Tag Archives: lying
You might be tempted to to say, “Et tu, brute?” but not so fast! Don’t forget that I exercised my God-given right to opt-out of the human race several years ago. I am not one of you.
These days you creatures are merely a fascinating field of study. You do know how to hold my interest, though. Don’t forget that I specialize in negativity.
There are so many branches of human negativity to choose from but dishonesty holds a special place in my heart.
What is a lie? The dictionary says it’s an “intentionally false statement.” It’s like the opposite of truth.
Ex: Max eats the last cookie in the jar. His mother asks, “Did you eat the cookie.” Max says, “No.”
Let’s say Max has cookie crumbs on his hand, face, shirt, and there’s a trail of crumbs leading from him to the cookie jar. That’s where forensic science comes into play, but that’s another story.
“Looks like this suspect,” the detective says while dramatically removing his sunglasses, “is ready to … crumble.” AAAAAEEEEEIIIIIIIII!
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This was intended to be one of those oh so clever moments. I pumped the word “sales” into my thesaurus and was going to clutch in my dirty little fingers veritable proof that “sales” was synonymous with words like deceit, lie, fraud and what not.
Dammit. This thesaurus is defective. I never should have listened to that salesperson who told me it was unabridged.
One time I learned an important lesson about sales. I’ve told this story before but this time I’ll try to tell it shorter and better.
I worked for a big company. They needed to modernize an entire department. The estimated cost of the project, in 1995 dollars, was $25 million. To put that into perspective, later I ended up living in a small town that considered adding a much needed new bridge across a small river at a cost of $15 million in 2004 dollars. So yeah, the project was pretty big.
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Those of us in the airlock/apologizing industry noticed an unusual blip on the radar this week shortly after the death of Whitney Houston. The epicenter was traced and determined to be sourced in Minato (Tokyo), Japan.
Ah, Sony! What have you done this time?
A lot of you may be under the impression that Sony makes overpriced electronics that break shortly after their warranty period. Yes, that’s true, but that’s only a small fraction of what they do.
MINATO, TOKYO, JAPAN — The motto, “Be Prepared,” is one famously associated with the Boy Scouts movement. It also encapsulates the thought that you should be ready to “do the right thing at the right moment.”
It’s a philosphy shared by Sony Music Entertainment (SME) company and their secretive elite unit known as the Death Immediate Response Team (DIRT). When a big name celebrity in the Sony music library dies, that’s when the deceased is designated a “featured artist” and the members of Team DIRT leap into action.
In order to be prepared, SME-DIRT has identified their artists who have achieved sufficient sales volume. They have then compiled detailed “death response plans” on those they artists they have identified as meeting their proprietary criteria selection scheme.
Whitney Houston was one of these artists. Her death on February 11, 2012, came as a surprise to most. But as the news spread like wildfire across the internet, plans were already afoot in Minato. Like most death response plans SME-DIRT has on file, there is a three-pronged approach:
- Have an office party complete with cake (in the likeness of the artist) and ice cream and party hats. During this symbolic process they literally eat their artist.
- Immediately jack wholesale prices on albums in the library.
- Summon high-level Sony executives to a summit in New York City to discuss strategy to capitalize on the artist’s death.
Within hours of Whitney Houston’s death, a faceless operative on a nameless Tokyo street walked away from his noodles, pulling an Xperia ™ Ion LTE (Long Term Evolution) smartphone from his coat pocket, dialed a number from memory, waited three seconds, said, “Operation Bodyguard. Initiate. This is not a drill.” He then faded away as he side-stepped into street level sewer fog and disappeared into the noises of the murky city at night.
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Welcome to my first Hyppo and Critter without the Photoshop. And that’s no lie!
Here’s today’s science experiment. Find yourself a religious person. (I used my boss.) Go up to them and say:
Mind if I ask you a question? The Bible says “Thou shalt not lie,” isn’t that right?
–You as a scientist
See if your subject responds like my boss. If your subject is knowledgeable enough and knows their Bible, they just might say something like this:
Actually, the Bible doesn’t say that. What it really says is: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
–Possible response from a quibbler
Eh? What’s the difference? As usual, a reading from the Book of Wikipedia will illuminate:
There are different views on the meaning of this commandment. Some interpret the scope in the narrowest possible sense, as only a prohibition of lying in courtroom testimony. Other interpretations view the commandment as a prohibition on any false statement that degrades our neighbor’s reputation or dignity. Still others interpret the commandment in the broadest possible sense: as a prohibition on all lying.
