Daily Archives: May 8th, 2011
Yep, we knows how to party at my house. We were minding our business, watching some TV, when suddenly the cat took notice of some Pong.
Technology can be a blessing and a curse. Lately I’ve been having a problem when searching Flickr for images to accompany my blog posts. What happens when the thing you are searching for has been co-opted by something completely different?
I’m calling that phenomenon term stomping.
It used to be so easy. You’d enter your innocent little phrase, like “snot bubbles” and get lots of images of exactly what you were looking for. But guess what happens now? There’s an indie punk rock band out there somewhere performing under the name of Snot Bubbles. Instead of the veritable plethora of visual delights that you were expecting you get thousands of images of crazy-looking folks on stage making love to guitars.
Pictured on the left you see an image result from a search for the word “blacklist.” The guitarist pictured is a member of a musical ensemble named Blacklist Royals. I have nothing against Blacklist Royals. I’m sure they are wonderful human beings. They just happen to be the example that triggered the intro to this particular post.
Term stomping happens with a dizzying array of other searches. Terms like these are suddenly useless to me: fuckers, criminals, livid, puss and more. If you like to search, I’m sure this must have happened to you, too.
Some words are simply destined to have their meanings clobbered in the search engines. If this happens to you, it’s best to just give up and move on. Perhaps try a synonym. Instead of “snot bubbles” maybe “mucus spheres” will work, although there will probably be much less results to choose from.
Note to Google: “Mucus spheres.” Please take note of that term. I want to be #1 for it by the end of the week!
But I digress. The real point of today’s post is blacklisting. Yes, as is often my wont, I have buried the lead. Why deviate from that tactic when it works so well?
Specifically I wish to talk about the term blacklisting as it pertains to the wonderful wide world of retail.
Have you ever worked for a blacklisted company? It works a little something like this.
You’re a small biz owner and you wants to make your scrilla. You decide you’ll get there by selling things. But you don’t want to have to actually make things. This restricts your options a bit. Basically it means you have to get things made by someone else. Like manufacturers. That can be a good place to get things. So you buy these things, sell them for more than you paid, and keep the difference as your profits.
Easy as pie, right?
Perhaps not. For one thing, manufacturers can be exceedingly pushy. You’d think they’d be happy to have as many merchants as possible pimping out their shit on the open market. You’d be wrong.
We all know “price fixing” is illegal in the United States. It goes against the grain of our opinion of right and wrong. And we feel it stifles competition and has various other negative effects on the marketplace.
But manufacturers want undue control and influence over their product streams and supply chains. One thing they really want is to control the price of their products. But if price fixing is illegal, how can they do this?
It’s called MAP or Minimum Advertised Price. Under this scheme, the manufacturer sets MAP on their products. What happens to merchants who advertise a lower price, like in an attempt to be competitive in the free market? Easy. Their throats are cut and they are allowed to bleed out like a stuck pig. In other words, manufacturers cut them out. They do this through blacklisting.
The company I work at has been blacklisted. Yet we still sell the shit. Mwuhahaha! How does this little wrinkle of goodness work?
Basically it involves a complicated shell game of dummy company names, made up identities, and shipping drops sprinkled all across our fruited plains. This is truly the way the best economy (at least until 2020) on this planet was intended to function!
For us employees this can get a bit complicated. If we use the wrong company name at the wrong time when dealing with a suppliers who knows us under a different name, we’d expose the lie and then, of course, the jig would be up!
You might wonder how the manufacturers would know what we’re doing. Easy. Ever see those warranty registration cards in the products you buy? They ask, including lots of other things, for the name of the store and the price you paid. Depending on the type of product these cards may also contain serial numbers. These numbers allow manufacturers to track shipments through supply chains to suppliers and eventually the retail merchant.
Manufacturers ship product directly to distributors who then ship them to merchants. And trust me on this. Suppliers could give a rat’s ass about things like blacklists and MAP pricing. As long as goods are flowing through their greedy little fingers, they’re happy. All they need is a bit of plausible deniability to show manufacturers so they don’t get blacklisted themselves. They know exactly what’s going on. Nod, nod. Wink, wink.
Personally I think the whole fucking system must be backed by the Russian Mafia or the Trilateral Commission.
Our operation has product funneled from many dummy companies. We pay extra shipping charges for this. When we receive these shipments we open the products and rip out the registration cards so they can’t be sent in by consumers to expose us to manufacturers. That’s just another bit of ethical goodness for the blacklisted.
Next time you want to share a beer and enjoy fairy tales like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the so-called free market, ethics in business, and the idea that price fixing is illegal be sure to give me a ring. I really love a good belly laugh at the expense of the overly-naive!!!
A recent TED talk I posted made the point that two things that matter most to “happiness” are “love” and “work.” And when he talked about “work” he said, “Engaging in activities that are meaningful and satisfying … and fulfilling.” Selling shit to idiots isn’t meaningful work. And compromising your morals and ethics in exchange for a living isn’t satisfying.
I guess I just haven’t figured out how to get to so-called “happiness” when my “work” consists of punching a clock and selling my soul to the devil every time I show up for a shift.