Basket Weaving for Dummies
I apologize in advance if you came here actually expecting information regarding basket weaving. My misleading headline has lead you astray. I sincerely apologize for wasting your time. At least there aren’t 42 self-loading videos on this page. I guess it could have been worse. –Ed
For a fun mental exercise I will often take modern situations and problems and try to extend them, in my own inimitable fashion, to a hypothetical construct in my mind loosely based on my concept and interpretation of an indigenous people’s village.
Does this make good sense? Is it accurate? Does it result in increased understanding of how things work? Is it, in even the slightest way, particularly useful? Perhaps not, but I enjoy it and besides, it’s my brain. That’s the one place on this planet where I get to make the rules. No wonder it’s so crazy in there.
One day there was a visitor to the village who observed two people sitting on the ground and weaving some baskets. It was clear they were not equally skilled at the task.
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Two guys were sitting around shooting the shit. Let us not play games and pretend that they were friends. Let’s just call them Ssob and Carp. Yes, clever anagrams that totally obscure any possible meaning. Yes, weird names. Apparently their moms didn’t like them.
One said to the other, “You know what? We should form a company. Together I bet we should be able to make money.” They agreed that sounded like a pretty good idea.
Ssob said, “It won’t work if we are equal, though. Too many tie votes. Nothing will get ever done. What we need is a person who can break all ties. I’ll be that person. My votes will be worth 80 percent and yours will be worth 20.”
Carp’s eyes narrowed and he warily glanced at Ssob. Things were already starting to flow downhill and we all know what that means.
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Staff Infection Meeting
I once quit a job over a staff meeting. True story. I’m sure it’s documented here on the blog somewhere, but long story short, they made us on the 6am crew stick around for a 5pm meeting. I asked, “Is it important?” Our managers assured us it was. “You have to be there,” they said.
The meeting started and the first item of business was rolling out birthday cake for our safety director. At 5-fucking-o-clock. It’s not like most of us would be consuming dinner any time soon.
Then, for the icing on the cake, the rest of the hour was consumed by our managers reading memos to us. Line-by-line. Word-by-word. Like we were in kindergarten or something. Memos that had previously been delivered to our inboxes. Memos I had already read on my very own. It was worse than an insult to our intelligence. It was calling us babies.
After the meeting I opted to go back to my desk rather than heading straight home. I sat there and wrote out a memorandum of my own. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. It’s a classic piece of Americana called the letter of resignation. I plopped that puppy on my manager’s desk and then called it day.
In another place and another time there was another staff meeting. This one involved the quintessential management tool known as the employee survey.
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The Company You Keep
The dictionary defines the word as “a commercial business.”
Wikipedia, as usual, is a bit more verbose:
“A company is an association or collection of individuals, people or “warm-bodies” or else contrived “legal persons” (or a mixture of both). Company members share a common purpose and unite in order to focus their various talents and organize their collectively available skills or resources to achieve specific, declared goals. Companies take various forms such as [a] … [b]usiness entity with an aim of gaining a profit.”
Source: Wikipedia – Company
“Warm bodies?” Holy shit. Wikipedia nails it. Again!
The business manager stormed into the meeting and saw a lot of empty chairs. “God damn it,” he bellowed. “Get me more warm bodies in here!”
Most of us born and bred in the United States wholly swallow – hook, line and sinker – the premise that a company is an organization comprised of human beings with the shared goal of making money, i.e., acquiring profit.
My purpose here today is debate the other point of view, that this concept we’ve so fully accepted is complete and utter horseshit.
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The Little Business License That Couldn’t – Father/Son Edition
This was supposed to be yesterday’s post but was preempted by our breaking Rapture coverage. We now join our regularly scheduled post already in progress…
In some cultures when an elder passes away, it’s often equated to the loss of a “library.”
Gone with the elder is a lifetime of stories, knowledge and experience. The elder will live on, though, if those stories have been passed down to others in the community.
My boss is the owner of the small business where I work. He decided it would be a good idea to help his 16-year-old son start a business, too. Lord, you should see how he swells up with pride at the thought of his son becoming a capitalistic entrepreneur, a money-grubbing reader of the Wall Street Journal like himself.
For newbie readers of the blog, here are a few things you should know as way of introduction to my boss that should help you digest this post. Like my last boss, he holds himself up as a paragon of Christianity. That’s all well and good, at least until the hypocrisy kicks in. Both have, for example, fraudulent pictures of their retail stores on their websites, a peculiar commonality to be sure. Both of them took random pictures of buildings where their stores had never been located and photoshopped the name of their business onto the photos. And did a shitty job of it, too. Then comically and laughably put those images up on their ecommerce websites.
