured rigs for the oil field stated they had a $4 billion dollar backlog of orders.

Well, the bust came, the orders evaporated, and the company did just that, it busted.

People will remember. Maybe it won’t matter much is this smaller town because the alternative is to drive to the next one, but they will remember, and probably make that trip to that other town or they won’t buy as much. A losing situation for the local merchant either way.

Those hotels and the RVs will go vacant, the stores will drop their prices, and things will eventually return to normal. But the rift will remain.

Unsatisfied customers don’t make good references and this can be the a bad, bad thing in this economy. What goes around, comes around.

It may be legal, but it is just not be moral.

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