The holiday season is upon us. This may be a festive time of year but sometimes it’s important to slow down, focus, center, be present, and remember our roots.
For me, today, that means pausing to pay homage to the poop tag.
“Roll the crap. Action!”
Once upon a time a company made a game called Cards Against Humanity. It was mildly cute but a blatant rip of Apples To Apples. They lost points on that.
But now, I’m happy to say they have more than redeemed themselves. The Christmas spirit is very much alive. So much so, you might say that I’ve been moved.
The news came unbidden. I never asked. When the roulette wheel of life lands on “win” never trust it. I remember well, just like I was saying the other day, how negativity saved my life.
And you can, too.
So yeah, a not-so subtle Jedi mind trick recently came a huntin’ for my ass. And if I wasn’t careful, it was gonna be my bloody arm neatly severed and quivering on the cantina floor. And, just my luck, a revisionist George Lucas was nowhere in sight, so I couldn’t count on the scene being rewritten to make me the bad guy turned good. Or something like that.
Tom’s Law #42
Good news can be deadly.
Fortunately my negativity skills kicked in and saved my life.
Spoiler alert: Things all work out as they should in the end. My end.
Continue reading →
New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is pregnant. Cue the Star Wars Empire Strikes Back music.
“I am your mommy.”
For once the mainstream media gets it right with a finessed balance of coverage. I just culled these headlines, at random, from Google News. In the urn, this is the cream that rose to the top. I did not go digging or cherry pick these headlines.
- Who Has It Easier, a Pregnant CEO or a Pregnant Maid?
- Marissa Mayer hinted at what she’ll do at Yahoo — in 2010
- She’s Feeling Lucky
- Forbes writer to Mayer: You can’t have it all
- Pregnant Yahoo CEO ignites maternity debate
And last, but certainly not least:
The Pregnant CEO: Should You Hate Marissa Mayer?
It almost is enough to make one wonder, “Holy fucking shit? What the hell just happened here?”
Attention critical thinkers! Gather near and lend me your hears.
It is time to listen.
It is time to pay attention.
This is always an important skill, but now, more than ever, aficionados of the lost art of avoidance are in for a treat.
The idea is a simple one. When someone is asked a question, listen closely. Listen fierce.
Proactively listen with all of your concentration.
The goal? To glean and identify that magical moment of the artful shuffle. That moment when the respondent has artfully dodged and changed the subject.
Some are so expert at this that we walk away no even aware that we have just been bamboozled.
Well I say, “No more!” Questions should be answered. Answers should be on point – not the verbal equivalent of covert ops.
Thanks to the nefariousness of News Corp., there will be many opportunities to get up close and personal with this phenomenon. Watch closely! See if you can identify these moments!
If you want, make it a drinking game. Take a swig everytime someone shifts the discussion away to something else. Just make sure you have plenty of booze on hand or the game may have to be called before reaching its natural and satisfying conclusion.
Pay attention! Watch closely! Always be asking yourself, “Is the question being answered?”
Once you’ve opened your eyes this may end up being the only thing you see.
Sometimes a good idea can be taken too far.
Like shopping on the internet. Customers who made purchases from DecorMyEyes.com sometimes got a little something extra in addition to their order. The owner of that website recently plead guilty in a Federal court to two counts of sending threatening communications, one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.
That sounds pretty typical for the internet, if you ask me. But wait. There’s a twist.
The threatening communications included threats to kill or sexual assault customers who complained about products purchased from the website. The owner maintained several aliases used to menace his customers by email.
In one case, the owner, Vitaly Borker, sent an image of customer’s home he had obtained from Google Maps, saying, “P.S. don’t forget that I know where you live.”
Man, that guy sure has made a spectacle of himself.
The judge told the man, “These threats are chilling, Mr. Borker.”
It turns out that I’m pretty good at customer service after all. At least by comparison.
I was considering my approach a skosh harsh – at least until I heard about Borker’s tactics. Now all of the sudden my plan sounds downright timid.
My plan was simple:
- No phone. Ever. Instead I’d offer a pledge to respond to most inquiries by email within one business day. You think Amazon.com whores over phone calls to get orders? No way. Once you accept calls your order accuracy goes in the toilet and you spend your day hoppin’ around like a chicken on a hot plate. An interruption-driven day increases your error rate in other areas, too, like shipping.
- The website would include profanity. Like our “no bullshit” policy. That policy would include things like our honesty guarantee. We don’t lie to take your money. Ever. And our non-edited testimonials page that lets it all hang out. Period. Someone has something shitty to say about us? We don’t edit it or take it down. We lump it.
- The FAQ would explain things in no sense. Why no phone? It costs money and ruins our day. Don’t like it? Go order someplace else. If you want a low error rate on orders and a fair price, buy the thing. Or not. Either way, we’re not going to whore all over you.
- No games pricing. You pay based on our wholesale price plus a modest percentage so we can enjoy the things that you do, like food, clothing and shelter. We won’t round up to 99 cents and we won’t change prices 15 times a day based on bullshit things like you zip code or how many items we’ve got in stock.