What are the odds of working for two assholes like that? And one right after the other? Am I lucky or what?
The last boss did it because everything about his business was a lie. The new boss did it to prove to suppliers that he has a retail location or else they wouldn’t sell him product. (He doesn’t.)
They have other things in common, too. Like lying on their websites about products being “in stock.” The argument here is, “Once you get their money, you can usually talk them into something else. Above all else, keep that money!” Note that the customer’s actual needs don’t factor into this equation.
The new boss goes a little further with his elaborate house of cards and lies. That’s because he’s been “blacklisted” by manufacturers of the products he sells because he breaks their rules. So he establishes dummy companies with fake identities and has mail drops across the country so he can keep buying from the places where he’s been blacklisted.
“I’m a good Christian and a good person who’s saved. I’m going to heaven and you’re going to hell. And I break the shit out of commandments like ‘thou shall not lie’ based on my own wants and justifications. Most people like me believe the ends justifies the means.”
It’s always touching when father and son meet and come together in precious family moments. There they were in the office working together on the new ecommerce business which was going to be remarkably similar to the existing one. Just a different flavor of widgets from the product catalog. There they were, as father and son, discussing business names, logos, products, websites, and more. Aye, so touching. It brings a wee tear to me eye.
It was decided that the son’s company would use one of the boss’ existing suppliers. Now this is a bit interesting. With this supplier there’s a woman who is our account manager. The boss has worked hard to cultivate his relationship with this woman. It’s a tactic to get good deals and ply her for information. To this end he frequently checks in with her on the phone, faking sincerity, cracking jokes and demonstrating his most impressive business acumen. (Excuse me while I go projectile vomit.)
He even went so far as to meet her at the industry convention in Las Vegas where they had a meeting and she bought him dinner. Yes, he’s a true player extraordinaire.
The point is that his relationship with this woman and his supplier is very important to him. For his own selfish reasons, of course. And it’s something he’s rather proud of.
He got the supplier on the horn to establish an account for his son’s new venture. That company would need its own account for buying things. And he was told by this woman he has befriended that part of the process was that a business license would have to be submitted.
At last! The heart of the matter.
You see, a business license from the city would cost money. And, above all else, the boss (just like my last one) is a freakin’ tightwad. This presented quite the quandary. It’s basically “I want something but I don’t want to spend the money to get it.” What to do? What to do?
Photoshop to the rescue! The boss put his arm around his son, grabbed his business license, and the download of knowledge from one generation to the next was about to begin! “What we need,” he explained wisely, “is to photoshop this document so it looks like it’s yours. It just needs to look real enough that they’ll accept it.”
It’s another touching Hallmark moment between father and son! Quick! Somebody get me a Lifesaver! [sniff]
Tom B. Taker
Ah. Tradition! The boss is helping his son start a company. Teaching him the basics like how to forge a business license in Photoshop.
May 16, 2011
And so the son earnestly went to work, hunched over his computer, original document in hand, his nose to the photoshop. And I have to admit. He did a good job. A damn good job. When he was done he had a fraudulent document that would even fool me.
The apple had not fallen far from the tree.
The fraudulent document was sent to the supplier and all was well with the world. Just another successful day of “business” in capitalist America.
The boss got a call from his supplier friend. It seemed there was a minor problem with the document he had sent. You see, she took the extra step of calling the city to verify the document’s authenticity. It seems that – somehow – the city had no record of that business!
Mwuhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Eat that, motherfucker!!!!!!!
Sometimes even I have to admit – positive things can happen in this world! Truly they can! Verily I say unto you!
So yeah, that’s the way this story goes down. The boss took a powerful shit on the relationship with the supplier he had tried so hard to cultivate. I guess you could say this is where “What I want” meets “reality.” I have to admit, it was quite a refreshing moment. It almost makes life worth living to be able to witness moments like this.
He basically told her: I don’t respect you. You are dumb enough to fall for this. I am not trustworthy and I lie to you.
That woman must be an angel! I’d like to buy her a beer!
Is the boss contrite? Did he fess up and apologize? Has he learned his lesson? Any regret or remorse for what he’s done? Of course not! He acts as if nothing happened. The only emotion he’s expressed is irritation at getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
The end of the story is that the boss went to the city and forked over the money for a real business license and sent that real document on to the supplier. They are now considering his “application” and taking their sweet time, too. Ha ha ha!
Where do assholes comes from? The answer isn’t that surprising. They are carefully handcrafted by existing assholes. Great assholes aren’t born – they’re made.