Cagey Consumer

In Search of Justice

You've been working for the city for 9 years. One day, the city says you have to sign up for direct deposit. If you refuse, you'll get paid in the form of a cashiers check, which costs you $5 to cash.

The end result: you're out $260 a year, money which you actually have to pay tax on, but never really get to see.

What to do? Complain to city hall? Quit your job? Just give in to their demands?

If you or I had attempted to file criminal complaints against employees of the city and the bank, we would surely have been laughed out of the police station. But Greg Hensley didn't have to worry about getting laughed out of the station, because he was a cop himself.

Almost every day, we get ripped off by a system which most people have learned to accept. The promise of being a winner in a $1,000,000 sweepstakes when we're suckers for even opening the envelope (the actual winners get cash pyaments worth only about $300,000), a too good to be true car lease advertised on TV with about 300 words of disclaimer that you have 3 seconds to read, and buy-one-get-one-free offers at the supermarket, which means that when you paid full price last week, you were apparently gouged.

Greg Hensley got fed up with this ongoing petty theft by "legitimate" operations, and tried to use the law to rectify the situation. So you or I would have gotten laughed out of the police station, so what? Should he have lost his job over it or not? And more importantly, who should we be sending to jail for this ongoing theft? What's your opinion?

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Updated October 22, 1998