- The big piece would be our “in stock” guarantee. The website would report the quantities of products that we actually have on hand. That number would be accurate and updated in real-time. No “drop ship” bullshit and no placing your order just to find out we don’t have the damn item. The guarantee would be simple: If we say it’s in stock, it ships within one business day or you get the item FREE. Period. No fucking bullshit.
- Another policy: No returns. No exchanges. If you want the item, buy it. If not, go away. This keeps our prices low. Instead of spending our day dealing with your indecision, we can focus on running our business efficiently and keeping our prices low.
But, and this is just my hunch, I think some people would appreciate this approach. We’d ship quickly, have a competitive price, and guarantee what our website says. It would be just that simple.
Are you convinced? Do you hate bullshit and like making an honest living? Want to be your own boss and eliminate the idiots from your life? Open up your damn wallet and invest in my company. What are we going to sell? I have no friggin’ idea.
If all else fails, we can always switch tactics and hire Mr. Vitaly Borker to be our spokesperson. Don’t forget – he knows where you live!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: TOM B. TAKER
TEL: FUCK YOU
CELL PHONE: EAT MY SHIT
EMAIL: SHOUTABYSS (AT) LIVE (DOT) COM
JANUARY 14, 2011
SHOUT ABYSS BLOG EXPANDS TO NEW HQ
Here we grow again!
Capital City, Abyssia – Some asshole once said, “You can’t stop progress.” Well, progress is probably the absolute worst kind of change, so we’re rolling in it like pigs in shit right about now.
To celebrate 14 pretty good days here on the blog in 2011 (so far) we shot our wad on a shiny new building that will serve as our HQ for the next few weeks and beyond. Pretty hot shit, eh?
This location will help us usher in a new era of futile lameness here on the blog. There’s a whole wing devoted solely to poop. The remainder of space is split evenly between the G.R.I.P.E. research lab for continuing gerbil studies, product reviews (send us your shit and we’ll tell the world how you suck), guest blog facilities (the drain in the floor of our uni-sex showers), and Tom’s personal office (annexed next to the only working toilet in the entire building – some things never change).
Marvel at this structure. We spared no expense. We even hastily sandblasted the monument sign out front and glued our name where some other damn company’s name used to exist. That exudes permanence and class. You can’t fake sincerity like that.
So, here’s the deal. I realized today that I’m batting a thousand (two out of two) in the category: “Ecommerce companies that make FAKE photoshopped pictures of buildings where they’ve never actually been located.”
It works a little something like this:
- Finally graduate from your home office and/or garage and get a pure piece of shit location that makes your eyes bleed because it is so motherfucking ugly.
- Steal a photo of some other company’s building from the internet.
- Crappily photoshop your name onto that building so it’s painfully obvious you are lying scum and that you are going a zillion miles out of your way to insult the intelligence of your customers.
Remember, if you are doing business in this great country of ours, in pursuit of the almighty dollar, the last thing you ever want to do is be honest. If some residual bit of your humanity balks at this sort of outright fraud, take it out back and slit its throat. Money is on the fucking line here!
I shit you not. Two for two! That’s nothing to sneeze at!
Of course my last boss did this. I worked there for over five years, the whole time knowing an entirely fictional picture of our store was featured on our company web site. He even had pictures of fake employees on the Staff page. The assholio butt munch of a boss thought he was so clever, photoshopping his company name onto a building owned by someone else. The quality was laughable.
At my new job the boss is much nicer but ever since I’ve took this job I suspected he did the same thing. (I actually suspected even before my interview when I showed up and the building looked nothing like what was on his web site.) Today he confirmed it. “Yippie-ki-yay motherfucker and welcome to the party, pal!”
To continue the Die Hard references to their logical conclusion, as Detective John McClain was often wont to say, “How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?”
How indeed. It’s not easy being me.
I’ve been in the ecommerce business for 10 years and I can’t even begin to tell you about all of the fake shit that has been forever burned into my eyeballs. Do not trust companies that sell on the internet. Ever. They lie, they lie! Bunch of motherfuckers. From the year they went into business (a lie) to the customer reviews (written by the CEO) to the picture of the store (a photoshopped lie) to the number of customers they’ve served (a totally made up number incremented daily by a randomizing program) to the status of products listed as “in stock” (when they really aren’t) – everything they say and do is pure sublime deception.
Every con game needs a willing participant known as the “mark,” I guess.
If you’re ever in my neck of woods, please feel free to stop by and find me in the new HQ and say, “Howdy, pardner!” You’ll find me beyond the second pile of shit to the right and straight on till morning.
How’d I do on this post? Have I regained my Abyss-like form? That last post I tried really hard to be reasonable and it took a lot out of me. I’m back, baby!
# # #
Today I offer up two stories of business meetings for your consideration. One is old and one is new.
The Day I Quit My Job
No, not my current job. Ha ha ha. This story takes place many moons ago. For you kids, that means there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no YouTube. Hell, we even carried pagers back then. (Which was mandatory while on vacation, by the way.)
