Cellist wrote: AudeSapere, I'm not finding fault. I'm fully aware of the difference between volunteering and donating. I realize supplies cost money, as do tools. I'm merely expressing my uneasiness at what I personally saw. What was presented to the "brothers" up front was not the same as what was being done behind the scenes. And, if they were always buying their supplies from the same "brother's store", where was the shopping around for the best deal?
My comments were more in reply to Nina's thread, not yours. It seemed that she was getting wound up with the thought that any money at all was paid to anyone for whatever 'line item'.
I realize from your comments in this thread that there were probably a few areas of impropriety where some could have been taking advantage of the program. Bills could very well have been padded, too.
The point I was trying to make is that purchase of materials and components and rental of heavy equipment does not make the entire program corrupt. It also, in and of itself, does not mean that - in the workings of the program - individuals were taken advantage of.
People volunteered to keep the costs down, not to eliminate all building costs.
MOST - can we say at least 99.5% (??) - were not paid or reimbursed for anything.
And, if they were always buying their supplies from the same "brother's store", where was the shopping around for the best deal?
The link for the branch manual was oddly interesting to me - Thank you, Elsewhere!!. I read part of it yesterday. Below is the excerpt that probably applies to 'shopping around'. I do have to agree with you, though that many, many halls used the same 'vendor' when building/remodeling. That's how we see the same chairs everywhere we go, coast-to-coast. I cannot comment on pricing specifics or cronyism. I'm sure it exists. But cannot prove it. And I sincerely doubt that ALL 'witness-friendly' vendors were guilty of cronyism. Surely some if not most were not gouging the local congregations.
From the Branch Manual (Chapter 22-4 & 5) - it's also how I maintain my professional and personal vendors - (and, thankfully, so do my own customers):
31. BUYING WISELY: The one who buys goods or services should remember that he is spending funds provided for the Kingdom work, and therefore he should be desirous of obtaining full value for the money that is spent. Often an item which can be obtained at a cheap price will actually end up costing more in the long run due to excessive waste, short lifespan, frequent time- or production-consuming breakdowns, unavailability of parts, etc. ….
32. When choosing suppliers you should look for those who are well established and will back up their products. Usually this means the items will cost somewhat more, but the extra cost is well worth the investment . Generally it is best to stay with a reliable supplier and not be switching from one to another. Because they can depend on your business, they may be able to effect savings in their purchases which they will pass along in the nature of discounts. And in the event of shortages they will usually give preferential treatment to valued customers who cooperate with them and pay their bills on time. Though it is good to check with other suppliers from time to time in order to check the prices of your present suppliers, it is well to bear in mind that some merchants will artificially lower prices in order to wean away a prospective client from his competitor. Later he will raise his prices again. Generally your present supplier will work out an agreeable price with you if he knows that his price is too high. For the most part it is usually best to keep prices and suppliers as proprietary information and not reveal them to competitors.
Red lettering highlighted by AudeSapere.
Respectfully to all who participated,
We did good work. And we enjoyed it at the time. I think that was the point of this thread.