Don’t cross business streams
True. The tweet above had absolutely nothing to do with this post. It was actually about me going insane. (A very worthy topic.) But not, alas, the topic for today.
Instead, the word “stream” caught my fancy. Yes, I’ll admit. At first it was in a “don’t stand under this” sort of way. But then my thoughts turned to things like revenue streams and product streams. While in that place, I wrote the following little ditty (sung to the tune of The Streets of Laredo):
As I walked out with my Wall Street Journal
As I walked out with my Journal one day
I spied a rich douchebag with a bad hairpiece
A hairpiece as fake as the the caring I feigned.
I see by your outfit that you are a douchebag
I see by your hairpiece that you’re a douchebag, too
I think we should do business we’d both make a killing
There are lots of dumb marks that we can both screw.
We both love money so much that we eat it
We both use work to avoid our home lives
A partnership formed in our quest for more profits
To chase that worthy dream we’re both willing to lie.
Oh cheat and lie and gray the lies lowly
We’ll giggle and laugh as we roll along
Take it the bank and pull the wool o’er
If wealth is right we don’t ever wanna be wrong.
I’ve got greed in my chest and so I must lie.
This sad story is one about the “free market.” Yeah, that free market. You know the one, right? The one that people on the right love to ejaculate about so much? Yeah, that one. This story will provide a glimpse of insight into how that sucker really works.
It started with a phone call…
“Hello, this is Blowhard.” (That’s my boss! And no, that’s not his real name.)
“Hi, this is Madame X with Acme-Fun-Time Distribution.”
Madame X (not her real name) is a representative with a product distribution company. Blowhard has been courting a business relationship with her for some time. It’s very important to him and he worked very hard to build it up. He milks her for information that she probably shouldn’t share. When they met at the convention in Vegas, she took him out to dinner on the company credit card. When he recently toured their plant, she arranged to have his room paid for and got him the all-you-can eat buffet for free. He was as happy as a pig in shit. His two greatest loves are free and food, and she went and gave him both.
You’d think he’d be nice to her after that, right?
“Hey, Blowhard. I need to ask you a question. Have you ever heard of a company called Decepto International?”
My boss didn’t miss a beat. When lying becomes a way of life, you get real good at it. “Nope. I’ve never heard of them.”
I love it when chickens come home to roost.
“Oh,” she said. “That’s a bit odd. You see, they have the exact same address as you.”
Uh oh!! The jig is up! One of our dummy companies just got busted. It turns out that the boss greedily used the dummy company to sell products on Amazon.com but forgot to use a different address. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
Mom was right. When you tell lies, it gets increasingly difficult to keep things straight. Obviously, since my boss was hatched, he never had the opportunity to learn this lesson.
How do you show someone that you respect them and care about them in the world of business? Yup. You lie unabashedly right to their face. Classic.
You see, Blowhard had set up a dummy company to purchase products from Acme-Fun-Time Distribution. He did this after his main company had been blacklisted by certain product manufacturers. He was blacklisted for selling products at prices lower than manufacturers wished. Yes, this cousin of “price fixing” is alive and well here in the United States. For more about this, see my earlier post entitled “Term Stomping” and Wikipedia’s page on “resale price maintenance.”
I guess most people would feel somewhat shamed after getting caught red-handed in a lie like that. Not my boss. Not when money is involved.
I could only chuckle at how he had just taken a major shit on the relationship he had worked so hard to build. Oh, they’ll still do business with us. After all, that puts coin in their pockets. And that’s the way the game is played. You deceive me, I’ll deceive the manufacturer, and we’ll all make money.
And this “free market?” It is one where product manufacturers exert a lot of pressure to maintain prices artificially high. It’s a murky world of blacklisting, contracts, gray markets, and companies ratting each other out. And, I’m willing to bet, most of the players are just like my boss.
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.
Sarah Palin is a liar
Note: Don’t ya hate it when you think of a post title that is informative and humorous, then you plug it into the google and find out it’s not as unique as you had hoped? You betcha! wink, wink. Oh well, I’m sticking with it.
It might not seem like it, but I really have nothing much against Sarah Palin as person. She’s a real person with real feelings. I get that.
My only real beef with her is that she is a liar. I don’t care if she has a different point of view than my own. That is actually part of what makes this country great. But using lies to manipulate and deceive is wrong. If you can’t sell with the truth then you need to re-evaluate what you are selling.
The web site PolitiFact.com has a page they call the “Sarah Palin file.” It is a page where they assess the truthfulness of statements made by Palin. For a figure so prominent on the national stage the lack of honesty is quite alarming.
Then today I found this on the Wall Street Journal web site. The following tidbit is made even more impressive when you consider that the WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch:
It is her mastery of the lament that explained former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s appeal last year, and now her knack for self-pity is on full display in her book, “Going Rogue.” This is the memoir as prolonged, keening wail, larded with petty vindictiveness. With an impressive attention to detail, Ms. Palin settles every score, answers every criticism; locates a scapegoat for every foul-up, and fastens an insult on every critic, down to the last obscure Palin-doubter back in Alaska.
When it comes to politicians, the TRUTH is of paramount importance, at least to me. Just tell me the truth. That’s all I ask. If you stick with the truth you have a chance of getting me to see your point. Without truth I’ve got absolutely no use for you. In the final analysis, Palin is nothing more than a snake oil salesperson, and we have far, far too many of those these days.
Sarah, this one’s for you:
I don’t want some pretty face to tell me pretty lies
All I want is someone to believe