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Sunday, September 26, 2010

FS vs BFS: Plasma Donations

Oh, BFS aka Budgeting in the Fun Stuff threw down the gauntlet. She listed plasma donation for pay as one of the EWWWWWW YUK things that were too too frugal. Or, as she put it, "going too far to save money."

Actually, her post came in response to an article from Yahoo Finance. Reading BFS and looking at the original article showed me--yet once more--how value-laden many decisions are.

For instance, I have no opinion one way or the other about dumpster-diving at cemeteries to get flowers. I wouldn't do it, but I don't mind that someone does. I DO think it's awful to refill your condiment jars with the contents of the tiny packets that can be stolen from any fast-food place. Strangely, I'm not upset that the packets are stolen (or are they? how many packets per customer are OK?); I'm upset that the packaging is environmentally wasteful. In my value system, one should use as little of items in wasteful packaging as possible. Besides, I can get a container of ketchup for under $1.00. It would probably take hundreds of tiny packets to fill it up--a lot of wasted energy on the part of the environment and me.

Back to plasma. I must admit that Mr. FS donated plasma several times in grad school. Following the family tradition, Frugal Son found a donation place when he went to college. Two donations a week give him $70. That more than covers his need for spending money. The donations have become annoyingly slow this year, he says. Even so, he is being paid a decent hourly wage. The real EWWWW comes when you learn that the centers sell the plasma for many, many times what they give to the students and "real" poor folks who donate.

SO: BFS vs FS? What's your value system?


FB @ said...

$35 per donation? No kidding!

I do find it repulsive that they resell it for so much more, but we have to consider that they set up all the equipment to grab the plasma, store it, ship it, etc...

At any rate, I agree that taking ketchup packets to fill your condiment jar is going much too far. I'd just buy ketchup if I ate it.

I can think of about 10 frugal things that are way too far, but the #1 that tops the list is re-using dressing............ .


Yes. You read that right.

Anonymous said...

It's great that your son can make so much for a donation and that he is healthy enough to do it.

Previously, I have always associated plasma donation for pay as something struggling young students do. I know adults who donate plasma out of the kindness of their hearts and a cookie or two.

metscan said...

Here in Finland one does not get paid for donating plasma. I think that it is more ethical in this way.

Duchesse said...

Re "how many ketchup packets"? Do you think the restaurant intends for people to take more than one or two? Because 20 packets may be in the bin does not mean "here, take 20".

Selling blood: this is not a question of ethics when the criteria for giving are followed by both donor and agency. Just because one possesses something that can be either donated or sold, and chooses to sell it, one is not acting unethically.

However, blood is a much-needed biologic product, and to anyone who is able and willing to donate, I'm grateful.

Frugal Scholar said...

@FB--Re-using dressing? Salad dressing?

@Terri--He IS a struggling young student! A college senior. Mr FS donates blood all the time--as do we all, though not so much.

@metscan--Probably. I wish we did many things the Finnish way. But it is an opportunity for students--I'm not sure bout the ethics of it in the US.

@Duchesse--Blood is donated. This is plasma--not sure of the ethics as above.

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff said...

I didn't say plasma donation was crazy! That was a commenter.

I thought that getting family members to save ketchup packets for that one guy was going too far and dumpster diving at a cemetery was ewwww.

I think plasma donation is awesome and I donate blood every 8 weeks myself!

Frugal Scholar said...

@BFS--Sorry to mix you up with a commenter--thanks for the inspiration for a post in any case.