A bit of background info. I was a production supervisor in a manufacturing facility. My peer group consisted of approx. 15 supervisors who were responsible for approx. 250 production employees. Our department made stuff and the environment was loud, noisy, dusty and had lots of equipment like forklifts, conveyor belts, big machines and so forth. We were are 24 hour operation so there were three full shifts. On the particular day in question my buddy Raiko and myself were working the #1 shift with a 6am start.
One more thing you need to know. At the time I was a fully-thriving member of the rat race. That means I lived in one county and worked in another. My daily one-way commute to work was 90 miles, 89 of which were a major highway. My routine was wake up at 4am and hit the road by 4:30. I had to gas up my car every other day. (Back then that was about $14 a tank.)
The drive to work was usually a breeze. It was always 90 minutes. Due to the early hour the ride was pretty deserted. The drive home, however, was quite another story. About the best I could hope for was a two hour drive if I left work on time. If I left at 3pm or later, though, I was officially screwed. The drive would balloon to a whopping three hours. It was a real mood killer.
Yes, you don’t have to tell me. I know I was a monumental dumb ass for having a 180-mile round-trip commute by car. (We didn’t have a commuter train.) It was something I had to do in order to chase the American dream when the opportunity of a lifetime to buy a house fell into my lap. The only problem was that the house was 90 miles away. So I ate the commute and got the house.
Anyway, that’s it for the boring back story. So there we were, my buddy Raiko and myself, at 6am working our #1 shift. At some point we were informed that there would be a mandatory management meeting at 5pm. We both naturally raised our eyebrows at that. I went to my division manager and politely inquired about the importance of the meeting and if those of us who started work at 6am really needed to be there. What I got back was an emphatic “yes.” The meeting was vital and we had to be there. Blah blah blah. Now I found myself staring down the barrel of a four-hour commute. Lovely.
Raiko and I worked our shift then went and grabbed some dinner. After all, we had a few hours to kill before the all-important 5pm meeting.
Finally meeting time rolled around. It went down a little something like this:
- The first 15-minutes were consumed by birthday cake for one of our co-workers. I shit you not.
- The next 45-minutes were consumed by our division managers passing around memos and then – wait for it – fucking reading them to us like we were in kindergarten. (It’s true that some of my peers would notoriously ignore the memos in their mail slots, but I was not one of them. Rather than dealing with the problem, our managers did what bad managers always do. They punished us all.)
That’s it. That was the meeting. Legend goes that I fell on the ground and blood was leaking out of my ears. I really don’t remember. I blacked out. When I woke I found myself in a pile of flaming rubble where the building used to be.
I walked out of that meeting too livid for words. I walked back to my desk, picked up the phone, called my wife, and had this conversation.
“I just got out of my meeting. I’m quitting. Is that cool with you?”
It was now 6pm. I had a four-hour commute which, if undertaken, would get me home well past my bedtime in order to wake up at 4am and do the whole thing over again. I made the command decision to spend the night. That was something that happened quite often, usually when the company forced it up my butt by making me work a #2 shift followed directly by a #1 shift. (That meant getting off at midnight and being back to work by 6am.) I had a local hotel I used for such occasions. Nice way to treat your management employees, eh?
This time I was too angry for such things. I sat at my computer and pounded out my 30-day letter of resignation, printed it, then walked over to my manager’s office and slapped it on her desk. Game over, man. This rat race is officially over.
Fast-Forward to Present Day
My wife had a mandatory meeting yesterday. (Her place of employment was previously mentioned in an earlier post entitled On the twelfth dice of Christmas.) She works in a department with a team of three persons, including herself. Her department has incredible work load and is subject to government deadlines that must be met to remain in compliance with certain standards. Failure to meet those deadlines can result in penalties assessed against the company.
The situation this week is that one employee is on vacation. Then, the other employee’s step-grandfather died and she is gone on bereavement. We all know what that means, right boys and girls? My wife is flying solo.
So yesterday along comes our good, good friend, the mandatory meeting. My wife politely inquired if she could be excused. Nope. It’s very important stuff. It’s mandatory. I am a boss. I speak like a robot. You will comply. This is my robot dance. I am programmed to make many kinds of decisions except for ones that have any actual meaning. There is no I in Team. You are imperfect. Nomad will sterilize the carbon-based infection.
What the hell? Fuck it. She goes to the meeting. It went down a little something like this:
- 15 minutes fucking around with the “sack lunch” theme where food was distributed.
- 45 minutes of minutia regarding another department that had absolutely nothing to do with my wife’s job and/or department.
- A video presentation regarding positive attitudes (which was preceded by 15 minutes of the room exploding into chit chat while a projector was brought in and one thing after another went wrong). Gee. You think the brainiacs in charge would think to prepare the equipment ahead of time?
It was right at the end of the meeting when I swung in like Rambo without a jock strap and mowed everyone down with my M60 machine gun. Survivors later testified they heard me yelling over the sound of gunfire, “This is fucking beautiful, man!”
My wife took it all in stride, got out of the meeting, and found her desk destroyed with paperwork, the phones jammed with tons of voice mails, a full fax machine, and all the phones ringing off the hook. She was home late last night and had a bad day.
Seriously, we have got to mother-fucking stop meeting like this!