The Business Omen: Bodes of Portends
My organization asked me to select a vendor, conduct negotiations, and secure their services. To that end I put on a suit and tie. I also washed myself. (With soap this time.) This was important.
Naturally I selected a slick company that was “unparalleled” and the “world’s best” at what they did. I was connected with a sales person. We did a little dance.
I filed reports with the CEO about what I learned. He got back to me. He was going with my recommendation.
Oh, shit.Company credit card in hand, I inked the contract. I was then directed to the company’s website to open our shiny new account.
ERROR. (See right.)
Every journey begins with a single step. Each step is an interval where you can be screwed. Enjoy the journey.
“Thanks for choosing ACME Velociraptors Inc. LTD Corp.,” said the salesperson who was now my close personal friend. “I’ll give you a call on Monday to go over implementation.” He even bade me, “Have a nice weekend.”
It’s now Monday. I’m literally stunned that he didn’t call. Am I supposed to wait three days before I call him? I don’t want to look desperate. Oh, forget it. I already emailed him a couple hours ago. He hasn’t called back.
Where did I go wrong? I thought he liked me.
This is one bump in the road too many. Suddenly I don’t feel so good. This is a bad omen, man. This does not portend well. Beware the bodes of business.
Is he born of a jackal or is that me? I’m new to this shit.
There’s a crap for that. Stick a pitchfork me. I’m done. Well done. By Satan himself.
The future’s so blight I gotta dig graves. A pitchfork works well for that, right?
So, technology. Let’s talk about that. It’s here. It has landed on our chests like a motherfucking elephant in a COPD commercial. Let me posit this: How’s that technology working out for you?
In a moment I’m going to share my ideas regarding the three-pronged attack on our very existence by technology. (Get it? Pitchfork?) I used to think there was only one prong but that was before spring break. I’ve since expanded my thinking (as well as something else).
Call it my Grand Unification Theory of Technology (GUTT) if you will. It’s time for a gut check. Spoiler alert: Mine has been spilled open by a pitchfork. Dammit. They let anyone own these things.
It’s time to stick ’em with the prongy end. Make the jump and I’ll get to the point.
So you want to be in the mail order business. Whether traditional “brick and mortar” or hanging out your shingle online, you have decided to ask the same question: How easy is it to rip me off?
Mail order is a retail system where fulfillment takes place at a remote location outside of your field of view and control. Think of it as the fog of war. By definition you are operating with less than full information. By design. Remember, this was your choice.
You might as well go in a dark alley and roll some dice. You might get better odds.
Here’s a typical scenario:
- Customer/criminal visits your website and loads up on plastic crap made in China. (Let’s be honest, that’s all you sell.)
- Payment is made with a credit card.
- You rub your hands together in glee, shout “Squee!” and box and ship the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend receives the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend then claims crap was never received and “disputes” the charges with the credit card company.
- The credit card company (aka The Vig) is, in this situation, the sole arbiter of truth, justice and the American way. You agreed to this policy.
- You submit all of your detailed records regarding the transaction including: customer order, shipping receipt, emails, phone records, retina scans, DNA samples and a electronic facsimile of thumbprint.
- The credit card company says, “Well, there just ain’t no way to know!” and decides in the
customer’scriminal’s favor. There’s a giant sucking sound as the money is extracted from your account.
Let’s review. What just happened? The customer isn’t out one single penny and the customer has your stuff. Bazinga! And there’s no magical fairy in the universe that’ll ever do one thing about it. Welcome to your new reality.
Those of you who watch Orange Is The New Black may recognize this tactic as employed by the criminal mastermind Lorna Morello during her pre-prison flashbacks. People really get caught for this? No. Remember, OITNB is fiction.
The bottom line is that shipping product mail order to a customer is a supreme act of faith. You’re basically hoping it’ll all work out. And when it doesn’t, there’s isn’t too much you can do about it.
The point is that when this happens the boss is furious and that, of course, is hilarious.