Why would you ever want to slice it that thin? Why not just go with the popularized version? The one that says, “Thou shalt not lie.”
One reason might be that you want that wiggle room. If you say that the Bible only applies to this narrow definition, then the other definitions must suddenly somehow be acceptable, right?
An atheist, like Hyppo says, is free to believe what he wants. He can say, for example, “I like the standard that is a prohibition on all lying.”
Obviously “little white lies” will always exist. For example, “I don’t want to attend your party because I hate your guts” may not always be appropriate. So we might say, instead, “I’m sorry. I’ve got other plans.”
Or: “Wow, your wife’s cooking really sucks.”
Or: “Yes, you really are fat. And ugly, too.”
I think there can be a thing as a bit too much honesty. That applies to these little white lies. Nonetheless, aiming to tell no lies at all is, in my opinion, a very worthy goal.
I don’t know why you’d ever want to set the standard any lower.
“A resume is advertising. You are marketing yourself.”
Marketing? I just threw up in my mouth a little. Isn’t marketing another word for “lies?”
Funny, but I’ve never lied on a resume. Perhaps it is my analytical nature. As a computer programmer (an unpaid hobby, to be sure) I deal with facts and logic. It is illogical to put anything on a resume that is not completely factual.
I’ve never even fibbed. Or exaggerated. Or used my most famous artistic license to embellish in some small, innocent way. Nope, that’s not how I roll.
I assume I am alone in this. I guess I get off on being different.
I happen to know a guy. He was born and raised in New Zealand, then moved to the United States. He lied on his resume about graduating from college. He got a job at a big entertainment company. One we’ve all heard of. He then jumped to a new entertainment company (one we’ve all heard of) and became a vice-president of one of their departments. He then jumped yet again, to a big entertainment company, where he is currently a senior vice-president. He has the all-American family. That’s 2.5 kids, a dog and a cat, drives a car worth more than my house (rented), a wrist-watch more valuable than my net worth, and lives in a mansion.
There’s a lesson in there somewhere, if one is willing to pay close attention. Be honest and lick boots. Lie through your teeth and get the keys to the kingdom. Dammit. I wish I could see the lesson!
A quick search of ye olde internet reveals a plethora of infomatums about resumes and honesty. I even found a site that advises you on seven lies you can (probably) get away with on your resume. Wow.
Many Human Resources staffers preach the dangers of lying on your resume, and they’re right to an extent.
–Unnamed internet source
To an extent? Here we see our old friend, “the ends justifies the means.” Also known as That Which Makes Business Go. You can take that “extent” and shove it where the sun don’t shine.
Not too surprisingly, my resume is a bit different than the average bear. No, I didn’t suffer from a spate of creativity and make it 3D, turn it into a Dungeons and Dragons character sheet, or use a layout evocative of the board game Life. It’s just plain boring text. Logical.
What I did do was take up valuable vertical real estate on the page to insert a single line of text, in large font and bold, that stakes my claim to ethics and integrity.
I know, I know. Most people who have seen this knee jerk and say, “Anyone who claims they are ethical probably isn’t.” Touche, touche! (Again, no little funny marks in my words.)
Naturally when someone comes up to you and says, “I’m not a liar,” you don’t believe them, do you? It’s a bit like “thou dost protest too much.” To believe someone who says such a thing about themselves would be extremely foolish. And yet, I saw fit to include a line about ethics in my resume. What does that make me? Hopeful? An optimist that my message will be received in a good way? Bah!
I don’t know why, but I think about things like ethics, values, and morality quite a bit. I often wonder how much the average person proactively thinks about things like this? I’m guessing it isn’t that much, unless the context is how to get away with doing the opposite. I imagine I think about such things more than most, but less than some. In fact, I actually consider myself a hobbyist ethicist. As an added bonus, such considerations and evaluation of the world around me make a wonderful font for my negativity.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m expert on the subject. In fact, that’s why I maintain my amateur status, just in case they decide to start an Olympics for something important, you know, something other than sports. The Olympics are a movement! And everybody needs one! (Kudos to Harry Shearer.) I want a chance to represent my country, too! (They do give out participant ribbons, don’t they?)
