Priced as marked
“This post doesn’t have a price tag? It must be free, right? Ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
In response, the Abyssian customer service associate doesn’t lose his shit and calmly points at the the wall. “Clearly you did not see our sign.” It reads:
“The next customer to crack the ‘it must be free’ joke on an unmarked item will be stabbed in the eye. Thank you for shopping Abyss Inc.”
–Our humorous sign (patent pending)
And no, this post is not free. By reading this far, per our implied EULA buried on some other page you’ve never visited, you already owe me $2.99. I’d immediately quit reading if I were you.
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Christmas Down Your Throat
Be careful. The War on Christmas is about to flank your rear. Or something like that. It’s classic military stratergy. Don’t fire until you see the whites of their snow.
Today we put my life on hold (such a delicious phrase) and take the occasional look at my wife’s place of employment. Always good times. This is the same place that, in Christmas past, made employees roll dice to get their seating assignments at the company Christmas party. That’s right, the fucking Christmas party. They turned what was supposed to be a festive holiday gathering that recognized contributions of employees into a damnable H.R. exercise. Buffoons!
To: All Employees
From: The Management
Subject: Christmas Policy
Chrissy will be coming around today with jingle bells on to distribute decorations. You are required to create a festive Christmas display at your workstation. Refusal would be unwise and will set you apart from the group.
H.R. has assigned several employees who will be allocated more than half the day each to work on this and other vital Christmas-related projects that will ensure the financial success of our company for another year.
Reminder: Office supplies remain secured under lock and key (use requisition form 13-Baker if you need paper) and there are no bonuses this year. Remember, you are lucky you didn’t get laid off.
Our observance of the Christmas season begins at 9pm on Thanksgiving (just like Black Friday). We celebrate the true spirit and meaning of Christmas: Using the holiday to put the maximum milk on sales.
Your Team Motivation Team
Leave it to the Christmas season to bring out the best in folks!
A Very Merry GOP Labor Day – Ho Ho Ho!
Some people just get it. And then there’s the GOP. Absolutely brilliant insight from The Cassandra Files Blog. Happy labor day!
Maybe someone needs to tell Eric Cantor that this is NOT what Labor Day is about:
I know that for Cantor and the GOP it gets hard to separate Labor Day from unions; and I know that since unions typically support Democrats over Republicans, that must hurt. But that doesn’t change history.
Attempting to redefine Labor Day to fit the frame of the current campaign (celebrating the titans of industry who built this country on the backs of millions of exploited workers) is like trying to reframe slavery as a popular jobs program for African immigrants.
If Cantor were the only one saying such things, we could laugh it off as just another gaffe by an out-of-touch politician. But he’s not alone. The entire Republican party is not only pushing fealty to the “job creators”, they’re simultaneously attacking unions and worker protections. Every time a Republican politician or business executive talks about…
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Getting religious about special rights
This is a mid-day “I’m at the office” quiki-post spawned (heh!) by something that just ejaculated across my display during my lunch break. Condoms are only 98% effective and in this case my post burst through…
Speaker of the House John Boehner is ragin’. In fact, he was out on the floor of the House sportin’ a boner. Boehner got a boner. See what I did there? God, I’m so clever.
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It’s a job
How would you come off if someone secretly recorded video of you doing your job? Would you pass that test? Would you come through with flying colors?
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The conn of the fox
After three plus decades in the PC/IBM-compatible world, I recently acquired two Apple computers. I plan to blog a bit later about the transition from one world to the other.
Apple products are sleek, stylish, elegant, quiet, cool and fun to use. My last PC computer was the size of a small suitcase and I paid extra money for the “super quiet” case. Yet it sounded like a 747 taking off and we practically had to yell over the noise when in my office. By comparison my Apple “Mac Mini” is so small that it sits on my desk and I didn’t even realize it was a computer at first. I mistook it for an external hard drive. The size and the fact that it made absolutely no noise at all was deceptive.
“The facilities at Foxconn are fine, but the management is poor. Hundreds of people work in the workshops but they are not allowed to talk to each other. If you talk, you get a black mark in your record and you get shouted at by your manager. You can also be fined.”
–An investigator of Foxconn’s Longhua plant
So, for the first time in my life, I’ve signed up as an Apple customer, I’ve made purchases from the Apple store, and I’ve received three shipments so far from Apple. And I’ve noticed that their boxes, sleek and stylish also, say things like “Designed in California.”
The phrase “designed in” is, of course, a euphemism for “made outside the U.S.A.” At my former employer we sold apparel products in our store that had large labels sewn into the garments. These labels were representations of the flag of the United States. In smaller print, under the flag, were the words “Designed in the U.S.A.” I often wondered if this actually worked on the non-critical thinkers out there. I guess that approach must work on some. The garment was actually made in Pakistan but I wondered how many purchasers actually realized that.
Some shoppers would make it very clear they only wanted “made in the USA.” I’d say great, and show them to the rack of USA garments. These were, however, about three times the cost for the same item. And, I’ll be painfully honest here, were not of the same quality as the items made in Pakistan. Sad. Even the most hardcore patriotic shopper withered in the face of such facts.
So my Apple products proudly proclaimed that they were “designed in California.” A check of the label told the rest of the story. “Made in China.” No big surprise there. It’s the age old story of companies wanting consumers with American dollars purchasing their products but not wanting to pay American workers to produce them. And it’s not just Apple. My Google toys were also made in China.
A few days later a news story about Apple caught my eye. It seems that their products made in China are handled by a company known as Foxconn. And, in 2010, “nearly a dozen” Foxconn workers committed suicide, some by jumping from buildings. In fact, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Tim Cook, the man likely to fill the shoes of Steve Jobs, personally visited Foxconn in 2010 to improve “working conditions” there. Cook was accompanied on his visit by “two leading experts” on suicide.
