I'm trying to find the short story where due to shortage of jobs, people were not allowed to do most things by themselves, but instead were forced to hire professionals. Everybody had daily quotas for various types of activities and if they run out, they HAD to hire somebody or wait till the next day (possibly different period of time?).

At the very end of the story, a poor mother who wanted to punish her child, but she couldn't afford the services of professional spanker, so she decided that she will skip brewing n-th coffee that day by herself and instead use that DIY job quota to spank the child herself.

It was a very short story (possibly 4-10 pages?), I have read it at least 25-30 years ago, but there is a good chance it was a lot older than that.

  • 4
    Sounds thematically similar to "The Midas Plague", by Frederik Pohl, though Pohl's story was more focused on runaway production. There was a funny scene which does sound a bit like the premise of the story you're looking for. The protagonist goes to a therapy session which consists of him and multiple therapists. The therapists end up arguing with each other and ignoring the protagonist, and it's pretty clear that that's the usual outcome of these sessions.
    – user888379
    Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 14:08
  • Sounds similar, but from what I remember from my story, quotas were imposed to limit amount of work you are allowed to do by yourself, rather than to force you to consume them. It was still costly and people couldn't afford many things, drama was about not being able to do them yourself, even if they were simple. I also don't think there were any robots involved - restrictions were put in place so people can have jobs. Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 17:08
  • 3
    I agree that your story doesn't really match up to the Pohl - hence my not using it an answer. It does feel as though the two stories come from pretty much the same era, like the detail of spanking being an uncontroversial punishment.
    – user888379
    Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 17:41


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