The other day, by chance, I overheard the boss and coworker discussing something, and it came up that the listing for the job we both applied for contained the word “ethical.” I didn’t remember that.
How odd, I said to myself. I did a little recap of some of the things I’ve seen this guy do with my very own eyes:
- Create dummy companies, shipping drops and fake identities to purchase products
- Deliberately lie on his website about product status as “in stock” so he can talk the customer into something else
- Include a fake Photoshopped picture of his business on his website
- Tell local customers that our facility is not retail (so please don’t stop by – we don’t like that)
- Tell suppliers that our facility is retail so they will sell to us (even though we’re internet only)
- Work on a project with his son to Photoshop a fake business license for the City (rather than buy one – luckily he got caught)
I guess it begs the question: What in the name of Zeus’ butthole does this guy consider ethical to mean?
I already know the answer: Anything which makes him money.
He actually considers himself a good person, good in his religion, and yes, ethical. As the resident atheist, he often turns to me for my opinion, which I share when asked. We’ve learned to agree to disagree. (With the added caveat on my side that I can also despise.)
Here’s the rub, though. If you are so unethical in a myriad of ways ingrained into your business, why in the name of Zeus’ butthole would you hire someone who claims, right on their resume, to be “ethical.” Someone who says, in the very placement of the word, that it is one of the most important things to know about them?
And then, after hiring that person, why would you then allow them to peek behind the curtain and see, in full glory, all of the shitty little unethical things that you do?
It doesn’t make sense. The only possible conclusion I can come up with is that it is intentional. It’s some sort of power-based mind fuck.
Or, as I call it, my job.
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.
To start this post, first a quick definition. “Charter Communications” is a cable company who’s primary function is to run commercials for themselves using vast quantities of their own unsold ad space on their channels. Essentially customers pay for a service where they get to watch commercials for Charter Communications and sometimes, as a bonus, actual programming.
It’s time for Charter Communications, Episode 3, where it can finally be revealed that Charter Communications is my father…
In Episode 1, we learned about an asinine $25 fee that Charter slapped on my ass because my “Quick Pay” payment “didn’t go through” and they couldn’t tell me why. We also learned about Charter shipping jobs out of our country by closing call centers in the United States while opening them up in foreign countries. (In my case I got to work with Panama City, Panama.)
Then, in Episode 2, we learned how I cry at sappy shit. (I so love being pathetic.) But we also learned how Charter’s “On Demand” is one of the largest piles of steaming shit in the galaxy. It’s truly craptacular. A veritable Death Star of Crap.
Today, the rest of the story can finally be told. The saga continues…
Charter Communications: Eat My Ass – Episode 3
It is a dark time for the Charter rebellion. Although treated badly and provided with a horrible product and horrible service, the leader of the rebellion still remains a Charter customer. So far, threats of canceling service or changing companies have never actually been carried out.
We catch up with our hero at a time of service renewal…
Here’s a quick recap of events so far. We were Charter Communications customers. We hated Charter. We had problems with our internet, with our Moxi box, and every single interaction with them was always extremely unpleasant.
We moved into a new house. We found a flier on our door with the direct number to a guy who would help us with Charter. We called and he turned out to be a Charter employee. Since we had moved, he hooked us up with a deal to get internet and TV service for a discount. The discounted price is actually more like what I would call a fair price, not the vastly inflated rates they normally charge. Things were fair and basically worked for that first year. Yes, the box sucked but our internet was ok, so we lived with it.
After that year was up, Charter jacked our rate. For the slowest possible internet and a plan consisting of the smallest possible number of channels, they wanted about $90 a month. That included the “On Demand” box and about 70 channels that we’d always had. That price was simply too outrageous and unacceptable. We made preparations to live without TV and find someone else to provide our internet.
But first, my wife decided to call that guy who had helped us before. She still had the door hang. She talked to him and explained the situation. If we didn’t get relief on their outrageous rates, we would opt-out of Charter once and for all.
The Charter employee (I again confirmed this) said he would extend the rate to us for one more year and we’d continue to have “exactly” what we had now. We agreed to this plan.