For its part, Foxconn also took action. Among other brilliant ideas it began attaching large nets to buildings, Apple said. Is it just me or does that seem like treatment of the symptom? Sure, you could fix the underlying problems that lead some to think suicide is a solution or, even better, just try to catch more of them before they hit the ground and cause annoying negative publicity.
Foxconn also hired counselors.
So nets and counselors, eh? Both of these solutions are decidedly aimed at workers. But where is any indication that Foxconn is willing to fix itself and improve working conditions? Sadly I can’t find evidence of that in the news reports I’ve seen.
Apple reported that it found 91 underage workers. Not a good sign of a responsible culture.
It was also reported that some of the materials used to produce its products, like tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold may not be “fair trade.” In other words, those products may be sourced from regions where armed conflict and/or human rights abuses are known to be occurring.
Apple said it had required companies to reimburse $3.4 million in “recruiting fees” to workers. Yeah, employees had to pay bribes for the right to be mistreated workers.
Chinese environmental groups recently released a report critical of Apple saying that the company didn’t do enough to address health and environmental concerns at its manufacturing plants. In one case, they claimed a worker at a Wintek Corp. plant had nerve damage caused by a chemical known as n-Hexane. Apple said it required Wintek to stop using n-Hexane after 137 workers had experienced health problems after exposure to the chemical.
It seems to me that a job has to be pretty poor indeed if that many workers think the only way out is to die. Last year, the Telegraph reported that 16 workers jumped, 12 died, and that 20 more people were caught and stopped by the company before they could jump.
Personally, when I eat a plate of food, perhaps a little chicken, I like to know that the chicken had a pretty good life, at least by chicken standards. At least up to the point where it was killed to become my dinner. I’d like to think it lived free and enjoyed the sorts of things that chickens enjoy. What I absolutely do not want to hear is that the chicken was mutilated at birth, kept in a tiny box for its entire life, and was forced to stay awake and eat under bright lights 20 hours a day. Some say God put animals on Earth for humans to use, but that’s just taking things too damn far.
I feel something similar about my shiny new Apple products. I’d like to know with certainty that the company I’ve chosen doesn’t abuse human beings. Even those in other countries. I’d like to know that the employees were paid a fair wage, given things like reasonable breaks, had safe working conditions and were treated with dignity and respect. I’d like to know that workers weren’t pushed to work 70 hours a week or subjected to so much stress that they “twitched” during their off hours.
Is that too much too ask?
- Apple sent top exec to China after rash of suicides at supplier plant
- Inside Foxconn’s suicide factory
So Long, and Thanks for All the Pish
It’s official. I am out of The Shit Hole, Galactic Empire Designation Death Star One.
I have done punched that clock for the last time.
To think I’ve been blogging about hating my job for well over a year now. I never imagined this day could actually come.
I don’t really have a lot to say about it right now. Here’s a little run down on some official Last Week goodness:
Late last week, one of my fellow employees, recently code named The Waffler, had finally had enough. Like me, his big beefs with the job revolved around things like nanomanagement and how employees are treated.
A few weeks back The Waffler had been put on notice by management. He had to improve or he’d be fired. Like me he’s been with the company for over five years, and, like me, the boss always says that he’s “family.”
Late one afternoon he received an email with an enormous list of tasks and was told, “These must all be completed today.”
So he stayed late and kept working while the rest of us clocked out and went home.
Ever the curious one, I waited until after payday and kindly inquired if he had been paid for working late.
“Nope,” he replied. Ah! Just like what they’ve done to me, the company illegally modified his time card.
“Did they offer you any time off to compensate?” I asked.
“Nope,” he said. “I’ve heard absolutely nothing about that.” And, unless I miss my guess, he never will. The company just doesn’t pay overtime and not once in my five and one-half years was I ever comped any time no matter how many freebie hours I put in.
A few more shitty things happened and finally The Waffler had had enough. Early one morning he requested a meeting with the boss. “I’m going to quit,” he confided in me as I greeted him that morning.
I was aglow with anticipation and excitement. “This is gonna be good,” I thought. Of course, my negative side was whispering in my ear, “Get over it. It ain’t gonna happen.”
The closed-door meeting began and we all clearly heard the boss through the paper-thin walls. “I want to start by apologizing to you.” Uh oh. Not a good sign. I knew then he wouldn’t quit.
The meeting lasted two and one-half hours and along the way morphed into the boss telling The Waffler the myriad of ways that he sucks and had better improve. Epic fail.
Two days ago he was reprimanded for not saying “thank you” to the boss regarding something said in chat and for not saying “I’m sorry” after making a mistake.
I’m still amazed how the boss was able to completely turn The Waffler around from his decision to quit to taking abuse again.
To celebrate my last day of work, the boss decided today would be “crazy hat day.” I walked in and everyone was wearing stupid hats. I knew something was up!
I was forced to pick a hat. Since the employee’s have been joking about it being Christmas for me all week long, I picked the Santa hat.
After arriving at work I learned that the company was buying me lunch to say goodbye. Of course I was standing there stupidly holding in my hands the lunch I had brought in since no one bothered to tell me. If I had known I could have been spared from bringing in my lunch. That would have been convenient. And, like always, the person of honor is never asked anything about what they’d actually like to have for lunch. Management can’t allow employees to make any decisions no matter what. “Here! Eat this shit that we bought. We ordered for you whether you like it or not. Enjoy. That’s an order. Comply.”
You’re never supposed to leave a man behind, but today I selfishly ran for cover leaving three of my cohorts deep in the shit. I doubt I’m going to be awarded the Medal of Honor for that.
In closing, here are the two final employee whiteboards from my last week on the job.