Daily Archives: February 2nd, 2010
Cleaning out the Sunshine
Note: Spoiler alert. If you haven’t yet seen the movie Sunshine Cleaning this post will give away the ending. You have been warned to prevent spoilage.
Due to the invention of Netflix my movie choices of late have sometimes gone askew. Mainly this is because Mrs. Abyss is also known as The Keeper of the Queue. She rules that puppy with an iron fist and we get all sorts of surprises. 🙂
The most recent offering: a little movie called Sunshine Cleaning.
There is a scene in the movie where the main character’s dad, a man who repeatedly tries many varied and nefarious money making schemes throughout the movie, buys the main character a van for the brand new cleaning business.
On the side of the van it says something about being a family business “since 1963.” That prompts the following bit of dialogue:
Rose: Since 1963?
Alan: Yeah, it gives a sense of stability. People like that.
Rose: It’s a lie.
Alan: It’s a business lie. It’s different from a life lie.
Rose: [laughs] OK, I can live with that.
Therein lies the rub. It is not okay to lie. Not even to make money. I don’t give a fucking shit what you can “live with.”
I recently had a friendly debate with a friend about the fact that businesses lie as a matter of routine. I made the point that there is no truth in advertising, that businesses will lie, cheat and steal to make money. She said, “Wow. We really have a different perspective on that. Sure, I believe there are people who will do that if given the opportunity, but I think they’re in the minority.”
Say what?!? I wonder what glue she’s been sniffing? 🙂
I get the feeling she’s a “glass half full” sort of person. Since I’m the self-proclaimed Guru of Negativity you might think that gives me the “glass half empty” side of things. You’d be wrong. I fall into the “how big will the spill be once the glass tips over” category. 🙂
The thing is: They don’t need an opportunity to go out and lie, cheat and steal. They make their own opportunities for that.
While having the discussion with her, I had a rather sobering thought. My views on the lack of scruples in business is based on my personal experience. That isn’t too surprising. But what really floored me: Every company I’ve ever worked for has turned out to be unethical bastards. Every fucking one.
That’s the thing about morals and ethics. It’s what we expect of others but none of that applies to us. Laws no!
I’ve railed against my current company ad infinitum. Last week’s tasty goodness: Management was complaining about our suppliers lying to us about the availability of merchandise when we do the same fucking thing to our customers on our web site. Get dat money, then stall, bamboozle and lie. Whatever it takes. The painful business reality: Being dishonest brings you more profits. Selling with lies is like taking candy from a baby. Selling with the truth? Now that takes actual skill.
So as I sit back and ponder my storied career (still in progress) I attempt to reconcile my friend’s opinion with the reality of what I’ve seen at the places I’ve worked. Either I’m just an extraordinarily unlucky guy or my work history is more routine than my friend would ever care to admit and her optimistic faith in humanity is misplaced.
I think I’ll close this post with two more sets of movie quotes, this time from Office Space, one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s pure genius:
Peter Gibbons: The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.
Bob Porter: Don’t… don’t care?
Peter Gibbons: It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s the motivation? And here’s something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.
Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon?
Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses.
Bob Slydell: Eight?
Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.
Peter Gibbons: So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.
Dr. Swanson: What about today? Is today the worst day of your life?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Dr. Swanson: Wow, that’s messed up.