Hotel Porter. Money
- Welcome to the Landcaster Hotel, madam. How can I help you?
- I need a single room for two nights. Do you have any available?
- You didn't make a reservation, did you?
- No, no I didn't.
- Ok, let me check what we can offer to you. There is one single room available and you can take it. It costs ninety seven pounds per night so it is going to be one hundred ninety four pounds total. How would you prefer to pay? Cash or credit card?
- I would rather not pay.
The spirit of money rules the world nowadays. We sacrifice our interests, our friends, hobbies, our time, love and finally we sacrifice our entire life for simple numbers on our bank account. It is not even golden coins which people used back in times. Gold is worth something. At least you can put it under the table leg if it is unsteady. Then there were bank notes made of paper. And it is not also an absolutely useless thing as you can burn it in case you are freezing. And what we have now is just virtual numbers! These numbers are not even real; they only exist in somebody's computer travelling from one bank account to another. But hey, it is impossible, mind you, to live without those numbers and bank accounts. Or is it?
- I'm sorry, madam. If you find it impossible to pay for the room, I can't help you. Mr. Truman, could you give me a hand over here! Please explain this nice woman our rules and take care of her.
The receptionist went on working and the women began to ramble something to Mr. Truman, the porter who approached her.
- No, no, it's not what you think! I'm neither a beggar nor a homeless or something like that. My name is Heidemarie Schwermer and I live a money-free life. I gave up using money sixteen years ago, so yes, I can't pay for the room. What I usually do is I offer some services in return for food or other things that I need.
- Ok, I think I understand you, Ms. Schewrmer. But can I ask you a question? Why do you do this? It's a quite complicated way of living. People have invented money because it is convenient and makes your life easier.
- Easier – maybe, yes, but gives no freedom and turns you into a real slave. This concept of money takes away all our energy. We are so concentrated on the money issue. All we think about during our lives is how to pay off a loan, or which bank has better interest rates. It seems people are just earning money and spending money. But perhaps the purpose of life is different. What if we have much more important things to care about? I know all those phrases sound like bumper stickers, but by leaving without money I'm just trying to show people that we do have a choice.
- Anyway, madam, now you don't have money to pay for the room, and unfortunately according to our rules we cannot let you stay here for free.
- Oh, don't worry. You are a very helpful man, but I can take care of myself. Believe me even if from the side it seems like a trouble, for me it's just my normal life style. You know, I have been living without money for sixteen years, and during this period I haven't had a single day of despair. It might surprise you, but there are a lot of good people all around! They donate me a lot of things; they provide me with simple jobs so that I could get things that I need. Everyone is very kind to me whenever I go.
- Ms. Schewrmer, your story is just marvelous. I would love to have you as a guest in my house. Please, wait a couple of hours until I finish my work and we will go to my place. I will introduce you to my wife and to my children. I'm sure we will have a good time talking and having dinner together.
- I would love to. Thank you very much.
Ms. Schewrmer doesn't have home. She doesn't have any other possessions either except one small suitcase with clothes. She can afford to live money-free life because other people help her providing with shelter, clothes and food. This nice woman believes the more people will give up using money the better. She set up the first exchange circle in Germany called “Give and Take central” to spread this idea of money-free life. This organization helps people to swap simple services like babysitting or house cleaning for various goods.
On the other hand, Mr. Truman works as a porter for money. He receives his salary every month and pays utilities, buys food, supports his family. What would happen if Mr. Truman decided to quit his job and sell his house? What if everybody did this? Would Heidemarie Schwermer have a chance to get help in society where everybody needs help? Where would she stay?