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.
Protect Thy Ass
A company sells a product called the Widget Beep 9000. The sole purpose of this gadget is to “beep” when the customer wants it. That’s it. That’s all it does.
Obviously that motherfucker sells like hotcakes. Because, we needs it.
The company (heretofore known as the Company), however, has an “agreement” that, somehow, you (heretofore known as the Schmuck) accepted simply by buying their product. Clever how that shit works.
When the time is right, pursuant to the terms of the agreement, the Company fully asserts the “absolute right and power, in its sole discretion and without any liability to Schmuck whatsoever, to cease all beeping operations of the widget, without prior notice, in perpetuity throughout the universe, known and unknown.”
Why the fuck would anyone ever agree to terms like that? Ultimately, giving someone money is giving them the power to fuck you.
I wonder how agreements like these worked in colonial times?
“Hey, Washington, I find myself in need of another one of your colonial-era chairs whittled by hand from a block of solid cherry. This will complete my collection. Anon my family will finally be able to break bread and conduct fellowship, at the same time, around hearth, heart and dining room table.”
“Hey, Adams, you useless pustule of a puke. Don’t talk to me about it. Talk to my corporation.”
“By George, what the hell is a corporation?”
“Allow me to don ye olde corporation hat and assplain it you. It’s Step #1 in fucking you red, black and blue.”
“Now then, I direct you to focus your attention on this. I agree to sell you quantity one of Whittled Cherry 9000 and you give me 5,000 quid of two bits. Furthermore, be it known, that I alone will always decide who may sit – or not – on said chair, if ever.”
“Holy shit. That sounds like an awesome deal to me. I can’t give you my quid bits fast enough. Here, take my money! God, I love you so much, George. That’s another one I owe you. You accept tips, right? Here, try a pint of my latest brew!”
“Why the hell do we still measure things in English measurements, like pints? Gods ye fools! Ha ha ha ha ha!”
“Okay, whatever. Here’s your chair, puke face. Just never sit on it. Now fuck off, ye pukey puke.”
“If only Yelp! had been invented by now, I would herald the news of your beneficence to all the land, from sea to shining sea!”
Indeed. Think Adams sounds like a schmuck? I advise you to check your credit card agreements, especially the section pertaining to “binding arbitration.” You should love it because you agreed to it!
Ha ha ha, you pustule of a schmuck.
Slay me, betray me
Filet me, all the way me.
Douse me in alcohol
Set me aflame and flambé me.
It was rapidly approaching 8pm. Darkness was engulfing the land. Wearily my wife and I made our way to the bedroom. It was time for the nightly ritual of getting ready for bed. The end of another long day.
For me, going to sleep is like giving up. It’s saying, “Once I close my eyes it will be time to open them again, on a new day, and do all of this stuff all over again.” Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
I can’t imagine a more gloomy sentiment.
Yet little did I know at that moment the betrayal that was heading my way before I’d even had the chance to experience that sadness. I wasn’t going to make it to bed unscathed.
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The Prostitutional Promise of Presidential Promises
Did you know that some people think it’s naive to expect a presidential candidate to keep his/her word? I promise you, this is true! I’ve been called it right to my face. By no small coincidence the person doing the speaking was one of the most monumental douchebags I’ve ever met. And no, he wasn’t even my boss. He wasn’t quite that bad.
As we gather our collective will, about to commit ourselves to the task of voting, I’m here to ask: What is a presidential promise? Why are they made? Do they even matter? Should we even care? And what, if anything, should happen when they are broken?
Consider this: If it is naive to expect a presidential candidate to keep his/her promises, then what’s the bloody point of it all? If that’s the case, what selection criteria should go into your vote? Why not just vote for the candidate you “like” the most then, when he/she’s all legit, expect him/her to do whatever the hell he/she wants?
Take Romney, for instance. Part of his platform is officially “get me in there and then I’ll fill you in on the rest of the details later.” Some might call that refreshing. Some might call it straight up. At least he’s not trying to fool the naive folk, right?
On the other hand, he does make his share of promises, too. The biggest one I can think of is: “I’ll create 12 million new jobs.” Now that’s a promise. Never mind that a bunch of economists predict that the U.S. will create those jobs either way, over the next four years, regardless of which of the two choices we select in 2012.
