An interesting quandary in the otherwise very certain moral world of the followers of Harold Camping, was described in a wonderfully deadpan way in a recent Business Week article. The link is here , but I cover the part that particularly tickled me below.
The followers of Harold Camping are of course the people who believed the world was going to end starting at 6.00 pm on 21 May in New Zealand. The concept of the end of the world starting in New Zealand is actually quite convincing to me, but the rest of it seemed less plausible. The main point of their belief, you recall, was that they would ascend to heaven, experiencing the raptures as a result, while the rest of us would be consumed in flames, gnashing of teeth, and severe problems with the Antichrist.
Several services offering pet care for the believers were widely reported in the press. These offered to look after the pets in the brief period between the owners ascending to heaven and the rest of us being consumed in flames (about 6 months). Business Week focussed on one outfit, the excellently-named “Eternal Earth-Bound Pets” which is offering a generous 10 year contract. They pointed out that the CEO, the also excellently-named Bart Centre has a marketing challenge with his offering. He has to convince his clients that the pet carers are evil enough to have no chance of going to heaven, yet good enough to take care of their pets. That’s quite a fine line there, and a big ask for some already pretty conflicted people.
His solution is to offer certified atheists who are provable pet lovers. So far it seems to be working, as he has over 100 customers. Partly that may be due to his very competitive rates. He charges only $110 for a 10 year contract. But then he can afford to. “If we thought the Rapture was really going to happen,” Centre says, “obviously our rate structure would be much higher.”
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