The boss asks for your opinion. “I need a recommendation for a new computer.”
You ask a few questions. Price range? Purpose? Anything special it needs to do?
You take the task seriously. You conduct research. You think outside of the box. You are creative and expend energy. You want to do a good job.
This isn’t your specialty but you try your best. After finding what you think is a pretty good answer, you pass it on.
The next day that boss says, “My spouse told me to buy something else. Something totally different than what you recommended. I’m going with that.”
In a few days the computer shows up. It’s neither. It turns out the boss went for a third option. The very thing you cautioned against way back at the beginning.
The boss now has a stupid piece of shit but it was worth it to put you in your place and make you spin your wheels. It sure can be funny how things work out.
Once again that special time of year is nigh upon us. The holidays. Where we gather with family and friends around fire and hearth to poke at each other’s eyeballs with forks.
Run. I mean that in a T-Rex-is-gaining-on-us-in-the-Jeep sort of way.
From time to time my wife will venture out to work for the Portland elite to line her pocketses with a few handfuls of coppers. She hangs out her shingle as consultant and efficiency expert. That means, of course, employers will spend their entire day trying to trick her into changing diapers, walking the dog and running to Starbucks for another Cornucopia of Venti.
The following is a true story. No embellishment.
It was Thanksgiving. The husband’s parents arrived for a two-week stay. The day after Thanksgiving the wife took off, on her own, to vacation separately in Palm Springs until the in-laws had safely left town.
Why didn’t I think of that?! Stoopid, stoopid, stoopid. Me so stupid! Me bad.
With the in-laws left home alone, the husband locked himself away in the office. The nanny watched their children. And the mother-in-law proceeded to grill household staff. “What the hell does she do around here, anyway?”
God bless us, every one.
So you want to be in the mail order business. Whether traditional “brick and mortar” or hanging out your shingle online, you have decided to ask the same question: How easy is it to rip me off?
Mail order is a retail system where fulfillment takes place at a remote location outside of your field of view and control. Think of it as the fog of war. By definition you are operating with less than full information. By design. Remember, this was your choice.
You might as well go in a dark alley and roll some dice. You might get better odds.
Here’s a typical scenario:
- Customer/criminal visits your website and loads up on plastic crap made in China. (Let’s be honest, that’s all you sell.)
- Payment is made with a credit card.
- You rub your hands together in glee, shout “Squee!” and box and ship the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend receives the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend then claims crap was never received and “disputes” the charges with the credit card company.
- The credit card company (aka The Vig) is, in this situation, the sole arbiter of truth, justice and the American way. You agreed to this policy.
- You submit all of your detailed records regarding the transaction including: customer order, shipping receipt, emails, phone records, retina scans, DNA samples and a electronic facsimile of thumbprint.
- The credit card company says, “Well, there just ain’t no way to know!” and decides in the
customer’scriminal’s favor. There’s a giant sucking sound as the money is extracted from your account.
Let’s review. What just happened? The customer isn’t out one single penny and the customer has your stuff. Bazinga! And there’s no magical fairy in the universe that’ll ever do one thing about it. Welcome to your new reality.
Those of you who watch Orange Is The New Black may recognize this tactic as employed by the criminal mastermind Lorna Morello during her pre-prison flashbacks. People really get caught for this? No. Remember, OITNB is fiction.
The bottom line is that shipping product mail order to a customer is a supreme act of faith. You’re basically hoping it’ll all work out. And when it doesn’t, there’s isn’t too much you can do about it.
The point is that when this happens the boss is furious and that, of course, is hilarious.
I recently completed my first year of working at home as a contractor. Although not as good as my dream of doing nothing, the year was still pretty good and … I had no complaints.
What’s good about working from home? No phones. No walk-in customers leaping in your office. No floor sales. No public toilet across the hall. No attending awkward pizza-only lunches on every employee’s birthday. You don’t spend your day using company-owned equipment. (A previous boss liked to joke he was logging my keystrokes. That was a real damper on my twitter activity.) You get your very own chair. No boogers from other employees on your stuff. There’s an ottoman where two cats sleep and the view out the window is squirrels playing.
When my one-year contract expired, of course I wanted more. It was a no-brainer.
These are the actual and verbatim excerpts of the official transcripts of the negotiation process. I’m sharing them because I don’t mind being humiliated in public.
I am ready to keep things simple and renew the same deal, no changes needed on my end, with all the same terms (another 12 months) excepting a modest increase of only $x.xx to the hourly rate for COLA. That’s $xx.xx/hour up from $xx.xx. Other than that I can’t think of anything else.
It’s official. You all know my salary now. I literally make $X amount. Note my colorful use of marketing terms like “modest” and “only.” Ha ha ha! Player at work! Also, thinking I was being clever, I provided dollar amounts and not percentages. This was a deliberate attempt to confuse and astound. -Ed
Make the jump to read additional communiques from the “negotiation” process and the surprising twist at the end.
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One night I dreamed I was walking on a beach with the Lord. In the sky I saw scenes from my life. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints side by side. Other times the footprints were single file, like Sand People who travel that way to conceal their numbers. This bothered me because the single file footprints seemed to precede all of tumultuous times in my life.
So I said to the Lord, “You promised you would always walk with me. But the footprints say that each time the shit was about to hit the fan you were no longer by my side.”
The Lord replied, “The times you see single file footprints are the times you stabbed me in the back.”
At times religion can be a beautiful thing. At other times it can be more like a barrel of monkeys. Believer or not, I think most people can agree at least that much is true.
In the news recently was a story about a high school teacher claiming he was fired for being an atheist. Let’s take a look shall we?
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Half-way through the shift and I was behind schedule. Panting, blisters popping, I paused for a 15-second break.
The urgent alerts from the GPS strapped to my head couldn’t shake the bliss.
Six seconds later the floor manager showed up. “That’s it,” he said. “This is a verbal.”
The GPS parroted the threat. “Verbal! Verbal!”
“Two more and you’re fired!”
Humans weren’t meant to micromanaged to the nanosecond by computers. I snapped. My lightning fast quick draw would have been enough to take out Wyatt Earp himself.
I scanned him right in the face. He screamed. I ran.
A drabble is a short storm form consisting of exactly 100 words.