Bob and Ted are best friends and tough, battle hardened soldiers. During a fray, Bob saves Ted's life in some fashion. Bob shrugs off his action saying that if Ted died, he would have to carry all of the supplies himself, not to mention a lot of paperwork back at base. Simply, his death would be inconvenient to him.
This is not to say that Bob saved his life simply out of pragmatism. Bob probably cares very much about Ted, however, in order to have a macho facade, he'll just shrug it off with this.
Other times, the trope is played completely straight, and Bob only saved Ted's life because he didn't want to carry all of the supplies himself, and go through a mountain of paperwork.
Compare to Can't Kill You, Still Need You
- In John C. Wright's The Phoenix Exultant, Atkins comments that since Phaethon and Daphne survived, he gets to file a report of no civilian casualties.
- Harry Potter. During an interrogation, Goyle is holding Neville in a very tight chokehold, suffocating him. Snape calmly tells him to loosen his grip, as if Neville dies, Snape will be stuck with a lot of paperwork and will be forced to mention his death to any future employer.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Pritchard tells Adam to be careful towards the end of the game, showing that he has finally warmed up to Adam. When Adam jokingly points out how he cares now, Pritchard tries to cover his ass by saying he wants him alive simply because his death would be bad for the company.
- Modern Warfare. One level has Griggs taken hostage by enemy troops. When you save him, he jokingly says that he believed that your squad had decided to leave him. Price mentions that he considered it, but saved him because his "arse had all the C4."
- In Freelancer, as Trent and the other survivors of the Freeport 7 disaster arrive on Manhattan, a medical crew carry one of the survivors, Sam Lonnigan, out of the transport on a stretcher:
Trent: Make sure he lives! He owes me a million credits.
- At one point in Neverwinter Nights 2, you have to fight a powerful devil who bears a grudge against one of your companions. When the companion asks why you did it, you have the option of telling him that you only care about keeping him alive because he knows part of a ritual you'll eventually need to defeat the King of Shadows. The companion, one of your Token Evil Teammates, compliments you on your pragmatic attitude.
- One of the more recent arguments against the death penalty, at least in the United States, is that it's more expensive than life imprisonment.