Thursday, July 12, 2007

hooray for capitalism.

Our fridge gave up the ghost on Saturday. Robin was at work, and we were looking forward to a nice, relaxing evening. Instead, she had to run back out to Lowe's to get a new fridge, and I had to shuttle Lyra's milk bottles into a cooler.

Thanks to the marvels of capitalism, we were able to have a new fridge delivered the next day. They unloaded it, hooked it up, and hauled away the busted one. In addition, they upgraded us from a basic GE to a nicer Frigidaire, because the web-advertised special was not in stock.

In a socialist country, we would have had to file a request with the Household Appliance Committee, which would have weighed the urgency of our request, and then decided where to fit us into the waiting line for the People's Refrigerator Factory. Since we have a toddler and an infant, we probably would have made the accelerated waiting list, which means that the factory would have had a replacement ready for us in less than six months. The new fridge would have been made in Bulgaria, or (if we were politically connected) Slovenia. On the plus side, it would have cost us only very little of our worthless paper currency with pictures of Heroes of the Socialist Struggle on it.

You think I'm joking, or perhaps exaggerating? Think again. Not only did I visit East Germany when it was still the DDR, but we also had relatives over there. They had to put in the request for a car for their kids shortly after they were born, so they could take delivery of their smoking little two-stroke-engine-equipped duroplast car when the kid turned eighteen. (They still had to pay when they put in the order, though.) When I was over there to visit, they made us exchange thirty or so Deutsche Marks for each day of our stay. I couldn't find anything on which to spend my several hundred East German Marks, so I had to get rid of it by going to a bookstore and getting a suitcase full of East German propaganda books. (You couldn't take the precious socialist currency out of the country, you see.) The East German border guard who checked our luggage on our way back home was mightily pleased to see a young Klassenfeind with a proper variety of socialist literature in his suitcase. (That was okay to take out of the country, you see.)

Ah, but remember, kids--socialism is such a great idea in theory! And the only reason why it hasn't worked yet is because the right people haven't been in charge.

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