Case of the Manager-Snatchers

Manager - Visual Psychology - A3I think someone’s brainwashed middle managers. Or maybe the pod people have taken them. Or they’re aliens in disguise. Something.

Case one: 1

Me: I don’t understand why your restaurant charges extra on your “meal combo” when I bring my reusable cup. I thought this reusable cup was supposed to reduce waste.
Manager: The reuseable cup is larger.
Me: But you offer free refills.
Manager: Only in the dining room.
Me: So I buy the “meal combo” with your disposable cup for less cost, fill up my reusable cup using free refills, and then throw away the disposable cup. I don’t see how that helps the environment or helps your company make money.
Manager: Have a nice day. Next!

Case Two:

Manager: The survey shows that we’re doing poorly.
Me: That survey has major methodological problems.
Manager: This is the survey the industry uses. Our scores are normalized to everyone else’s.
Me: So if another site has a bad month, our scores could go up? Or vice versa?
Manager: So let’s start getting those survey scores up!

Oh, and let’s not start mentioning things like having managers quote the anonymous employee survey (recently lampooned in Dilbert, but all too real).

What bothers me about all of these things is that they don’t even make sense from a short-run point of view. They all seem to indicate that the managers – and perhaps even the corporation – are working toward different goals than those publicly stated.

And that makes me very, very nervous.

Corporations are inherently sociopathic. They are beholden to create short-term wealth for stockholders. No individual bears any consequence to their actions. Even long-term consequences are not held by the stockholders – who can just as easily move to a different company.

That’s not capitalism. In capitalism, the society – and social shunning when businesses are unethical – are supposed to act as a check and balance – but that doesn’t happen anymore. It’s at the core of our frustration over the financial collapse – it was all freaking legal, and nobody was “really” responsible.

Who knows when we’ll wake up to all of this. I just watched “Planet of the Ood” last night, and this quote really struck me:

Donna Noble: A great big empire, built on slavery…
The Doctor: It’s not so different from your time.
Donna Noble: Oy! I haven’t got slaves!
The Doctor: Who d’you think made your clothes?


1 Details changed to protect the guilty.

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  1. September 18, 2010

    Your post and insight are both valuable, I will be looking foreword to reading more.

    Corperations have succeeded our government in policy making. This is the problem.

    Consider some things; first and foremost, how long has the world been civilized? For the sake of this thought, let's just say 2000 years, but we know it's longer. Now, consider how long America has been a free nation. Close to three, four hundred years.

    Now imagine time as the x axis on a graph, while the y axis is dominated by money, or worth value. As one variable, the government, goes through time like everything else. But as far as money goes, it doesn't generate much except from taxes and contributions, and most of that goes right back into the system. Now take another variable, business, and apply it next to government. Through time they are the same, except business has proved to be explicitly more profitable.

    Now think about that graph against the fact that America is only ~400 years old, and you will easily see how business has taken advantage of the American citizen by downsizing our government.

    "it's one big fuckin' club, and you're not in it. It's the same club they beat you over the head with when they tell you what to believe, and what to buy." -george carlin

    Great post, keep it up.

  2. September 18, 2010

    Thanks! As you might guess, I'm in quite a bit of agreement with you. It saddens me when people just think folks like Carlin or Bill Hicks were just "funny".

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