Eric didn’t believe he was doing anything wrong scamming tenants out of their money. If he didn’t do it, somebody else would. Money often privately changed hands in bigger deals than his, so why shouldn’t he do the same?

He looked up as a young couple entered the agency.

“Have you found a flat for us yet?” the man asked.

“I have, but I’m afraid … your credit check didn’t pass muster.”

“Oh … that was just trouble we got into a while ago when we bought some new furniture. We bought more on our credit card that we were supposed to. I thought it would all be forgotten by now.”

“No, it hasn’t been,” Eric said. “But have you got somebody in your family who could sign for you?”

“Could my cousin do it?” the young woman asked. “She’s never been in any sort of financial difficulties.”

“Yes, she could sign for you. How soon can you get her here? We need to close the deal as quickly as possible. I have at least four other couples to show the flat to this evening.” Eric was lying.

“I’ll have her here in ten minutes,” the man smiled. “She owes us a favour.”

Eric had just sublet out another of the properties on his books. It was not allowed, and it was breaking the mandate on another of his boss’s properties.

But Eric didn’t think of his boss at all and the damage that it would cause his business. Eric was only thinking of himself and the money he was going to earn. He clapped his hands in glee. David had no idea what he was up to. There was a lot of money to be made renting out properties, especially for somebody as crooked as he was.

Eric was home alone that night. He poured himself a large brandy before sitting down in his favourite armchair facing the window. He loved his flat in Richmond Hill. He was alone, high up, but there were always people passing below on the street.

In the past few years Richmond Hill had become one of the ‘in places’ to live in Port Elizabeth. More and more younger people were moving to the area. As a result, more shops had opened and now there were many local restaurants to choose from. He loved the buzz of the place.

He sat down intending to study, but found he could not concentrate on the words on the page in front of him.


Tell us: What do you think about the excuse: ‘Everyone is doing it, so why shouldn’t I?’ What does reasoning like this cause?