"Dottoré, do you have 1.50 euro by any chance?"
Until recently, if you entered a Mental Health Center, you might be approached by a patient who asks you for a cigarette or a euro to buy a coffee.
But since they installed vending machines, things have changed, and the requests have become more specific.
The other day, a patient approached me and asked, "Dottoré, do you have 1.50 euro by any chance?"
"Pasquale, don't you think that's a bit much? What's the money for?"
"You always say that too much coffee makes me jittery! That’s why I thought I could have a decaffeinated coffee. But it tastes awful, so I thought it would go down well with a cookie, which costs 70 cents. But then I eat too much junk food, so instead of the cookie, I want to buy a ‘healthy’ snack, because they told me it won’t make me fat. But the healthy one costs 80 cents.
"Well, 80 plus 70 makes 1.50!
"You’re my doctor! I only do what you tell me to do!"
So I guess Pasquale got me. But he also made me understand something about economics: Consumerism turns out to be democratic, because it makes no distinction between the sick and the healthy.
Once supply is created, demand always follows. Even from crazy people.
Learn more about Worldcrunch's exclusive Dottoré! series here.