Thursday, November 03, 2005

Government workers at every level supplement their income

Tonight my wife, a friend and I took the metro in Yerevan.

I went to pay for the tokens that you have to insert at the entrance of the escalators that lead down into the tunnel and gave the cashier 200 drams.

A single token is 50 drams and instead of asking for 3, I asked for 4 since the change that I would have received would have been three 10 dram coins and one 20 dram coin, which is not all that easy to spend and would have just made a bunch of noise in my pocket.

The cashier handed me a single token and told us to enter via the gate which people who have a pass or are eligible for a free ride enter.

I looked to her and told her to give me 4 tokens, which she didn’t say another word and did.

I’ve had a similar experience like this before, but the last time the lady at the “free” gate, took my token and put it in her pocket after directing me to her gate.

I’m guessing this is a common practice and though I condone such dishonest practices and also understand that one can not support a family on $60 a month in Armenia.

It seems that every corner one looks, similar things are going on and people are lowering themselves to petty thieves just to get by.

I guess the thing that really bothers me is that for the most part, there is enough resources to go around and instead of putting people in a position to have to steal, just pay them better, since they are going to get it irregardless. If we can do this much, the overall social structure in Armenia will be a much more pleasant place for all.

I guess this problem is much more complicated and will take much effort to fix, but there is going to have to come a time when we have to deal with it, so why not start now?

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