Non-Profit May Not Mean What You Think It Means

“Hey, baby!” SwampMan greeted me as I walked in from Walmart with shopping bags on both arms. For $85.00 worth, I would have liked to have a few more, but noooooo. “Remember how you wanted to experiment with hydroponics and fish, but ultimately decided that it would be too expensive to play with?”

“Unh hunh”, I answered absently as I put away groceries. I don’t know that I ever said it exactly like that. I remember something along the lines of “Why should I diversify into feeding plants with fish shit when I’m up to my eyeballs in rabbit shit, duck shit, chicken shit and sheep shit?” I’m also getting more lbs. of meat/year with my ducks, etc., than I would from the fish. The eggs are better, too. I just can’t do scrambled fish eggs for breakfast.

“Well, some ministry dedicated to helping people feed themselves is teaching people how to set up hydroponic operations, and I think it would be nice if you could take the class.”

“I seriously doubt I could afford it. When does it begin?”

“Next week. Didn’t you hear me? It is a non-profit organization supported by donations and fees. The classes must be free.”

“Hmmmmmph. Non-profit does NOT mean free. It means that it will be supported by the fees for the class, which we will not be able to afford.”

“When did you get so cynical? What about the cost of that class that you were lookin’ at through an agricultural supply company? That was what, $1,000.00? This one has to be waaaaaay less expensive.”

“That one included three nights of hotels and meals, and the entire price could be put toward a low-cost hydroponic system. Businesses can afford to do that because they’ll have repeat customers that will buy their supplies far into the future where they will eventually make a profit. Non-profits will not have a future income stream. They have to get everything possible at registration.”

SwampMan read through the rest of the article looking for the price of the class. It wasn’t there. “Aha!” I said. “If it were free or low cost, that would be in the article.”

“That don’t mean nothing!” SwampMan insisted. “I’ll go to the website and check.”

I continued putting things away. After a few minutes, SwampMan said “Oh. The class is over $500.00. Per person.”

“Figured it would be pretty pricy!” I agreed.

“Well, much as I would love for you to be able to take it, what with taxes bein’ due and all, looks like we won’t be able to pay it.”

So there you go. A promising career in hydroponically-grown produce and fish has been tragically destroyed before starting.


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