Hey, I’ve got a promise for you, too. The sun will come up tomorrow. I promise. If it actually happens, does that mean I’m brilliant? That I had anything to do with it? And what if it doesn’t? What happens then? Well, we’ll all be dead and there will be no one around to give a shit.
It’s a classic win-win.
Some Eistein smartypants will no doubt say, “Whatever. A president doesn’t have ultimate power. He’s not a dictator. Not unless we’re talking about Obama, of course. A president can’t just do anything he wants. He needs help from Congress and stuff. He can’t go it alone.”
True. And precisely because of that fact, I’ll tell you how, in my opinion, promises should matter.
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Presidential promise breaking can make you sick
As Vector Man, you might say that I’ve made being a vector a meme on on my blog. It’s a topic I mention more often than, say, drinking Starbucks coffee (maybe once a year), so I certainly feel that makes the subject blog-worthy.
Here’s a quick refresher for the newbies:
an organism (as an insect) that transmits a pathogen
It is Vector Man’s solemn duty to work when ill to increase the odds of passing along illness to other humans. It’s a thankless job but someone has to do it. And Vector Man takes his superpowered duties very seriously. Sure, I don’t have a catchphrase yet, like Dr. Horrible. (I’ve got a PhD in horribleness.) But I’m hopefully my application to the Evil League of Evil will still be accepted.
How about, “Always keep your flu open!” Or maybe, “Be loyal, true and stay on the right pathogen!”
Meh. I’ll keep at it.
Of course, every superhero has his weakness. For Superman it is kryptonite. For Seattle-based Phoenix Jones it is reality. And, sadly, for Vector Man, it is a mythical entity known only as The Paid Sick Day.
Once, a presidential candidate known as Barack Obama promised to create more of these sick days and do away with Vector Man once and for all! Luckily he failed.
Here’s the history of how Vector Man survived:
In the time when Obama campaigned to become president, he made a promise:
Require that employers provide seven paid sick days per year – which may be taken on an hourly basis – so that Americans with disabilities can take the time off they need without fear of losing their jobs or a paycheck.
Source: “Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s Plan to Empower Americans with Disabilities.”
Strangely enough, no federal standard for this sort of thing yet exists. I’ve got an idea! Let’s leave it up to small business owners and see how often it actually happens. I’m giving four-to-one odds. Any gamblers out there?
According to the website PolitiFact, however, that promise is now listed as “broken.” Obama had specifically proposed that employers would be required to provide their workers with seven paid sick days annually.
A proposed bill called the Healthy Families Act contained the specifics. The idea was that employees would earn one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. For an employee with a 40-hour work week, that would be seven days of sick time for every 1,680 hours worked (capped on a yearly basis). The general idea was that workers could use this time when ill (as the CDC seems to think is a good idea), care for a dependent, or recover if they are a victim of domestic violence.
In the run-up to the 2010 midterm election the GOP promised to review any laws that impose additional costs to employers. The seven paid sicks days guaranteed by the Healthy Families Act fits into that category.
Having to pay workers for seven additional days would result in a rise in cost to employers. Such an extra cost could lead to companies hiring fewer additional workers, and Republicans have said they want to reduce government regulation on employers, not add to them. Given these political realities, we rate Obama’s promise as Broken.
I don’t image there are any “costs” associated with spreading illness and disease as far and wide as possible, eh?
Of course, as usual, government regulation merely represents the bare minimum that employers must do. For example, without something like the Healthy Families Act, they could still implement a plan like this, but, mwuhahahahaha! Why the fuck would they ever do that? That would cost them money, you know, the money they deny the employees who actually did the work. Remember what Vector Man likes to say, “Never share anything you can keep yourself – unless it is a virus, of course!”
Hell, the plan wouldn’t even have applied to business with 15 or less employees. They always include an escape clause, don’t they?
So heed the words of Vector Man and promise to do your part: I will work when ill! And I’ll touch as many things as possible – phone, stapler, doorknobs – and I’ll cough and sneeze without covering my mouth. If anyone asks why, tell them, “I’m helping Vector Man save the day!”
Your hard-working nation will thank you for it! And that’s nothing to sneeze at!