Tales of Subsidized CoffeeCare

So I saw that Bob Martin—someone I don't personally know—posted a note from Dana Puopolo—a person neither of us knows—which he in-turn copied from Brian Krewson's status. I thought it was pretty good, but I changed it from a soda machine to coffee to try and make it just a little more relevant. I rewrote the story a bit, but it's largely Krewson's work.

So imagine you are working for a company that doesn't have coffee on the premises. Instead, there are vendors outside that sell coffee and, if you want it, you get your coffee from one of them.

Jane posts a suggestion: all the other companies give their employees coffee so why can't we? Management asks people and nearly all your colleagues say they want coffee inside, but some don't want it for free because some people drink more than others and they would rather have higher pay than to have it free for everybody. Also, the coffee vendors get wind of this idea so they go to management and suggest they sell coffee inside instead of on the street.

Management likes this suggestion. To appeal to supporters of Jane's original suggestion, they add that the lowest-paid employees will get reimbursed 80% for one cup a day of the cheapest coffee, and everybody else will need to buy their own. (And, since coffee makes everybody more productive, people who don't want any coffee will have to pay a fee for their lower productivity.)

Once again, they put it to a vote, and when the poll came back, the majority of your colleagues said "yes": this was an acceptable compromise. So management sets up a department to handle the coffee vendors, and within a few weeks, there's coffee for sale in the break room.

Among the people who said "no" was Bill in accounting. He felt that this went too far: offering coffee inside was a waste of company resources, and worse, giving a discount to low-pay employees discouraged them from working harder. He campaigns throughout the office to get the coffee vendors kicked out.

Well, management decides "OK, we'll ask again" and again, the majority of people say "yes, lets keep the coffee for sale inside just as we agreed." Bill continues to campaign, and management continues to ask the employees, and every time, the answer is in favor of the coffee. This happens, lets say… over 40 times. Eventually, Bill says "OK, I'M NOT PROCESSING PAYROLL ANYMORE UNTIL THE COFFEE IS REMOVED", so nobody will get paid unless management removes the coffee vendors.

What should we do?

Answer: Fire Bill and get someone who will do the fucking job.

Bonus: Bill tells everyone that he was willing to "negotiate", to come to a solution where everyone got their payroll checks, but only so long as that negotiation capitulated to his demand to remove the coffee vendors. Bill is clearly an asshole.

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Is President Obama Responsible?

I read that David Siegel wrote a letter to his employees telling them if Obama is elected, there will be layoffs. At first I was a bit shocked — I mean here is someone with wealth (and by extension power) who is shamelessly attempting to sway an election. I know a little about him — in large part from the documentary, The Queen of Versailles which outlines the rise of his timeshare empire (Westgate) and its near-collapse after the industry-orchestrated real-estate disaster in the late 00's.

His argument is that higher taxes under Obama will cripple big business and force a loss of jobs. But scratching a little deeper, and you'll see that his fortunes were through his hard work and diligence in exploiting the absurdly under regulated real-estate market. The concept of fractionally selling a luxury apartment in a major city — timeshares — was a novel and lucrative endeavor. I applaud his resourcefulness in doing so and have no issue with money he earned that way. But his largest gains were achieved by borrowed money against inadequate collateral.

He was able to mortgage over-valued properties and take that money to build more properties. For instance, in the film, he has mortgaged his partially-built second-home "Versailles". How was that even possible? The place has no value until it's built, yet he was able to mortgage it anyway?

It was slack regulations from (at least as far back as) Clinton's presidency that allowed this all to happen. And who gets stuck with the bill? Well, a foreclosure goes to the mortgaging bank, and then into this nebulous network of sold, bundled, overvalued mortgages, and ultimately right to people who are paying mortgages on jeir primary properties — their first and only homes.

So while building an empire — and creating jobs — based on creating value by offering a desirable service at a price that affords a window of substantial profit is a noble one, building an empire on the backs of hardworking Americans is a fraud.

And the bulk of Siegel's wealth is just that: fraud. Even the seemingly legitimate sales of timeshares is based on a foundation of fraudulent lending. Now, to his credit, Siegel is playing the game well and is legally in the clear. Nonetheless, this is how the rich get rich: not through hard work in the sense of producing a desirable, quality product, but through exploiting legal loopholes.

So these are the 1%ers who are so hell bent on getting rid of Obama. Why? Apparently Obama's policies have forced them to actually create a desirable, quality product. The loopholes are being closed, and the gravy-train of free money for the rich is no longer stopping in their towns.

Maybe Obama has actually done some progressive good in the world. As someone who makes a desirable, quality product myself, I've seen no change in my own financial burdens. But if the rich slackers are crying out in financial pain, good!

Now if only we can get pro-life people to realize that even the lackluster "Obamacare" will reduce the number of unborn babies killed by 75% (with non-abortion contraception, preventing unwanted pregnancies), maybe we can make everyone happy.

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