Back when I was in the e-biz, we had two kinds of clients: Demon and PITA. Some things never change.
Tom’s Law #42
Like a boss or a customer in a restaurant, anyone paying you money to do work on their behalf believes it is their duty to make your life a living hell.
Demon clients are customers where you lose money. They are basically squeaky wheels that aren’t worth the grease to fix. (That’s not to say, however, that a fix would be having them greased.)
Consider: You and another person are customers of some product or service. You pay on time, are reasonable, and an all-around good egg. The other person, however, is slow to pay, constantly whines, excessively consumes your time and resources, and basically sucks your life away like the machine in the dungeon in The Princess Bride. Coincidentally they use the word “inconceivable” a lot.
What if you both pay the same rate? If so, then simply by being nice, you are getting ripped off. Big time. Essentially your function is subsidizing assholes.
Smart companies know this and charge demon clients more and good clients less. Generally speaking, less subsidizing that goes on the better. Subsidizing is an affront to concepts like fairness and equity.
PITA? That stands for, of course, “Pain In The Ass.”
When you combine demon and PITA into a single client? That’s where the magic happens. That’s when it’s truly something special. A singular experience worth writing home about.
Diner At Eats
Good news. By clicking to read this post an 18% gratuity has already been added to your bill.
Don’t worry. We still provide a space for “tip” that allows you to recognize unparalleled service. You don’t normally review your charges, do you? Have you tipped 20% on top of an 18% gratuity lately? Trust me. It’s fun.
I survive on your tips. The lion’s share of the profits go to management. Luckily, though, my proceeds are not subject to “protection” charges by the blogosphere syndicate. I haven’t been syndicated. At least not yet. Won’t you help pay my way through college?
A local restaurant just closed. The “chef” had her parents invest lots of their own money which I can only assume has now vaporized. The building is shuttered and construction workers have brought in scaffolding and are tearing things apart.
The food had a reputation for being quite good but the portions were notoriously tiny. The prices were though the roof and the place was easily one of the most expensive in town. The restaurant never seemed to do anything about bad service though the stories were the stuff of legend and spread like wildfire through our small town.
I heard the chef had an explanation for her failed enterprise. “The community just didn’t support us.” Yeah, I’m sure she’ll be successful wherever she lands.
After doing Saturday morning computer work for a friend, I was “paid” with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for this very same restaurant. Hell, that probably makes it my fault they closed just a few days later. Whatever. Yet another guru freebie and without gratuity, to boot! I guess I should frame that coupon and hang it on my wall to remind me of how the world works.
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Let Them Not Eat Cake
“Hey, that cakes looks delicious.”
“Thanks. Want a piece?”
“I don’t know. Has it been vetted? I only eat straight cake, motherfucker. That’s how they get you.”
Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
If you grow up, though, then you’re on your own. Jesus has got places to go and things to do. He has a very full schedule.
This post is about three bakeries (and probably more) that are in the business of making, among other things, wedding cakes, but have policies against providing their cakes to weddings for gay couples.
Those bakers have gotten their batter in a bother. Yes, the sacred art of stirring flour, sugar and eggs must be defended. No matter the cost. This is jihad.
OK, I’ll bite. This will be my attempt to leaven things up with a dash of reason. As always my two bits are the icing on the cake.
For dessert I’ll be serving delicious Bread of Shame, so bring your appetite! I’m generously offering to slice off little pats of my anger to be used as a topping. I’m currently off dairy.
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Drive Thru Your Face #mcdonalds
It seems self-evident to say this, but you don’t go to McDonald’s for the service. Nor do you go there for great-tasting food. #obvious
Wait a minute. Why the fuck do you go there?
Oh yeah. Now I remember. Because you’re in a hurry and you need to cram something barely edible in your fucking eat hole because you think you’re hungry. (Even though that’s a sensation you’ve never really experienced.) Yeah, it all comes back to me now.
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