This is where Charter starts to make The Empire look like a bunch of amateurs.
For some strange reason, for his plan to work, the Charter employee had to show up at our house and swap out our cable box with one that was exactly the same. He also had to replace our cable modem for the internet. None of this made much sense to me, but whatever. I was merely a hostage in the situation AKA the customer, so I went along with it.
I had to meet the guy after work to let him in the house to make the equipment swaps. He brought in the new box and the cable modem. He swapped everything out. Everything seemed to work. Then he handed me some paperwork to sign.
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT!!!
On the paper work was the name “Tom Wigglebottom.” I was like, “Who the fuck is that???” It was my first name with a different last name.
The Charter employee explained this was the way it was done. Our service had previously been in my wife’s name. He explained that to continue the special price he had to close the old account, open a new one, and that it had to be in a new name. So he had invented a person with my first name and my wife’s maiden name. “Everyone does it,” he said.
“Fuck that,” I said. “I’m not going to fucking lie to be your customer.”
He said it was too late. He’d already set everything up. He said I had to accept it or everything would be shut off. I reluctantly agreed, but I was seriously pissed off. (I guess this is the moment I sold out my soul and for fucking Charter?)
I asked, “What happens if we have to call in for tech support? There is no human being with that name. They won’t talk to us.” (I knew this because Charter never allowed me to call on my wife’s account.)
“You’ll always have to go through me,” he said. “I’ll be your point of contact.” That sure sounded suspicious to me. The whole thing was one smelly deal.
His deceitful work done, the guy left. Within a day we noticed that our 70 channels were gone. We were now limited to approx. 15 channels, and most of those were public access, shopping and religion. What a wonderful deal! Also, the “On Demand” service that had previously worked OK was now the steaming pile of shit as documented in Episode 2. Something was seriously wrong.
We called the guy back. We certainly didn’t have “exactly” what we had before as he had promised.
Lo and behold, the guy was unavailable and didn’t return our calls. Now we were fucked. So we waited and waited and waited some more.
Finally my wife bird-dogged him and got him on the phone. “It must be the box,” he said. And there began a process lasting a couple of weeks. The guy would come to our house every few days, swap out the box, nothing would change, he’d talk to the home office, then promise to be back with a new box. It was amazing how many times he tried this.
Eventually the guy got pissy with us. “Listen,” he said. “You were never supposed to have those channels in the first place,” he hissed.
What the fuck? He was the one that set up the original deal! And promised to give us the same thing again. “Exactly,” he had said. And now he was making us feel like criminals for having something we weren’t supposed to have??
“We never asked for those,” I said, “nor did I ever know they weren’t supposed to be part of our plan.”
“Take it or leave it,” he said.
And this is an example of a Charter employee? Someone who doesn’t keep his promises, lies, is unethical, and then disappears after saying he’s your only point of contact. And at one point he told me, “This is how it works. Everyone does it.”
In closing, I’d like to thank Charter for making my asshole three sizes too large. That must be their version of The Grinch Who Stole Abysmass.
Epilogue – A New Hope
It is beginning to look like we may have the last laugh after all. For my birthday I wanted a device that would play Pandora music on my home stereo using our wifi. It took some time but we finally found such a device. And it does so much more than just music. (More on this device in a post coming soon.)
In fact, finally, we’re going to be able to fire Charter, at least partially.
It turns out the device can stream Netflix and all sorts of other programming directly to our TV. Charter’s “On Demand” service is now obsolete. (Cue the party in my pants.) And the little device works awesome. One simple little device comes along and makes everything Charter does look like a tinker toy. That’s neat.
This next week we will be turning in our Charter box. We are also considering turning off their TV service altogether. That will mean we’ll be paying their cheapest rate for high speed internet. That will probably be something like $60 to $70 a month without being in a “bundle.” What a rip off. But our overall monthly bill with them will still go down. And we’ll finally be able to put our account back in our own friggin’ names and terminate the snarky lie their employee established.
So, that’s it for now. The trilogy is complete. Originally I had envisioned a series of nine stories about Charter. Three more “prequels” and then three more continuing what happens next. But I don’t think I have that kind of energy. Maybe instead I’ll just be done with them forever…